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United States Department of the Interior

OFFI CE OF THE SECRETARY


\Va.s h in gton. D.C 202-t O
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Mr. Raymond Halbritter
Nation Representative
The Oneida Indian Nation of New York
Box 1, Route 5
Vernon, New York 13476
Dear Mr. Halbritter:
On September 24, 1993, I requested that the Oneida Indian Nation
of New York (Nation) hold a referendum to determine whether the
majority of adult members supported you as Nation Representative .
I also requested that within 90 days the Nation provide me with a
detailed, written description of the process for selection and
removal of Nation Representatives and other Nation officials.
Shortly ' thereafter, the Nation, through its attorneys, urged me
to accept a verification of a "statement of support" process the
Nation conducted in lieu of a referendum. On November 17, 1993,
I agreed to accept the following five step verification process
as evidence that the Nation supports you as Nation Representative
in lieu of a referendum:
Step 1 .
Step 2.
Step 3 .
Step 4.
The Nation was to prepare and transmit to the
Department of the Interior (Department) a written
description of its process for the selection and
removal of leaders.
The was to permit the Department to review the
443 (now 450) statements of support it received for the
current Oneida leadership. The Department would be
permitted to examine the Nation's list to
verify that each statement of support was signed by an
Oneida Nation . member.
The Oneida Nation was to provide notarized affidavits
from each of the '7 5 individuals who witnessed
individual of support. Each witness
affidavit was to certify the following: (1) that each
statement was signed in the presence of a witness; (2)
that each witness had personal knowledge of each
signatory's identity; and (3) that each signature was
obtained freely, voluntarily, and without duress.
The Oneida Nation was to provide notarized affidavits
from other individuals involved in the Nation's
Step 5.
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statement of support campaign, describing the internal
procedures which were used to solicit and receive the
statements of support.
The Oneida leadership was to provide a rebuttal, if
necessary, to any allegation of conduct by its
political opponents regarding the solicitation of the
statements of support.
The following is a summary of the Nation's response to the
verification process described above.
Step 1. On February 1, 1994, the Nation submitted a six page
of its for selection and removal cf Nation
officials. The description included sections Nation
membership, (2) Nation meetings, (3) qualifications, selection,
resignation and removal of chiefs and Representatives, including
the identity of the current Nation Representative, (4)
qualifications, selection, removal and meetings of members of the
Nation's Men's Council, including a list identifying the current
Men's Council Members, and (5) qualifications, selection, and
removal of the Nation's Clan Mothers, including a list
identifying the current Clan Mothers. In conjunction with the
submission of the written description, the Nation indicated that
it will regularly inform the Department of changes in the
leadership of the Nation that take place pursuant to the
described procedures. I have reviewed the Nation's description
of its process for selection and removal. of Nation officials and
accept it as Step 1 of the process.
step 2. On December 8 and 9, 1993, a Bureau of Indian Affairs
(BIA) team visited the Nation to review the statements of support
for the current Nation leadership. The team reviewed all of the
statements and examined the Nation's enrollment list to confirm
that the names of the individuals which appeared on the
statements also appeared on the enrollmen.t list. The BIA team
determined that the names and signatures on the support
statements corresponded to the names of individuals listed on the
roll. The signatures of: the individual Nation members appeared
on the support statements . and the signature of a notary or
witness appeared on all one statement. I accept this review
of the statements of as Step 2 of the verification
process.
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Step 3. On February 1, 1994, the Nation submitted 69 witness
affidavits to demonstrate that the statements of support were (1)
signed in the presence of a witness, (2) that each witness had
personal knowledge of each signatory's identity, and (3) that
each signature was obtained freely, voluntarily and without
duress. The BIA reviewed the 69 witness affidavits. The
following summarizes the results of the Nation's effort to
fulfill step three of the verification process:
Statements of Support
With witness affidavits
(notarized)
With witness affidavits
(not notarized)
With notary as witness
Without witness
Without witness affidavit
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II of Witnesses
66
3
49
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II of Statements
of Support
383
5
49
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I accept that the 66 notarized witness affidavits and the 49
notarized statements of support demonstrate that 432 of the 450
statements of support were signed in the presence of a witness
who had personal knowledge of each signatory's identity and that
each signature was obtained freely, voluntarily and without
duress. The 66 notarized witness affidavits and the 49 notarized
statements represent 96% of the statements collected. I accept
this evidence as Step 3 of the verification process.
Step 4. On December 14, 1993, the Nation submitted notarized
declarations of Gloria Halbritter, Nation Enrollment Clerk, and
Terri Kiehn, Nation Office Administrator, describing the internal
procedures which were used to solicit and receive statements of
support from Nation members on behalf of the current leadership
of the Nation. I accept these declarations as Step 4 of the
verification process.
Step 5. The Nation has indicated that it is prepared to provide
a rebuttal to any allegation of conduct regarding the
solicitation of the statements of support. I accept this as Step
5 of the verification process.
The Nation has fulfilled each of the five steps described above
to verify that the Nation supports you as Nation Representative.
This verification process has unearthed no evidence to indicate
that the Nation members were coerced to sign the statements of
support. Therefore, I am pleased to advise you that the United
States unconditionally recognizes you as the current Nation
Representative. You will continue to be recognized as Nation
Representative until you resign or are removed by the Nation in
accordance with the description of the process for selection and
removal of Nation officials submitted on February 1, 1994 .
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I thank you and the Oneida people for helping us to better
understand the government of your Nation. I look forward to
working with you in the future.
Sincerely,
Ada E. Deer
Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs
cc: Mr. Wilbur Horner
William Taylor, III, Esq.
Niels Holch, Esq.
Dan Press, Esq.
Jack Trope, Esq.
Congressman Sherwood Boehlert
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