Seneca Nation to evict Snyder Beach residents
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CATTARAUGUS RESERVATION, N.Y. — The Seneca Nation said it will evict non-Senecas living at Snyder Beach, a popular summer getaway along Lake Erie.
In a statement released by the Seneca Nation, President Robert Odawi Porter said, in part, "This is a long-standing issue of unlawful occupation and is key for the Seneca Nation. The Cattaraugus Territory is for Senecas and removing the unlawful occupants will make more land available for Senecas... The non-Senecas occupying cottages at Snyder Beach have no right to be there."
While the release said only 80 people will be affected, hundreds of non-Senecas reside in the property's 170 homes and cottages during the summer season. The Snyder Beach owners say it's not the first time the property has been targeted.
"This is the 7th time in the history of Snyder Beach that we've been harassed and intimidated, along with our customers,” said Snyder Beach co-owner, John Metzger. “That shouldn't be right anywhere in the United States of America."
The release said the Seneca Nation can evict the residents because, "Under federal law, non-Senecas cannot hold any title or interest to Nation real property without Congressional approval."
That's true, but non-Senecas only own the homes and cottages in Snyder Beach. The two men who own the property the homes are on both have Seneca Indian bloodlines, and are both citizens of the Seneca Nation.
"This place has been here since 1917,” said Metzger. “My grandfather founded the place. He purchased allotments from individual owners, which is OK on the Seneca Nation."
Metzger said there are many other properties privately owned by Senecas, that rent or lease to non-Senecas. He believes Snyder Beach is being singled out.
"These people drive by to come down and harass and intimidate us this year, and they drive by two identical operations within walking distance. Identical operations that aren't under this type of pressure or intimidation at all."
We reached out to the Seneca Nation, but were told there would be no further comment. Calls to President Porter have not been returned.
The release said non-Senecas must be off the land by November 8th. Snyder Beach's owners said they are prepared for a legal battle.