Indians Begin Protesting, Threaten to Toll Roads in Response to Tax

Protesters gather to denounce tobacco tax

Buffalo News

TUSCARORA INDIAN NATION — Frustrated by the state government’s on-again, off-again efforts to collect taxes on Native American cigarette sales to non-Indians, a group of Tuscarora Indians began a peaceful protest Wednesday to call attention to the issue.

“It’s not just about taxes,” one of the demonstrators said. “This is about our freedom and our human rights. We’re supposed to be a sovereign nation, and yet the state keeps trying to tax us.”

They handed out an estimated 3,000 small fliers to motorists on Saunders Settlement Road at the edge the Tuscarora Reservation, announcing: “Coming soon. Tuscarora toll. $1 per vehicle. Located on Route 31 and Route 104.”

Protest leaders late Wednesday included Nicholas E. B. Patterson and Adrian Bigfoot, who said they hold no office in the Native American government, but it is a participatory democracy in which all Tuscaroras have a voice.

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