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Man sought for questioning in death threats; Oneidas increase
ONEIDA, N.Y. (AP) - State police said Wednesday they are seeking a man for questioning 
in connection with death threats made against the Oneida Indian Nation. Meanwhile, 
tribal leaders doubled the reward they are offering to catch the whoever made the 

Capt. John Wood stressed that the man being sought by state police is not a suspect in 
the case even though he was videotaped passing a handwritten copy of the threat to a 
clerk at the Oneida's Sav-On gas station in Canastota on Nov. 5.

"This person is not considered a suspect," Wood said at a news conference, "but 
someone who can maybe provide information about the origins of the letter or at least 
explain why he passed this note to the clerk."

The man was described as being in his late teens to late 20s, about 5-foot, 5 inches 
tall and thinly built. Up to the time he passed the note, the man had been a regular 
customer at the station, Wood said.

Security has been heightened at the Oneida's Turning Stone casino in Verona and other 
tribal businesses since the threatening letter was sent to a local newspaper on Oct. 
29. In the letter, a group calling itself the United States National Freedom Fighters 
threatened to kill Oneidas, bomb their businesses and attack their non-Indian 

The note handed over to the gas station clerk was not an exact duplicate of the 
original letter, Wood said. The man's note used some different words and contained 
some misspellings not in the original, he said.

The Oneidas have viewed the letter as a scare tactic intended to disrupt their 
lucrative businesses. At least one group canceled its stay at the casino's convention 
center but tribal leaders have said that otherwise business has been normal.

The Oneidas, with the support of the U.S. Justice Department, are suing the state and 
counties of Madison and Oneida for the return of 250,000 acres of ancestral land. The 
U.S. Supreme Court found in 1985 that most of the land was seized in questionable 
transactions with the state and private individuals and ruled the Oneidas were 
entitled to compensation.

Thirteen years of on-and-off talks have failed to produce a settlement. A federal 
settlement master was appointed in February and is presently trying to negotiate an 
out-of-court agreement.

A task force led by the FBI and state police continues to investigate the threat. Wood 
said authorities have investigated approximately 300 leads so far.

Oneida Nation Police Chief John Folino said tribal leaders thought doubling the reward 
to $50,000 might generate renewed interest and produce additional leads for 
authorities to pursue.

AP-ES-12-08-99 1603EST

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           Tsonkwadiyonrat (We are ONE Spirit)

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