Monday, February 27, 2023


 Saturday was a good day. I'm not exactly sure why, but Tim decided that he wanted to drive up to Salamanca, which is part of the Seneca Indian Reservation. 

It is interesting because the reservation is not part of the United States. They are their own sovereign nation, which means that they have their own laws, their own government, their own law enforcement. 

So you have incidents like this

If you look at the comments, you will see that the police are taking a bit of guff. "He's at his mother's house" is a general theme, and I'm sure that the police do know this. However, the New York State police cannot walk up to a house on a reservation and arrest someone. The arrest would have to happen off reservation. The tribal police could arrest him, but they have no obligation to hand him over to the New York State police. The police need assistance knowing when he is headed off reservation, and where they can nab him.

Years back, when Cara was still in high school and driving home after work, there was the Bucky Phillips incident. That was scary. Roadblocks were a regular thing for Tim headed to and from work. This went on for months. They suspected he was being smuggled off and on the reservation by friends who were allowing him to ride in their trunks or whatever. Long story short, after months, they finally did take him in a cornfield about five miles from our house. To this day, everyone talks about Bucky Phillips and how he was able to elude capture for so long because he was an Indian who knew how to live off the land. False. He eluded capture because he was breaking into empty camps and laying low until he'd eaten all the provisions and then moving on to a new cabin. 

Nothing heroic about the man at all. He was a thief and a murderer.

A man had his camper stored for the winter in a big garage. He was very surprised when he opened the place up in the spring. Turned out that Bucky had spent some time in his camper and left a bunch of information behind, including the registration to his final stolen car which he crashed on our road and ran through the woods to that final Cornfield of Destiny. 

The Seneca Nation makes their biggest money from a giant casino, which would be illegal anywhere outside of the reservation. They offer luxury rooms at low prices. Low priced buffets. Big name performers. The expectation, I suppose is that once they get people in the door, they will do some gambling.

They also sell gas and cigarettes at very low prices. They do this because their treaty with the government means that these goods are sold to them tax exempt. They sell that gasoline back to us. Just as a comparison, our gas is $3.85 a gallon. We paid $2.54 a gallon on the reservation. If we had been willing to wait, we could have gotten it at $2.42 just down the road. The lines were just awful though. Tobacco products were not taxed for a while, but as I understand it, they have been taxed since 2018. The Nation is not required to collect the State and Federal taxes when they sell them, though, so a pack of cigarettes will cost you nearly $10 (50 cents a cigarette, if you can believe it!) locally, but you can buy reservation cigarettes for about $4 a pack. They also sell the fireworks that cannot be sold off reservation. Our state had some pretty strict guidelines on what constituted legal fireworks. The reservation sells the 'good stuff' that you can't get anywhere else.

I'm not going to editorialize on the situation. We don't gamble and avoid the casino on pure principle. I quit smoking 22 years ago, so cheap tobacco products do not draw me in. 

We enjoy going to the pow-wows. When Tim had to drive through the reservation to get to work, he always filled up on the reservation. He also alternated the vehicles he was driving. Tim has also been known to stop in and get his fireworks on July 4th. (A couple years back he scared the bejeebers out of himself. He had no idea what the fireworks would do. It went off and shot high into the sky ~ a totally illegal firework that could be seen for miles. (We were both struck speechless. William was thrilled and wanted us to light another.) 

The latest money makers are the pot dispensaries. They really are every where. We probably saw two dozen of them in an 45 minute drive. Some of them are right in a row, within sight of one another.

Drugs and alcohol are big problems on the reservation, and it struck me as unutterably sad to see a sign on a local church which had a pot dispensary right next to it. "Don't use drugs" it said.  

We were there to have a looky-loo (boy, Ed, I do love that) in the Salamanca Antique Mall. We bought nothing, but it was a fun day out. 


  1. We have similar reservations and problems that associate with them too with no real good way of dealing with them. They are one of those messes we make for ourselves and now live with the consequences.

  2. When we lived in Mississippi there was a couple reservations with gambling, the Indians got a nice check from the casinos so not many worked. They ran a bus from Jackson, m. to the casinos to carry workers to and from it. You are right about the buffets, they were really good, and cheap we went once in a while just for the food.

  3. Well, glad it was fun, anyway. I don't think I've ever been on an Indian reservation, oddly. Unless I was on one in New Mexico when I saw the Taos Pueblo. There were no casinos.

  4. I would love to see a Red Indian Reservation Debby. Us Europeans messed it up so much for the native Americans.

  5. I am not sure if we have the same jurisdictional conundrum here wrt law enforcement, but at least some reserves do have certain tax exempt privileges. When I was in Najavo Nation territory in AZ, I noticed that they had pretty strict anti alcohol laws. My only actual connection here was being an assistant girls softball coach on the nearby reserve where we used to live. I knew the coach, who was native. That reserve didn’t seem to have those tax sale shops for the rest of us.

  6. Kay of Musings: I’m sure I’ve been on a reservation on one of our cross country travels, but I can’t remember when… WAIT! I remember now. The latest was when we went to see Antelope Canyon. I don’t remember any good deals though. Then again, I don’t look for cigarettes or fireworks and now I wish we filled our car with gas while we were there.


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