Catoneras - A Sachem's Legacy to Her Descendants:
Native American Heritage and Ancestral Homelands
Righting the Wrongs of History - Restoring Catoneras' Legacy
The Honorable Congressman Benjamin L. Cardin, (D-MD), has pledged to right the wrongs of history. He needs support to accomplish the task however. Please write to your congressperson (and please info myself and Mr. Cardin) to express your support for Congressional efforts in resolving this historical injustice.
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As an example, I have included my letter to Congressman Cardin (my Congressional Representative) below:
To the Honorable Congressman Benjamin L. Cardin,
With great admiration for the role you have played in promoting human rights, I have studied your record and applaud you for standing up against injustice--as in the case of Mrs. Waldmans property stolen by the Romanian government. In that context, I am writing you to humbly request your assistance.
Like Mrs. Waldmans ancestor, my ancestor was a victim of bigotry and injustice; fought against government fraud and intransigence; and died a broken man. Also, like the Waldman family, the Van Tassel family has copies of the legal documents to prove rightful ownership of the property in question. Unlike Mrs. Waldmans case, this didnt occur in some far-away country; it happened in New York.
I appreciate your concern in regards to wrongs perpetrated against Native Americans as you acknowledged in your 14 October, 2003 OSCE speech, our country supported the most horrific form of discrimination in the treatment of Native Americans. Also I read with great interest your letter to the BIA opposing the Delaware Nations proposal to purchase lands in our district. Unlike the Delaware Nation however, the Van Tassel family does have documented legal proof of aboriginal ties to the property in question.
Instead of providing the details within, I will attach a scholarly paper presented by Dr. John Strong; Professor Emeritus of History, SUNY, Stony Brook, (highly regarded author and expert on Long Island Native American History) to the Conference on New York State History delivered June 7th, 2002. (Myself and Dr. James Van Tassel provided research support to Dr. Strong). I will also provide you with a link I have posted on the internet of the documentary history (to include scans of all legal documents) of the stolen land.
Briefly, petitions for the land were presented to the legislative council and governor on three separate occasions. All petitions were approved by both authorities. The Van Tassel descendants are not requesting a reversal of any decision; only that the governor and legislative bodies of New York carry out their decisions to grant the land to the Van Tassel family.
After reading the tremendous efforts you exerted on behalf of Mrs. Waldman, I found your quote inspiring: we must never stop fighting to right the wrongs of history [and I] will do all I can to further her efforts and the efforts of others who face similar discrimination."
I very much look forward to your assistance and reply.