The Leaders of Seneca Tribal Nation declared that the recently passed PACT (Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking) Act as an outrageous violation of their rights.
In case the Act is legally signed by President Barack Obama, it will ban Tribal cigarette business from shipping tobacco by the U.S. Postal Service, what would result in laying off more than 1.000 tribal and non-tribal workers.
Barry Snyder, Seneca Nation Leader claimed that the PACT Act is a dramatic assault of their rights under federal treaty and it would lead to a shocking and devastating effect on the economy of Seneca Nation and Western New York as a whole.
He added that they hope that President Obama would protect their rights and veto this excessive and ridiculous legislation, as during the presidential campaign he promised Native Americans to establish a nation-to-nation relationship. So, they are seeking the President to keep his promise by honoring their compacts.
The Seneca have maintained that the PACT Act, which has been promoted as an anti-smoking measure aimed at keeping cigarettes out of the hands of under-age smokers, is really a push by big tobacco companies to squeeze out Native American competition and protect market share.
The Seneca Nation stated the regulation that had been backed by the major tobacco companies across the USA, headed by Philip Morris USA, is an evident push by Big Tobacco to get rid of unlikely competition.
“I would say that is a major victory for Big Tobacco, including the key tobacco-makers that tried to eliminate the competition by all available means”, mentioned Snyder. “Together the leading tobacconists lure more than 50.000 teenagers into smoking, so that is a mockery to call the PACT act a victory for public health.”
In case the Act is adopted, nearly1, 000 or even more employees will be laid off, and they will have no funds to spend on food and other things. So, the Senecas consider the Act as the government’s attempt to return Native Indians to the times of hunger, poverty and dependency. However, they say that would find ways to keep their business on track, so that their children would have a decent future.
Moreover, besides harming the economy of Seneca Tribal Nation, the Act would also severely hurt the U.S. Postal Services, as it would be banned shipping cigarettes, and according to estimates, would lose approximately $300 of their annual incomes from shipping Indian tobacco.
Seneca Nation Leader it is a hypocrisy from the Congress to strip the U.S Postal Services from nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in profits, while it has shutting down offices and firing employees trying to overcome difficult economic situation.
The Seneca Foreign Relations Committee has supported local tobacco industry as a principal part of their economy. According to the Committee, the implementation of the PACT Act might lead to more than 60 percent loss of their incomes, used as the funding of major programs, such as public health and higher education.
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