October 26, 2016
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Seneca Nation President Calls On President Obama To Veto PACT Act Legislation




Seneca President Barry E. Snyder Warns Ban on U.S. Mail Distribution of Native American Tobacco Products Will Result in Severe Economic Hardship

CATTARAUGUS TERRITORY, N.Y., - Seneca Nation President Barry E. Snyder Sr. today sent a letter to President Barack Obama calling for his veto of the PACT (Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking) Act.  In urging the veto, Snyder said the measure "flies in the face" of key Obama administration goals to improve health care, create jobs and respect tribal sovereignty.

"If signed into law, the PACT Act will seriously impact the Seneca Nation and the Seneca people.  We will be subject to racial profiling for the simple act of mailing a package.  We will lose thousands of jobs and important health care support.  And most damaging, we will be set back in our journey to self-determination by the very treaty partner that pledged to support and protect us," Snyder wrote.

Snyder's letter comes a day after the U.S. House of Representatives approved the PACT Act, which would prohibit the mailing of tobacco products. The measure, which has been promoted as an anti-smoking tool, especially among minors, will result in the loss of some 3,000 Western New York jobs tied directly and indirectly to the Native American tobacco economy.

In his letter, Snyder also reminded Obama that the bill is in conflict with the U.S. president's promise to improve relationships between the White House and Native Americans.  Obama met with Snyder and other Native American leaders last fall as part of that pledge.

"It is most disturbing this legislation was developed without any meaningful consultations with Indian nations," Snyder wrote. "Your 'Tribal Consultation Executive Order' indicates that you intend to be committed to regular and meaningful consultation and collaboration with tribal officials in policy decisions that have tribal implications. When I heard you say this at the meeting of tribal leaders in November, I took your word that you would follow through."

Snyder also noted the National Congress of American Indians and United south & Eastern Tribes, both oppose the PACT Act and stand in support of the Seneca Nation, which has taken the lead in fighting the legislation.

The Seneca Nation maintains the measure, which has attracted strong support and lobbying efforts from mainstream tobacco corporations, led by Philip Morris, is an overt attempt by big cigarette corporations to simply stomp out any market competition.

The Nation's Foreign Relations Committee (FRC) has focused considerable attention Tobacco trade is a key component of the Seneca Nation economy.  The Nation estimates enforcement of the PACT Act could result in up to a 65 percent loss in Import/Export revenue which it uses to fund health and education programs.

The Nation has a state-of-the-art stamping and enforcement mechanism that ensures compliance with a rigorous set of internal regulations, including retailer authorization, minimum pricing and a ban on sale to minors. The Nation works in close partnership with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Enforcement (ATF).

Media Contact:


Sharon Linstedt


Travers Collins & Company


716-842-2222 ext. 318






SOURCE Seneca Nation

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