From the Morning Memo:

With a number of issues between the Seneca Nation of Indians and New York State recently making headlines, a small group of state lawmakers quietly met with tribal leaders last week.

The contingent included state Sen. Tim Kennedy, the chair of the State-Native American Relations Committee, committee member Joseph Addabbo, Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Assemblyman Sean Ryan.

Participants said the visit was not to discuss one specific topic, for instance the ongoing disputes over casino revenue or needed Thruway repairs through Seneca territory, but more of a relationship building exercise that covered a wide gamut.

“This was more of an introduction to some of the folks about the impact that the Seneca Nation has had on our community, not just over the course of the last several decades but over the course of the last 243 years of New York State’s existence,” Kennedy said.

The state senator acknowledged that relations between the state and the Senecas are not on particularly good footing. He said helping the two sides reconcile their differences will be a focus of his.

“We’re going to be working closely with the leadership of the Seneca Nation and the governor’s office to bring everyone together to hopefully, once and for all, put all of the past just there – in the past – move on, create that peace, that prosperity that we all not only desire but the our community rightfully deserves,” he said.

Things aren’t all bad between the tribe and the state right now. The Senecas spoke with lawmakers about permanently housing a historic artifact at the Nation’s cultural center in Salamanca.

The New York State Museum currently is loaning a peace pipe tomahawk to the center. It was originally gifted by George Washington to Seneca leader and diplomat Cornplanter in 1792.

Kennedy said he believes the tomahawk, which was the symbol of a treaty between governments, should be turned back over to the Nation.