RACES: Seneca

1 minute read

While Ellsworth R. Schindler, a Seneca Indian, was working last year in the Detroit plant of Ford Motor Co. he contracted with Contract Purchasing Corp. of Detroit to buy a 1936-model Dodge for $500 in installments. When he lost his job last December he went home to Cattaraugus Reservation, taking with him his car, on which he still owed $296. Receiving no more payments from him, the credit company sought to repossess the car.

After a long hunt they found Ellsworth Schindler, who had meantime become a power on the reservation, one of eight governing councilors of the Seneca Nation. Haled to court because he refused to tell where his car was, Ellsworth Schindler last week still refused to tell. Jailed for contempt of court, the taciturn red man was unperturbed.

His lawyer, Robert M. Codd Jr. of Buffalo, explained that the whole proceeding against him was illegal. Since 1893 New York has had a law which says: “. . . no person shall maintain an action on a contract against any Indian of the . . . Seneca Nation . . . and every person who prosecutes such an action shall be liable to treble costs to the party aggrieved.”

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