An ownership dispute about the Arrow Hawk Smoke Shop and Gas Mart on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation that is likely to end up in both New York State and Native American courts brought state troopers and Genesee County sheriff’s deputies to the scene Thursday in Basom.
. Before matters calmed down about 5:30 p.m. or so, a man who claims ownership of the business was evicted from his apartment on the site but got a court stay of enforcement and returned later, the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office said.
The dispute erupted about 7 a.m. when a Native American woman, who was a niece of the former owner of the business, took state court papers to the site and claimed she had been given the business by her late uncle in his will. The site is at 852 Bloomingdale Road in Basom, near the Gensee County boundary with Erie County.
That led to the eviction and claims by the current owners of the business that the state court order and the will do not count because the business is on sovereign Native American land and not subject to such state legal actions.
In the midst of a change of threats both sides muttered at each other, a small fire broke out in one of the buildings on the site and was quickly extinguished.
About 3:30 p.m. Genesee County sheriff’s deputies at the scene requested backup from State Police. All of the lawmen left by about 5 p.m.
No one answered when calls were made to the smoke shop and its adjoining cafe about 7 p.m. Thursday.