Law | Politics

BIA faulted for interfering with Cayuga Nation leadership

The Bureau of Indian Affairs "impermissibly intruded into tribal affairs" by interfering with the leadership of the Cayuga Nation of New York, the Interior Board of Indian Appeals ruled.

In 2011, the BIA recognized the Unity Council as the legitimate leadership of the tribe. The decision left longtime tribal representative Clint Halftown out of the picture.

But the BIA had no reason to make that decision, the IBIA said. There were no matters regarding Halftown's position that needed to be addressed, the decision stated.

“We look forward to putting this case behind us and moving forward with the Nation’s business in a united fashion,” Halftown said in response. “We welcome the challenges and opportunities ahead.”

The Unity Council, on the other hand, continues to assert itself as the tribe's legitimate leadership. The group notes that the IBIA did not address the merits of the underlying dispute.

“We will continue to uphold and strengthen the traditions, language and culture of our nation and we will continue to work to build bridges and better working relationships with our neighbors," Unity Council Chief William Jacobs said in a press release.

The IBIA in fact said it wasn't expressing a view on the dispute or how the tribe chooses its leaders.

Get the Story:
Board: Halftown still Cayuga Nation's federal representative (The Auburn Citizen 1/22)

Interior Board of Indian Appeals Decision:
Cayuga Indian Nation of New York, Clint Halftown, Tim Twoguns, and Gary Wheeler v. Eastern Regional Director, Bureau of Indian Affairs (January 16, 2014)

Related Stories:
Clint Halftown appealing BIA ruling on Cayuga Nation leadership (09/19)
BIA no longer recognizes Clint Halftown as Cayuga Nation leader (8/23)
Members of Cayuga Nation push BIA to recognize new leadership (7/7)
BIA asked to intervene in Cayuga Nation leadership battle (6/3)
Two council members for Cayuga Nation forced to step down (6/2)

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