Opinion

Editorial: Bureau of Indian Affairs enables Cayuga Nation dispute






The Cayuga Nation operates the Cayuga Corner farmstand in Seneca Falls, New York. Photo from Facebook

Who's in charge of the Cayuga Nation of New York? The Bureau of Indian Affairs doesn't seem to know and that's part of the problem, according to a local newspaper:
About two months ago, a federal appeals court ruled that the Cayuga Indian Nation of New York's lawsuit brought against a small Cayuga County village by tribe member Clint Halftown could stand.

This reversed a lower court ruling that said Halftown lacked the authority to bring the case, which challenges Union Springs government's ability to enforce its gaming ordinance against the nation. Halftown is just one member of a governing council for the nation that, while divided, nonetheless never approved Halftown's legal move.

The appeals court, though, said that because the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs in 2015 had decided Halftown was the "federal representative" of the tribe for administering a grant from the U.S. government, he had the standing to sue in an unrelated matter on behalf of the tribe.

It's too bad the BIA was not more clear (or perhaps the appeals court just wasn't reading carefully enough) in its 2015 decision, because events last week illustrated exactly why the lower court was correct to dismiss the case in the first place.

Get the Story:
Our view: Flaw exposed in Cayuga Nation's lawsuit victory (The Auburn Citizen 8/7)

2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Decision:
Cayuga Nation v. Tanner (June 2, 2016)

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