Cayuga Nation Unity Council issues statement

Neither the occupation of the Great Swamp Enterprise Cigarette Facility nor the Lake Side convenience store were authorized by the Cayuga Nation Unity Council, but we are working to resolve the issue peacefully. We condemn the displays of force being made by the mercenaries hired by Clint Halftown to protect his interests, especially the brandishing of a gun as occurred this afternoon. The Cayuga Nation citizens involved are unarmed.We wish to provide some history to help our neighbors understand the current situation, and the challenges inherent in resolving it. The cigarette factory and the convenience store are enterprises of the Cayuga Nation. As such their proceeds should be going to the lawful government of the Cayuga Nation–the Unity Council, according to Cayuga Nation law as recognized by the BIA in August of 2011. Currently, proceeds of the factory go to three individuals who were removed by the Clan Mothers and Council in June of 2011. The Cayuga Nation citizens have taken direct action, without the consent of the Cayuga Nation government, to take matters into their own hands, and reclaim the industry that is rightfully theirs.The situation must be viewed in a broader context of cultural and economic survival. The Cayuga Nation has been a government in exile until recently. The efforts of the Cayuga Nation and its citizens to return to their homelands over the past decade to rebuild their nation after two centuries of occupation is not an easy task. The conflict arises from the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ misunderstanding the role once given to Clint Halftown by the Cayuga Nation Council of Chiefs to carry messages.The Bureau of Indian Affairs has made the role of governance extremely difficult by not clearly understanding, and expressing that understanding, that Clint Halftown does not represent the Cayuga Nation. The most recent official statement by the Bureau of Indian affairs states that in their eyes there is no official representative of the Cayuga Nation. But the citizens of the Cayuga Nation understand that Clint Halftown does not represent the Cayuga Nation, and are frustrated by the lack of action by the Bureau of Indian Affairs to clearly remove any vestige of authority from Clint Halftown. Without this action the governments and citizens of the United States remain confused regarding the governance of the Cayuga Nation, and let the farce of his control over Cayuga Nation enterprises continue. It makes it difficult to conduct the affairs of the nation.Another factor which is making matters much worse on the ground is that Halftown continues to use Cayuga Nation funds to hire a private security force–C.I.S Security–who are nothing more than armed mercenaries. All of these mercenaries are non-Native and they are being deployed against Cayuga Nation citizens on Cayuga treaty lands. Even worse, these mercenaries are armed with guns and this afternoon, one of them openly displayed a hand gun, as tensions continue to mount.It is our way to use the good mind and work for peace, and we will continue to do so to address the current situation. We call on Halftown and those hired by him to do the same.

Also on FingerLakes1.com