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Federal judge upholds BIA decision on Cayuga Nation leadership

A federal judge has dismissed an effort to overturn a U.S. Department of Interior determination about who is in charge of the Cayuga Indian Nation of New York.

In a 43-page decision issued Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled that the interior department's Bureau of Indian Affairs properly recognized Clint Halftown and his council as the nation's leaders in a December 2016 determination. That BIA ruling was meant to end a longstanding dispute between Halftown, his followers and a group of chiefs and clan mothers formerly known as the Unity Council.

The council had filed a federal lawsuit in September 2017 challenging the BIA's decision in federal court in Washington D.C. Monday's decision came a little less than year after the court had rejected a request for an immediate injunction to block the BIA decision.



“The Nation is grateful for this decision which, we hope, will allow our Nation to move beyond the differences that have divided us for so long and unite us going forward,” Halftown said in a press release.

An attorney representing nation citizens opposed to Halftown said they are reviewing the decision to determine their next steps.

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