The Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs says the Cayuga Nation can enforce its own laws on its land.
In a letter to Seneca Falls Police Chief Stuart Peenstra written last month, BIA Director Darryl LaCounte said the Nation is entitled to exercise its inherent sovereign authority to enforce its own laws through a law enforcement program.
The announcement from the Nation on Monday came after last week’s vote by the Cayuga County legislature to not recognize the Nation’s 10-member police department’s authority on Nation land within the county.
Nation leader Clint Halftown said in Monday’s release, “This endorsement of our Nation’s rights to police our reservation lands and enforce our own laws is entirely consistent with the exercise of our inherent sovereign powers, as recognized by the federal government.”
The Nation is in the midst of a long-standing dispute with Cayuga County and Seneca Counties, the village of Union Springs and the town of Springport over the Nation’s effort to place its properties into federal trust.