Editor’s Note: A link list at the bottom of this editorial cites each individual story published since the events of February 22, 2020. Those stories were published with cited sources, as well as official statements from those involved. While Clint Halftown does not recognize those sources as legitimate, they are nonetheless, legitimate sources- with direct accounting from individuals involved- as well as those who have watched the events of the last year unfold. To this end, when the land into trust application was denied by the U.S. Government, our reporting was cited. Throughout our time reporting on the Cayuga Nation, we have sought comments from Mr. Haltown, as well as the Nation’s legal representatives. We continue to welcome all stories, and will continue to report on issues involving the Cayuga Nation.
To the Editor:
Recent reporting on Fingerlakes1.com goes to extraordinary lengths to create myths and falsehoods about the Cayuga Nation. Relying on interviews with select dissident Nation citizens who have stolen millions of dollars from our people, illegally operated businesses, and forcibly taken over homes, the site takes great pains to give a voice to those who have only caused our Nation harm while making baseless claims against our recognized government.
Your accounting of the events of February 22, 2020, continues to be riddled with falsehoods. No longhouse was destroyed, no daycare center was destroyed, no school was destroyed, no residential properties were destroyed. The people occupying these businesses had taken them by force and guns and drugs were found on these properties.
The continued skepticism you express regarding the authority of the Nation’s police force is also not only unwarranted but reveals the great degree of editorial bias you have demonstrated thus far, bias that is inappropriate for a news publication. Our Nation is one of many that has a tribally-authorized police department.
Similarly, our Nation is one of many that has a tribally-authorized court. The opposition group which you have aligned yourselves are lawless, thereby putting you in a precarious position by championing their cause.
As you focus on the pending proceedings in the Nation’s court, you seem to have lost sight of the fact that all of the 14 individuals occupying these homes took them by force and have lived in them for years without paying rent to the Nation; yet as you consistently challenge our government’s actions you seem to have no interest in challenging their actions in living rent-free. No government the United States included—would sit idly by while its properties are used for the private benefit of a few and to the exclusion of those truly in need of Nation housing.
Continuing to foment further strife by repeatedly seeking the input of attorney Galanda, who is no authority on our Nation’s affairs, is equally irresponsible and shows a peculiar degree of favoritism to those who would only seek to engender more dissension within our Nation while engaging in self-promotion. Particularly inapt is his comparison of actions taken by our leadership to those taken by followers of President Trump in the storming of the Capitol. Let’s be clear: Those who came to our reservation to incite violence-one of whom was recently arrested for the first degree rape of a minor-were the thugs, not our Nation Police Officers.
Finally, reference to attorney Heath and his false representations of the Nation’s history and traditions could not be more misplaced. Perhaps you should research Heath’s representation of the Onondaga Nation during the 1990s when it systematically shut down unauthorized smokeshops and other businesses operating without Council approval.
If you had bothered to research these activities under Heath’s watch and counsel, you would have learned that Heath, when it served his agenda, was quoted as forcefully in support of the Onondaga Nation Council when it was faced with dissident members illegally operating business. Quotes include: “These people can’t just set themselves up outside the law. This is not about the selling of cigarettes. This is about whether or not they have laws that everyone obeys.” And “The nation has laws, just like every other government has laws.” Syracuse Post Standard, November 21, 1997.
Just as Heath counseled the Onondaga Nation to do, the Cayuga Nation will not be deterred by the self-interested acts of a small minority who have illegally occupied the Nation’s housing without paying the rent they owe.
If you are truly interested in reporting Cayuga Nation news, perhaps you should focus a bit on the good things our Nation is doing, such as growing our businesses for the benefit of our people, managing and distributing COVID relief funds, and getting our citizens vaccinated with the COVID vaccine, among others.
Start reporting the facts, start being objective, stop making baseless allegations, and stop catering to the every whim of a disaffected minority. Basic journalistic integrity demands as much.
Heron Clan Representative
Investigation reveals arrests never happened, raising questions about Cayuga Nation police court system | Gabriel Pietrorazio | Feb. 12, 2021
FL1 DAILY: Wanda John talks about Cayuga Nation arrests after last year’s violent weekend [podcast] | Gabriel Pietrorazio and Josh Durso | Feb. 12, 2021
FL1 News files U.S. Dept. of Interior FOIA requests after Cayuga Nation lawsuit | Gabriel Pietrorazio | Feb. 10, 2021
Cayuga Nation leadership seeks over $600,000 from Seneca Falls tenants behind on rent | Josh Durso | Feb. 8, 2021
Seneca County will petition Supreme Court to review decision on $6M in unpaid taxes by Cayuga Nation | FingerLakes1.com | Oct. 29, 2020
IN-DEPTH: Are local leaders engaging in international affairs when dealing with the Cayuga Nation conflict? | Gabriel Pietrorazio | Aug. 24, 2020
Federal government rules against Cayuga Nation’s land-into-trust application in Cayuga, Seneca counties | Gabriel Pietrorazio | Aug. 7, 2020
Attorneys for Seneca County respond to Cayuga Nation interpretation of major court ruling | Josh Durso | July 20, 2020
Halftown: Decision confirms what Cayuga Nation has been saying for all these years | FingerLakes1.com | July 10, 2020
DAILY DEBRIEF: Traditionalists blindsided by Cayuga Nation lawsuit against federal government [podcast] | Gabriel Pietrorazio | Jun. 23, 2020
Cayuga Nation sues federal government over land-into-trust application | Josh Durso | Jun. 17, 2020
DAILY DEBRIEF: Cayuga Nation, officials in Cayuga County explore possibility of large casino, hotel in Union Springs [podcast] | Gabriel Pietrorazio | May 20, 2020
DAILY DEBRIEF: Lawyers for Cayuga Nation respond to refusal of building permits in Seneca County [podcast] | Gabriel Pietrorazio | May 13, 2020
Officials: Cayuga Nation owes $6M in taxes in Seneca County, over $254K for properties along Rt. 89 that remain partly demolished | Josh Durso | May 11, 2020
DAILY DEBRIEF: Bowman waits for answers from officials in Seneca County [podcast] | Gabriel Pietrorazio | May 6, 2020
Protest will highlight ongoing leadership dispute within Cayuga Nation | Gabriel Pietrorazio | Mar. 17, 2020
EDITOR’S RESPONSE: No room for manipulation in journalism | Josh Durso | Mar. 13, 2020
Cayuga Nation unrest continues after meeting in Seneca Falls | Gabriel Pietrorazio | Mar. 13, 2020
Union Springs leaders, lawyers lay out concerns as Cayuga Nation dispute stalls | Gabriel Pietrorazio | Mar. 12, 2020
Halftown attorney answers tough questions on Cayuga Nation dispute | Gabriel Pietrorazio | Mar. 6, 2020
Leadership struggle continues within Cayuga Nation: What’s next? | Gabriel Pietrorazio | Mar. 4, 2020
Addressing land status questions after Cayuga Nation demolition, as leadership struggle continues | Gabriel Pietrorazio | Mar. 3, 2020
EXCLUSIVE: John Kane, host of “Let’s Talk Native” says reinforcements coming to support Cayuga Nation families [podcast] | Gabriel Pietrorazio | Mar. 3, 2020
Cayuga Nation attorneys argue police force has authority in new letter to local law enforcement | Josh Durso | Mar. 2, 2020
EXCLUSIVE: Man detained by Cayuga Nation police vows to press charges | Gabriel Pietrorazio | Mar. 2, 2020
Tensions reach breaking point in Seneca Falls over Cayuga Nation leadership | Gabriel Pietrorazio | Mar. 1, 2020
Violence erupts in Seneca Falls after Cayuga Nation press conference | Josh Durso | Feb. 29, 2020
INSIDE THE FLX: Nationally recognized Indigenous rights lawyer weighs in on Cayuga Nation conflict [podcast] | Gabriel Pietrorazio and Josh Durso | Feb. 28, 2020
Seneca County gives go ahead on Cayuga Nation demolition as federal prosecutors begin investigation | FingerLakes1.com | Feb. 27, 2020
Part of Cayuga Nation will hold press conference in Seneca Falls on Saturday | FingerLakes1.com | Feb. 25, 2020
Protest lasts through weekend after demolition at Cayuga Nation property in Seneca Falls | Gabriel Pietrorazio | Feb. 24, 2020
Protesters call for Halftown to step down after buildings demolished in Seneca Falls | Josh Durso | Feb. 23, 2020
Supervisors take action, law enforcement gives updates on Cayuga Nation [full coverage] | Josh Durso | Feb. 22, 2020
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