Emboldened by the actions of the Seneca County Board of Supervisors who recently voted unanimously to send a new letter to the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫʼ community are capitalizing on their newfound momentum, mobilizing on social media all weeklong to bring more attention to their growing cause.
This week has been dedicated to organizing a social media campaign strategy, targeting local and even federal public offices and officials through “phone zaps” and “social media storms” online.
The purpose of the social campaign intends on ensuring officials read a letter written by the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫʼ Council of Chiefs from back in May in an effort for the BIA to “no longer recognize” Clint Halftown as the Nation’s federal representative, particularly in the aftermath of an overnight demolition of Nation-owned properties on February 22, 2020.
The Seneca County’s Sheriff Office had been subject to the first day of outreach on Monday, August 23. Today is focused on targeting the BIA’s Eastern Regional Office, which is located in Nashville, Tennessee, on Tuesday, August 24.
Bureau of Indian Affairs Director Darryl LaCounte, a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians in North Dakota, follows on Wednesday, August 25.
Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland, an Objwe from the Bay Mills Indian Community in Michigan, who replaced Tara Sweeney, a former President Donald Trump appointee, is the focus of Thursday, August 26.
Lastly, Seneca County Sheriff Tim Luce, U.S. Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland and President Joe Biden are subject to their final day of mobilizing on Friday, August 27.
The Cayuga conflict has seemingly fallen on deaf ears at the federal level when FingerLakes1.com asked Tyler Cherry, the Interior’s press secretary, about how the Haaland administration perceives the entire situation, which she admittedly incurred — no comments were made at that time.
A “myth vs. fact sheet” released by the Cayuga Nation to FingerLakes1.com noted how more than 62-percent of all Cayuga Nation adult, voting-age members supported Halftown and his council by “a margin of support greater than any U.S. President in recent history has ever enjoyed,” according to a “Nation-wide survey” conducted in 2016.
Maria Stagliano, an account executive at Levick and Nation spokesperson, says the social campaign is organized by “a vocal minority that does not represent the Nation, does not speak for the Nation, and does not have the best interests of the Nation in mind.”
“While members of this vocal minority are free to express their personal opinions, it does not change the fact that Clint Halftown remains the leader of the Cayuga Nation as chosen by more than 60 percent of the Nation’s membership,” Stagliano wrote to FingerLakes1.com. “He is committed to providing for the Nation through ongoing member benefits and advocacy in support of protecting their rights as a sovereign Nation.”
Their campaigning comes just a few weeks prior to defendants being summoned to appear before Seneca County’s State Supreme Court to face monetary judgments from the Cayuga Nation’s Civil Court, which may “lay the foundation for Halftown’s potential future evictions of Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫʼ people from their homes on their original territory,” according to activists.