The Cayuga Nation has broken its silence following the sending of a letter to the U.S. Department of Interior and Bureau of Indian Affairs, calling Seneca County’s engagement with the “criminal enterprise” of the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫʼ as “disingenuous.”
“The county’s engagement with this criminal enterprise—who do not speak for the Cayuga Nation—is disingenuous and only reflects the county’s own strategic interests,” Maria Stagliano, a Nation spokesperson, wrote to FingerLakes1.com. “It also violates the Cayuga Nation’s sovereignty by attempting to meddle in its internal governance.”
The Nation under the rule of the federally-recognized Halftown Council claims that the Seneca County Board of Supervisors are “aligning themselves with this minority—a group of individuals who have committed criminal acts” against the Nation’s people and interests — even though their Nation police demolished properties overnight.
Accusations of criminal acts have been sprung unto Sam George, sachem chief of the Cayuga Nation’s Bear Clan, who inspired county supervisors to send a newly-revised letter to the federal agencies.
“To be clear: Sam George aligned himself with the group that forcibly seized businesses from the Cayuga Nation, operated them for its own benefit, and stole some $7 million from the Nation which still remains unaccounted for today,” Stagliano added. “It is truly disappointing that the County is attempting to prop up someone who has already betrayed the Cayuga Nation’s members, and it unfortunately suggests that the County is not interested in establishing a positive relationship with the Cayuga Nation—only in asserting control over it.”
George declined to comment to FingerLakes1.com’s request, but Michael Sliger, an adjunct professor of law at Cornell Law School, who now represents the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫʼ faction, responded to the allegations on behalf of his clients.
“Clearly the Halftown Council has entered into its propaganda phase – not shocking, not surprising, and not unexpected. And, like all other propaganda, the statement is rife with obfuscation and untruth,” Sliger told FingerLakes1.com.
Nation members have reportedly been finding fact versus myth sheet materials being distributed inside Nation-owned businesses like the Lakeside Trading and Cayuga Corner stores located throughout Seneca and Cayuga counties.
When asked whether the Cayuga Nation Police Department would intend to pursue any criminal prosecution against George for the alleged crimes he committed while serving as the Nationʼs rivaling faction leader, no further comments were made.
Instead of writing “targeted personal attacks,” Sliger suggests that the Halftown Council should “focus their time and energy on leadership and community development.”