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Cayuga Nation responds to Town of Dryden’s resolution, criticizes non-native involvement in dispute

The Cayuga Nation has released a statement regarding the Dryden Town Board’s recent resolution to stand by the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫʼ Council of Chiefs and Clanmothers’ and support Cayuga Nation self-determination.

Related: Dryden Town Board passes resolution supporting Cayuga Nation Self-Determination

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

The full statement reads as follows:

“A non-Native local town board does not get to determine the governance of the Cayuga Nation, a federally recognized and sovereign Indian Nation. For decades, county boards and non-natives have attempted to assert control over the Cayuga Nation’s activities and meddle in its internal governance. The Bureau of Indian Affairs recognizes Clint Halftown as the Cayuga Nation’s Federal Representative because an overwhelming majority—more than 60 percent—of the Cayuga Nation selected him and the current council to represent them. His role and leadership are undisputed, and the campaigns against him do not represent the Nation members’ sentiment at large, only that of a marginal and disgruntled, but noisy, minority. This minority speaks only for themselves and does not speak on behalf of the Nation, especially since more than 60 percent of the Cayuga Nation’s membership explicitly rejected their misappropriated claims to leadership and made it clear they should not be recognized.


As a sovereign entity, interacting with the county on a government-to-government basis, only the Cayuga Nation can choose its leaders. The Cayuga Nation Council has been the Cayuga Nation’s trusted governing body for more than two decades. Under their leadership, the council has created jobs and advocated to protect the Nation’s sovereign rights, as well as developed opportunities to bring members back to the homeland and connect with their Native roots. Prior to Clint Halftown and the Cayuga Nation Council’s leadership, members of the Cayuga Nation received approximately $22 per year in treaty payments from New York State. Due to the economic drivers the Cayuga Nation Council has overseen, the Nation has distributed more than $9 million in member distributions since the beginning of the program in 2006. They also receive tuition assistance for schooling for themselves and their children, among other benefits.

 The Cayuga Nation Council remains committed to providing for the Nation through ongoing member benefits and advocacy in support of protecting their rights as a sovereign Nation.”



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