Tamey Tallchief proudly displayed her sign, which read, “My Nation my business,” as she walked along East Bayard Street in Seneca Falls.
“We have different factions here and we are the real Cayugas,” Tallchief said Saturday. “These are our businesses, this is our land, and we want the dissidents to go.”
Cayuga Indian Nation members show support for federally-recognized leader
Tallchief supports the Nation’s federally-recognized representative, Clint Halftown, who joined her at this walk. But some others within the Nation do not.
“It doesn’t feel good,” Tallchief said. “I don’t like it. Would you? If your house was split? If your families were fighting between each other? There’s no time for that.”
Tallcheif is one of the Cayuga Nation members who showed up Saturday for what they called a walk of solidarity.
More: Cayuga Nation member reacts to property demolition: “This was a place where our community came together” (video)
Chief Operating Officer of Lakeside Enterprises speaks at walk
“I really want to show the community our faces, who we are, our families,” said Missy Barringer, Chief Operating Officer of Lakeside Enterprises. “That this is an important place to us. There’s a lot of meaning for us here. As well as we’re good neighbors. That’s what we want to be. We’re here, we have our reserve nation land here, we’ve been here for hundreds of years and we look forward to being here hundreds more.”
They came by the busload and held signs, saying things like, “Chiefs don’t speak for me,” “Stick to your own Nation,” and “Squatters must go.”
Those in traditional Gayogo̱hó:nǫ’ faction say Halftown must go
Someone who wasn’t there is Sam George. George is a member of the Bear Clan. He’s one of ten chiefs for the Gayogo̱hó:nǫ.’
“I didn’t even know it was going on,” George said. “If I had known, we probably would have had our people down there just saying the opposite of what they’re saying.”
George has a different idea about why this group is out here holding these signs.
“It means they’re lost and confused,” George said. “They’ve been colonized. They don’t even know about the traditional way of living. They don’t know they’re related to the land, the people, and all the animals, the wind, the thunder. They don’t know anything about that.”
Meanwhile, Tallchief says today is about sending a message.
“I want to live here in peace,” Tallchief said. “I want my children to live here in peace. I want my grandchildren to live here in peace like all the ancestors before.”
Related: Cayuga Nation reopens Bayard Street shop in Seneca Falls selling marijuana products
Rebecca is a veteran multimedia journalist serving as one of our core reporters in the Finger Lakes region. She is responsible for telling stories that matter to every day Upstate New Yorkers. Have a question or lead? Send it to [email protected].