The Citizens Advisory Committee on Indian Affairs spoke before the Seneca County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, August 23.
The Committee was there to address a question posed by Missy Barringer of LakeSide Enterprises at a meeting two weeks prior, according to the Board: Why doesn’t Seneca County recognize the Treaty of Canandaigua, which established a Cayuga Nation reservation?
One Advisory Committee member claimed, “We are not completely convinced that the Treaty of Canandaigua was ever ratified by the federal government.”
Documents available via the U.S. National Archive dispute this claim, according to Cayuga Nation (CIN) representatives.
“it was signed in 1794, ratified by the United States Senate on January 9, 1795, and ratified by President George Washington 12 days later, according to the United States National Archives. Images of the treaty show that the document carries President Washington’s signature, as well as the Great Seal of the United States, clearly demonstrating that it was, in fact, ratified by the federal government,” said CIN in a statement.
Another Advisory Committee member referenced a former regional director for the Bureau of Indian Affairs that allegedly wrote a letter claiming Clint Halftown, the CIN’s federally-recognized leader, was not the rightful leader of the Cayuga Nation.
Referencing the BIA representative, that Advisory Committee member said, “He disappeared almost immediately after that letter came out.”
“He’s gone. He may be in a grave,” he continued.
“During a humiliating 28-minute appearance, the Advisory Committee implied, without evidence, that a former Bureau of Indian Affairs official disappeared and suggests that he may have been murdered and that attorneys hired to represent the County’s interests had been paid off to sabotage the case,” read the CIN’s statement.
The following statement from Halftown was released through the Nation’s PR firm:
“Reservations are established by Act or Treaty and can only be disestablished by an Act of Congress, which has not taken place. While the Cayuga Nation may not presently own all of the 64,015 acres allotted to it in the Treaty of Canandaigua, the status of its reservation still stands, period. While the members of the ‘Citizens Advisory Committee on Indian Affairs’ may not like this or find it inconvenient, no amount of racist fearmongering or ‘not being completely convinced’ will change this plain and simple fact.”
“After this humiliating and discrediting performance, the Seneca County Board of Supervisors should immediately disband and refuse to hear any more baseless conspiracies from this fundamentally racist and egregiously misinformed group.”
Watch the full meeting below
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