Two parties that have spent the better part of four decades fighting in the heart of the Finger Lakes have come to an apparent arrangement to leave it in the past.
On Wednesday, Seneca County and the Cayuga Nation sent out a press release that read, “In a significant development in the relationship with Seneca County and the Cayuga Nation, a new era of cooperation and mutual respect is being recognized.”
Shortly after the release was publicized, which was interpreted as an agreement between the two parties – clarification came down from Seneca County.
“Online it uses the word ‘agreement’,” wrote Amanda Vavra, Clerk to the Board of Supervisors. “No formal agreement has been reached at this time. This release is an acknowledgement towards fostering a relationship and mutual understanding with Cayuga Nation. Please remove the word agreement immediately.”
The development announced on Wednesday, signifies the apparent “normalization and cooperation” between the two parties. Officials with both sides released mirroring press releases, stating they are hopeful of a resolution to decades of conflict.
Seneca County has officially acknowledged the Cayuga Nation and its federally recognized leader Clint Halftown. Officials with the Cayuga Nation say this is a pivotal step in affirming their sovereignty. It comes as an internal leadership struggle within the Nation regained headlines in recent weeks.
Seneca County Board of Supervisors Chairman Michael Enslow emphasized that both parties are looking for economic stability with a goal of getting past conflicts, according to the release. The release also notes that this recognition of the Cayuga Nation and its leadership will bring benefits to both communities, but with no formal agreement in place — that remains speculative.
Officials with the Cayuga Nation said they hope this can serve as a blueprint for other communities to follow facing similar challenges. However, with no agreement or details in place, it’s unclear how that might be.