The Cayuga Nation has recently expanded its territorial holdings by acquiring a 40-acre parcel located at 1044 Clark Street Road in the Town of Aurelius. This land purchase is in close proximity to the Finger Lakes Drive-In. Following the acquisition, the Nation submitted an application on January 11 to the United States Department of Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs, to take this property into trust, signifying a step towards reclaiming lands within its historical reservation.
However, a notable complication has emerged. The Nation discovered that the Finger Lakes Drive-In has encroached onto its newly acquired land. Investigations revealed that part of the drive-in, including its main entrance, several parking spots, and a portion of the movie screen, are situated on the Nation’s property. The Nation has initiated legal action in Cayuga County court to affirm the property boundaries as stated in their land-into-trust application.
Despite this issue, the Cayuga Nation remains hopeful for a resolution, recognizing the local community’s patronage of the drive-in. Clint Halftown, the Nation’s Federally Recognized Representative, emphasized the historical significance of this land, which lies within the boundaries reserved for the Nation in the Treaty of Canandaigua.
The acquisition is part of the Nation’s broader strategy to reclaim its reservation lands, with the Bureau of Indian Affairs having previously accepted about 100 acres in and around Union Springs into trust for the Nation in March 2023.
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