Cayuga Nation of New York


Nation officials reserved judgment on a local group's May 4 offer to give the tribe a 70-acre farm for a new homeland. Cayuga spokesman Clint Halftown refused comment until an official offer is made and reviewed by the council. Cayuga Nation Clan Mother Bernadette Hill said returning home "will mean having our own Cayuga ceremonies again." The 70-acre farm property was purchased April 19 for $240,000 by Jonathan M. Rossen, an assistant professor of anthropology at Ithaca College. He said he is a member of Strengthening Haudenosaunee-American Relations Through Education, or SHARE. It is not clear if the land will be deeded to the nation, making it eligible to become a sovereign reservation, or if SHARE will continue to own it and allow the Cayugas to use it, he said. The farm is near the Great Gully and Peachtown areas where the Cayugas had major settlements and croplands burned and destroyed by patriot armies in 1779 because the Cayugas sided with the British during the Revolutionary War. The property includes an organic vegetable farm, farmhouse, three barns and a silo. The farm sits at the southern end of the 64,027 acres of former reservation land the tribe claims was illegally acquired by New York state in the late 18th and early 19th centuries