Cayuga mass evictions halted
An effort by a Cayuga faction led by Clint Halftown to evict 68 Cayuga citizens, including 29 children, from their homes has been dropped. Lawyers for the Halftown faction recently filed papers in town courts in Seneca County discontinuing sixteen eviction proceedings which sought to throw scores of Cayuga citizens out of their homes.
The proceedings were filed last August in town courts in Seneca Falls and Varick as part of Halftown’s effort to punish Cayuga citizens opposed to his years-long effort to seize control of the Cayuga Nation government. Town Justices Laverne C. Lafler and Jeffrey Hogue had stayed the eviction proceedings pending a decision from the New York Court of Appeals as to whether New York courts have jurisdiction to hear disputes over possession and control over Cayuga Nation property.
On October 29, 2019, the Court of Appeals ruled that state courts lack jurisdiction over such internal Cayuga Nation matters. The Court also recognized that the Cayuga Nation is still governed, as it has been for centuries, under the oral tradition of the Haudenosaunee Great Law of Peace, with Clan Mothers maintaining their authority to select and remove Chiefs, and all Council decisions made by consensus.
“What legitimate government evicts scores of men, women and children from their homes to stifle political opposition,” asked condoled Cayuga Nation Chief Sam George. “We’ve waited over 200 years to come back to our ancestral lands. To be thrown out again, by one of our own, is unconscionable. This is not how traditional Cayuga leaders treat their citizens. We will continue to fight to protect our rights and our citizens.”
Today’s filings are an acknowledgement, by the Halftown faction, that its effort to punish political opponents by throwing them and their families into the street, has failed.