Bureau of Indian Affairs

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The Cayuga Indian Nation will have to continue to sort out a leadership dispute on its own, as the federal government has declined to make a ruling.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has decided that on an interim basis, it will continue to recognize the 2006 leadership structure of the Cayuga, which places Clint Halftown as the federal representative for the nation.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The leadership dispute between factions of the Cayuga Indian Nation continues to work its way through bureaucracy, with state courts and the federal government both soon to weigh in.

This week two county courts - Seneca and Cayuga counties - declined to hear a lawsuit brought by Clint Halftown, who claims he is still the rightful federal representative of the Cayuga. That title allows him to control federal money and the nation’s business interests.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

A decade-old dispute between traditional leadership in the Cayuga Indian Nation and its representative to the U.S. government has boiled over.

The two factions are now battling over control of the nation's business interests in the Finger Lakes. 

After the death of a Cayuga chief in 2003, Clint Halftown became the nation's federal representative. When new chiefs, including Sam George, were installed by clan mothers a year later, they say they removed Halftown from that role.