Bureau of Indian Affairs

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.

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.