Cayuga Nation Discord Safety Issues Debated by City Council | New
SENECA FALLS — City council meetings are often dominated by two topics: Seneca Meadows and the Cayuga Nation.
The latter was in the front row of the meeting on Tuesday.
An often heated discussion between city council members and citizens focused on the ongoing and increasingly violent internal dispute among Cayuga Nation members over tribal leadership in Seneca and Cayuga counties.
“I saw the Nation Police doing target practice with AR-15 rifles near the East Bayard Street Extension,” Karen Wylie said, asking how this could be allowed.
Board member Frank Sinicropi added that while playing golf at Seneca Falls Country Club, he heard about 200 balls fired.
Supervisor Mike Ferrara said while people “may not like the answer,” city officials are working around the clock to try to bring the two rival sides together and get federal authorities to intervene. in the application of any agreement concluded.
Celeste Dyson hit back by saying “no one is protecting me and my family” when Nation police act recklessly on tribal members who don’t support federally recognized leader Clint Halftown.
“We may have to protect ourselves,” Dyson said. “They are demolishing houses in neighborhoods where the electricity is still plugged in. They have armed guards everywhere. This is not Clint’s town Halftown. It’s our town. … This is getting ridiculous.
Dyson went so far as to suggest that city officials might be “in Clint’s pocket.”
Ferrara firmly rejected this idea.
“I’m not in anyone’s pocket. I’m too big to fit in anyone’s pocket, Clint’s or the dumpster’s,” Ferrara said. “We are doing everything we can to bring about a solution to these problems, but we cannot stop the officers of the Cayuga Nation.”
Police Chief Stu Peenstra said the federal government recognizes the law enforcement service of the Cayuga Nation — “whether you like it or not. They have authority over the members of the Nation on Indian lands, which cover some 64,000 acres.
Peenstra said the Seneca Falls Police Department is investigating an incident on the Garden Street Extension to see if a case can be built that will result in charges. Dyson cut him off, saying more needed to be done.
“We’re not going to violate anyone’s civil rights,” Peenstra replied.
“We have no authority on these matters,” Ferrara added.
“Do you want an uprising? asked Dyson.
“We want a constructive discussion on a peaceful solution to a civil war within the Nation,” Ferrara replied. “We want to bring everyone to the table so that everyone is protected.”
Nation member Jaqueline House agreed with those who blame Halftown and its tactics. She said the Nation and non-Native American governments are like being in a boat and a canoe on the same body of water, working as separate nations. She accused Halftown of terrorism against the Cayuga Nation.
“We’re trying to figure it out as best we can,” Ferrara said.
“We can take matters into our own hands, and if we do, you’ll be upset,” Dyson said.
Ferrara suggested people contact US Senator Chuck Schumer.
“It’s not a Seneca Falls problem,” Ferrara reiterated. “It’s a matter of nation and federal government that needs a peaceful agreement.”