For some people, the story of the Cayuga Nation of New York (CNNY) could add up to a confabulation of facts, events, misunderstandings and nefarious manipulations of what happened over the course of more than 200 years of American and Indian history in New York. State. The current dispute is not just between the “factions” of Gayogoho: no, but the continued mismanagement of the United States government.
In my opinion, it is important for elected officials (at all levels of government) and citizens to take a step back from the current political crisis in which we are entangled and to understand certain facts.
First, the treaties between the United States and Gayogoho: no people are still alive and functioning. Neither the Cayugas nor the Haudenosaunee (the Iroquois Confederacy of Six Nations) were conquered. Despite Sullivan Clinton’s 1779 campaign of ethnic cleansing in the Finger Lakes region during the revolution, the US government was weak and could not afford to continue the war. Fair treaties for the Haudenosaunee were negotiated. Over time, the United States and other interests have seized opportunities to violate them. The U.S. government has a poor record of upholding agreements, having abrogated more than 400 treaties with Indigenous nations.
Second, as independent nations, the United States and Gayogoho:no each have their own method of choosing their leadership. The current CNNY is an agency of the US government, having adopted the democratic model of majority rule. And he accepts funding from the US government.
The Two Row Wampum states that each nation “travels in its own vessel”, on the river of life, without interfering with the other.
The United States continues to violate treaties with the Gayogoho:no by recognizing Clint Halftown as liaison for the Cayuga Nation. Regardless of accusations of irregularities in the distribution of ballots that gave Mr. Halftown “more than 60%” of the vote in 2004, under the constitution of the Six Nations Confederacy, the Great Law of Peace, the sachems are chosen by consensus. Gayogoho clan mothers: no people.
Kurt A. Jordan, professor of anthropology at Cornell University, recently published a pamphlet called “People in the Cayuga Lake Region: A Brief History.” This is the most recent scholarship on the history of contact between the settlers and the indigenous peoples of this region. It is a well-documented history with original sources and records, archaeological finds and oral accounts. However, there is ambiguity and uncertainty in certain facts and events that have occurred over more than 200 years. Jordan’s research on the history of the area comes from natives and settlers. It suggests there’s more to discover, but that’s what we know so far.
Where do we go from here? US citizens in the Finger Lakes region may accept autonomy from the Gayogoho:no people. Despite the conflicts and mistakes of the past, it is never too late to do what is honorable.
During the meeting with the county council on August 10, 2021, Sachem Sam George said: “You are dealing with the wrong person. There are six other people beside me who form the traditional and proper government of the Cayuga Nation. It is we who are chosen to deal with the outside world and the ancient treaties… We want to be brothers with you. We don’t think we should tell ourselves what to do. We ask.” (Finger Lakes TimeAugust 12, 2021)
The Seneca County Board of Supervisors has taken positive action by rejecting the Halftown administration’s bullying tactics. Their decision to support traditional leader Sachem George takes into account the safety and well-being of everyone in the region. The council sent letters to President Joe Biden and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland in support of Sachem Sam George and the traditional government.
The Trade and Intercourse Act (1790) was created specifically to reduce illegal NY transactions. The Treaty of Canandaigua (1794) and the US Constitution provide that only the federal government can negotiate with Indigenous nations.
Finally, we can choose to accept the original nations of North America as part of our country’s culture. “It should be noted that Euro-Americans resided in this region for less than 2% of the entire duration of human occupation. The Cayuga Lake area has been Indigenous territory for millennia. (Jordan)
Jordan recently wrote, “What kind of future the Gayogohó:no will have in their homeland is largely up to all of us, whether we are indigenous or not. The Gayogohó:no will certainly endure, and their connection to these lands and waters cannot be severed. Along with our native neighbors, we will also continue to be here “as long as the grass grows, the rivers flow and the sun rises in the east”.
Tony Del Plato is an innkeeper and village administrator in Interlaken. He frequently contributes to Finger Lakes Time review pages.