Posted August 10, 2022:
Councilperson, Robert Lynch, addressing the Enfield Town Board during Privilege of the Floor, Wednesday, August 10th:
Article IV, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution states:
“The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.”
On November 10th of last year, our Enfield Town Board adopted a Resolution urging the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs “to take a proactive role in protecting the traditional Cayuga Nation’s citizens, by undertaking a thorough investigation into (recent acts of violence at the Cayuga Nation in Seneca County) and reassessing the competence and effectiveness of its designated ‘Federal Representative,’”
That Federal Representative was and continues to be Clint Halftown. The Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs, to my knowledge, has not acted upon Enfield’s request. One wonders if it ever will.
The night we adopted the afore-referenced Resolution and again at the following month’s meeting, I’d moved for stronger action. I wanted a State Attorney General’s investigation into acts of violence at the Cayuga Nation. This Board cast aside my motion, one member explaining to me that the Cayuga Nation is a sovereign State. Because it is, its residents remain unreachable by New York’s criminal laws.
This August third, as media reports have informed us, persons under Clint Halftown’s direction, and apparently under no authority other than his, demolished “sacred spaces” on the Cayuga Nation’s Seneca County property, places including an occupied house and barn. When doing so, nation police allegedly pulled a woman from the house against her will, handcuffed her, and forced her to watch crews demolish it. Reports also tell us Nation police under Clint Halftown’s direction pepper sprayed onlookers standing along the road.
Under what authority does Clint Halftown act other than his own? If New York State cannot intervene to stop violence on Cayuga Nation property and punish wrongdoers, who can? Who will?
To my knowledge, upon the Cayuga Nation of today, there is no legislature, no empowered governing council to check Clint Halftown’s autocratic rule. Where is the “Republican form of Government” on lands of the Cayuga Nation; a form of government the U.S. Constitution demands? I’d like to know. Others would as well.
I was not the only Town Board member addressing the latest incidents at the Cayuga Nation. Totally unknown to me, my colleague, Councilperson James Ricks, also addressed the issue, his comments similarly critical.
Moreover, this breaking revelation: Tompkins County legislator Anne Koreman let slip the remark that some county legislators are working “behind the scenes” drafting a possible Resolution to place before their Legislature in the near future to register an opinion on the issue as well.
Right is right. And in my opinion, the Rule of Law applies to all who live in this Great Nation. If you vote here, as the Cayugas do, you abide by our Constitution. No exceptions.