Headlines for September 5, 2022

Nine members of the Tompkins County Legislature released a strongly-worded letter on Friday calling on President Biden and others to heed the traditional chiefs and clanmothers of Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫʼ or Cayuga nation in a leadership dispute. The chiefs and clanmothers, have been calling for the removal of the federally recognized leader of the Cayuga Nation, Clint Halftown. 

Halftown is not “condoled chief” or Sachem recognized by the traditional Haudenosaunee Grand Council according to Council’s website. The letter calls for Biden to meet with the Sachems and honor US treaty obligations that mandate self-governance by the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫʼ.

On August 3, Halftown’s government demolished several buildings occupied by Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫʼ community members and used for their ceremonies. Halftown has made wide-ranging and claims about the need for the demolitions but, according to Heron Clan member, Leanna Young:

"That property was very well utilized as a community space and gathering center. It was a place where we'd gather for birthdays, we gathered for other nations to come and visit us we had a summer youth group. We had met there two days a week to tend to the garden to go down to the lake from there and go swimming. We took that barn and we turned it into a ceremony space. That was the heart of our community."

In 2020 Halftown demolished several other structures including a schoolhouse being used to teach traditional language and culture. 

Tompkins County occupies part of the land that is historically the Cayuga Nation.

Correction: A previous version of this item incorrectly identified Leanna Young as a Heron Clanmother. 

The state has settled a False Claims Act case with the Department of Justice for half a million dollars. The payment settles allegations that staffers working for former Governor Cuomo’s office improperly received money from a Federal clean water fund. First reported by the Times Union, the claims prompted an FBI investigation in 2017. which notably found no criminal wrongdoing. 

Lucas Santiago contributed reporting to today’s newscast.


Keep up to date on local news. Follow us wherever you get your podcasts.