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Feds snub Cayuga election

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  • Feds snub Cayuga election

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    Feds snub Cayuga election
    By Amaris Elliott-Engel / The Citizen
    Friday, July 29, 2005 9:20 AM EDT
    The federal government will not recognize an election organized by
    pro-casino Cayuga Indian Nation members to change their tribe's form of government,
    according to a letter sent from the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs to the
    Cayuga Nation.

    Bureau of Indian Affairs Regional Director Franklin Keel wrote July 18 to
    Gary Wheeler, Timothy Twoguns and Michael Wheeler that the recognition of a new
    provisional council is being denied because only two of the six recognized
    members of the Cayuga Nation Council requested a new form of government and a
    majority of adult members did not vote in the May election to change the

    "It is our determination that the level of support for changing the form of
    government of the Cayuga Nation is insufficient for the Bureau of Indian
    Affairs to alter its recognition of the Cayuga Nation's form of government," Keel

    In the election organized by Twoguns and Gary Wheeler in May, 96 ballots
    were returned of 348 total ballots, and 61 tribal members voted to change the
    Cayuga government.

    "That was obviously an important and a big piece of news for traditional
    leaders I represent," said Joseph Heath, an attorney representing recently
    condoled chiefs Bear Clan member Sam George and Heron Clan member William "Chuck"

    Keel also sent a letter to Heath's clients, George and Jacobs, saying the
    federal government won't recognize them as the Nation's leaders until they
    present evidence that their condolences were properly ratified by the Heron and
    Bear clans, as well as the Nation Council.
    Clint Halftown remains the tribe's government representative.

    Gary Wheeler said he was disappointed in the BIA's decision, but he and his
    allies will take advantage of a conflict resolution offer from Keel.

    "A third party might better be able to get what everybody wants down on
    paper at least," Gary Wheeler said.

    The Cayuga Nation's casino development partner, Empire Resorts, also said
    they welcomed the mediation opportunity.
    "Working with our partner, the Cayuga Provisional Council, we fully support
    mediation to finally resolve these outstanding leadership issues and gain
    support from the BIA. We believe the Cayuga Nation of New York can bridge these
    matters and, in doing so, move toward development of a Cayuga casino in the
    Catskills," said David Hanlon, chief executive officer and president of Empire

    Funds advanced to the Nation from Empire Resorts were used to pay for
    Twoguns' and Gary Wheeler's election effort.

    Staff writer Amaris Elliott-Engel can be reached at 253-5311 ext. 282 or at
    [email protected]_ (mailto:[email protected])
    Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

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