Though the federal government upheld a decision to recognize Clint Halftown and his council as leaders of the Cayuga Nation, an opposing faction is challenging the ruling.
Joseph Heath, attorney for a Cayuga Nation group formerly known as the Unity Council, filed a motion on Friday questioning the validity of the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ decision to the Interior Board of Indian Appeals. Heath argued that the latest decision, entered by Acting Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Michael Black, is invalid because Black was removed from that post in June, prior to issuing his decision on July 14.
With the federal government’s continued delays in filling multiple agency vacancies, the BIA, a division of the U.S. Department of the Interior, continues without an assistant secretary, though Heath commented that Black appears to continue acting in that capacity. The BIA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.