Rescind BIA Recognition of Halftown; Recognize the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫʼ Council of Chiefs Instead

Bureau of Indian Affairs

[UPDATE 3/24/22]

This petition was created by #HalftownMustGo organizers in August of 2021, in response to the Gayogohó:nǫ˺ Council of Chiefs’ May 2021 call for non-Gayogohó:nǫ˺ people to hold the US Department of Interior (DOI) accountable to Gayogohó:nǫ˺ self-determination. Specifically, the petition calls on the DOI to heed the Gayogohó:nǫ˺ Council of Chiefs and Clanmothers’ decision to remove Clint Halftown from any representative role and from the Nation Council - a decision made and communicated in accordance with the Haudenosaunee Confederacy’s Great Law of Peace. The US DOI has refused to honor this decision since 2004. It is time that they honor the sovereign governance processes and heed the authority of the Council of Chiefs and Clanmothers.

Beyond this petition, recent efforts to hold the US federal government accountable to the self-determination of the Gayogohó:nǫ˺ have included movements for local governments on Gayogohó:nǫ˺ land to pass resolutions urging the federal government to heed the Gayogohó:nǫ˺ removal of Clint Halftown from a representative role. Join us in expanding these efforts throughout Gayogohó:nǫ˺ territory if you are able. (Contact HalftownMustGo on social media if you need support.)

Please help us reach a new goal of 2,000 signatures! Share the link on your social media and ask three people (or more) who you know to sign.

More info and context can be found at our here.

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To: Bureau of Indian Affairs
From: [Your Name]

To Whom it May Concern:

I am writing to bring your attention to the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫʼ (Cayuga Nation) Council of Chiefs’ May 2021 letter, in which they call for your office to cease recognition of Clint Halftown as the “federal representative” of the Cayuga Nation (Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫʼ), and to instead recognize the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫʼ Council of Chiefs as the rightful governing body of the Nation. A link to the letter is at for your convenience.

Given that your mission includes “enhancing the quality of life” of Indigenous peoples of the U.S., I also wish to bring your attention to the words of various Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫʼ community members, who recently shared their stories regarding the violent, oppressive acts perpetrated by Clint Halftown against Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫʼ citizens. (These actions include the overnight demolition of a longhouse, daycare center, businesses, dwellings, gardens and fruit trees, and more.) You can find those stories at the #HalftownMustGo #ReadTheLetter YouTube page.

I am concerned by the way the Bureau of Indian Affairs has chosen to engage in the Nation-to-Nation relationship with the Cayuga Nation. It is my understanding that the Cayuga Nation Council of Chiefs, as well as the Clanmothers and citizens to whom they are accountable, have refused Clint Halftown’s ability to speak and act in the name of the Nation, and have communicated as much to you on multiple occasions. Further, how can you justify recognizing a leadership council of the Nation other than the one recognized by the governing body of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy - the Grand Council of Chiefs?

To me, such a position is untenable, offensive, and reflective of our Nation’s much-too-common imposition into the governance affairs of Indigenous Nations -- a pattern that is at odds with your stated goal of supporting the self-determination of Indigenous Nations. I ask that you honor the Two Row (#HonorTheTwoRow) treaty by committing to correcting your office’s ongoing interference in the governance affairs of the Cayuga Nation (Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫʼ). In accordance with the 1794 Treaty of Canandaigua, I urge you to do all in your power to see that this request reaches the desk of Secretary of the Interior Haaland, if not President Biden.

In sum, I believe your office has erred repeatedly in affirming its recognition of the “leadership” of Clint Halftown, facilitating his usurpation of the mantle of Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫʼ governance. I kindly ask you to reconsider and rescind his official recognition by your office, and to instead recognize the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫʼ Council of Chiefs.