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Schumer wants federal investigation of damage done to Cayuga Nation buildings

Feb 24, 2020

Credit Greg Cotterill

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), is demanding a federal investigation after a weekend incident on Cayuga Nation property in Seneca Falls, where some businesses and other buildings were bulldozed.

The destruction of the buildings was apparently spurred by action taken by Cayuga Nation tribal leader Clint Halftown, who has been at odds with another faction of members of the Cayuga tribe. A statement from the Cayuga Nation said it chose to demolish certain buildings partly for public safety reasons.

During a stop in Rochester on Monday, Schumer, who is also the Senate Minority Leader, said that his office has been in contact with two federal agencies.

"We’re in touch with both DOJ (Department of Justice) and Interior;  Interior, because they have jurisdiction over the tribes, DOJ because they have jurisdiction over federal laws and if there were (violations,) appropriate federal action should follow. We need the same from New York state, what happened was awful; cannot go unpunished,” Schumer told reporters.

Congressman Tom Reed issued a statement on Monday also calling on federal agencies to help stabilize the situation.

The Seneca County Board of Supervisors met Sunday and approved a motion calling for U.S. Marshals to get involved to ensure safety in the area.