Chief’s Letters

Plaintiffs’/Appellants’ Reply Brief, Appeal of Case No. CIV-16-M04

The Defendants’/Appellees’ (“Barton”) Answer Brief warrants comment for multiple reasons. First, its misstatement of facts and law, including the indisputably false characterization of a U.S. Supreme Court holding and the failure to mention the express incorporation of federal constitutional guarantees in the Seneca-Cayuga Nation’s Constitution (“Nation’s Constitution”) while claiming federal law is irrelevant, destroys the Answer Brief’s credibility. Second, the failure of the Answer Brief to address the undisputed facts in the record confirm the arguments for reversal by the Plaintiffs/Apellants (“Fisher”) based on those facts. Third, the Answer Brief’s complete absence of applicable authority demonstrates the failure to rebut Fisher’s proof of error.

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Temporary Restraining Order Prohibiting New Elections

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that the Defendant(s) named herein, and their agents, servants and all persons acting by or through or under their authority be and are hereby enjoined and restrained from ordering and/or holding any new election pertaining to the offices of Chief of the Seneca-Cayuga Nation and First Committee Person of the Seneca-Cayuga Nation, until this matter is resolved or until further order of the Court.

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Decision on Appeal, Paul Barton

The Appellant, Paul Barton, has filed an appeal of the decision of the Seneca-Cayuga Nation’s (“Nation”) Election Committee of January 30, 2017, sustaining the challenge of Sarah Sue Channing to the election of January 21, 2017, for Chief. The Business Committee held a hearing on the appeal on February 13, 2017. The Appellant appeared in person and had attorney Scott B. Goode sit with him.

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Decision on Appeal, Cynthia Donohue

The Appellant, Cynthia Donohue, candidate for First Council Person, filed an appeal of the decision of the Seneca-Cayuga Nation’s (“Nation”) Election Committee of January 30, 2017, sustaining the protest of Sallie White to Appellant’s election. The Business Committee held a hearing on the appeal of February 13, 2017, at which both the Appellant and her attorney Scott B. Goode appeared and spoke.

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Resolution Regarding Election Ordinance

Resolution #25-012617: A Resolution Supplementing and Incorporating Procedural Safeguards to the Seneca-Cayuga Nation Election and Voting Ordinance of April, 2016, Enacted by the Seneca-Cayuga Nation Business Committee.

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Petition In Error, 12-13-2016



COME NOW the Appellants and for their Petition in Error state:

1. This is an appeal from the Court of Indian Offenses for the Miami Agency, Miami, Oklahoma.

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Seneca-Cayuga Nation Press Release, 11-22-2016

On November 21, 2016, the Federal Court of Indian Offenses affirmed the Seneca-Cayuga Nation’s Business Committee’s finding that LeRoy Howard, a candidate for Chief, failed to meet the Seneca-Cayuga Nation’s Constitutional requirements for tribal membership, as required in Tribal Election Ordinance. The Election Ordinance requires a candidate for office to meet the Constitutional requirements for Tribal membership within the Seneca-Cayuga Nation in addition to the Constitutional requirements for office.

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Support for Standing Rock

On behalf of the Seneca-Cayuga Nation, I am writing you in support of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. We affirm and appreciate the stand your nation is taking against the Dakota Access Pipeline, and we stand with you in solidarity.

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Tribes’ Motion For Leave to Intervene and Protest

The Inter-Tribal Council, Inc. of Oklahoma (“ITC”) and some of its member tribes, including the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, the Wyandotte Nation, the Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma, the Peoria Tribe of Oklahoma, the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, the Shawnee Tribe, and the Seneca-Cayuga Nation, filed a Motion for Leave ot Intervene and Protest on July 22, 2016 in FERC Docket 1494-433 opposing the Grand River Dam Authority’s Application for Non-Capacity Related Amendment of License, Including Possible Temporary Variance for 2016, filed May 6, 2016. The Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma and the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma did not join in that motion.

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A Letter From The Chief, August 23, 2016

Dear Tribal Members:

This year the Nation has been involved in court cases that have delayed the 2016 election of the Business Committee and Grievance Committee offices. The Business Committee is working to conclude these matters so that an election may move forward at the earliest possible date. Your right to vote in Tribal elections by mail-in or absentee ballot has been called into question before the Court of Indian Offenses (CFR Court).

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Notice to Tribal Members, August 1, 2016

Decision from CFR Court, July 30, 2016

1. Over objection from defendants Paul Barton, Scott Goode, Hoyit Bacon, Cynthia Donohue, Tonya Blackfox, and Tenona Kuhn’s motion, CFR Judge approved mail in balloting for the election of the Business Committee.

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Seneca-Cayuga Election Postponed

GROVE, Okla. — A Bureau of Indian Affairs court is delaying an already rescheduled Seneca-Cayuga election.

On Wednesday, Magistrate Tom Walker ruled to postpone a reconvened General Council meeting of the Seneca-Cayuga Nation.

In June, Walker had ordered the tribe to reconvene its General Council meeting on or near July 23 with an independent monitor to oversee its election.

According to the court minute from the hearing, the decision stems in part from a temporary restraining order regarding a candidate challenge issued in May that has not been vacated.

LeRoy Howard, the former chief of the Seneca-Cayuga Nation, filed paperwork to run for another term. His eligibility for office was challenged, prompting litigation in the Miami Agency’s Court of Indian Offenses. That litigation also prompted the Seneca-Cayuga Business Committee to announce in April that the tribe’s regularly scheduled election on June 4 would be postponed.

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Minute Order

Court entertains argument in favor of and in opposition to Motion to Stay Pending Appeal.
Counsel inform that the TRO issued in CIV-16-M03 has not been vacated.
Court takes decision on motion under advisement.
Election ordered at conclusion of the trial postponed.

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Motion For Stay Pending Appeal and Brief in Support

COME NOW, the Plaintiffs/Appellants and request this Court to stay that portion of its order of requiring the Seneca-Cayuga Nation (the “Nation”) to hold an election on July 23, 2016, with only in-person voting and appointing at the expense of the Nation a Special Master to judicially oversee the election.

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Notice of Intent to Appeal

COMES NOW, the Plaintiffs in this consolidated matter and pursuant to Rule 6.2.4 give notice of their Intent to Appeal. For their statement of reasons for this Appeal, these Plaintiffs/Appellants state:

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BIA Secretarial Election Packet to Amend Constitution and By-laws, May 15, 2014, United States Department of the Interior

In the link provided you will see the Resolutions to amend the Constitution and By-laws as submitted by the Business Committee of the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The packet is complete with a synopsis of the Resolutions as well as the complete Resolutions as presented to Tribal Citizens by the BIA during the Secretarial Election.

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Seneca-Cayuga Nation Ordered To Conduct Another Council Election

The Seneca-Cayuga Nation of Oklahoma is dealing with an internal leadership dispute, The Tulsa World reports.

The tribe was scheduled to hold an election during a general council meeting on June 4. But Chief William Fisher called off the meeting because he said “disruptors” were creating an “increasingly hostile” environment.

“Chief Fisher was forced to adjourn the meeting when the disruptors refused to come to order as requested, thereby making business impossible to conduct,” a letter signed by the business committee reads.

The judge also invalidated an attempt to disenroll Fisher and other tribal leaders, the paper said. The new election is to be held on or near July 23.

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Update on Nation’s Current Affairs

Dear Tribal Members:

Many of you are aware of the unconstitutional attempt to remove the elected Business Committee from the Tribal Membership and from elected office that occurred after the adjournment of the Annual General Council meeting on June 4, 2016. Unfortunately, it was necessary to adjourn the meeting prior to presentation of the business reports to the General Council due to disruption of the meeting from the floor.

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Standing Business Committee

This letter is to inform you that the standing committee of the Nation is as follows:

William L. Fisher- Chief
Jerry Crow- 2nd Chief
Sarah S. Channing- Secretary-Treasurer
Sallie White- 1st Councilperson
Lisa Spano- 2nd Councilperson
Calvin Cassady- 3rd Councilperson
Geneva Fletcher- 4th Councilperson

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Pending Issues Update

Seneca-Cayuga Tribal Citizens:

The Business Committee is committed to clear communications with tribal citizens, and we promised to update you on key governmental issues at the last address to the Nation’s members. They are as follows:

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An Investigation by the NIGC Continues

As stated in my February 2016 newsletter, I discussed the investigation that was recently conducted by the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC). If you recall, we experienced a serious situation at our casino because of the previous Chief’s approval of a perpetual vendor contract, thus creating an ongoing investigation into all of the vendor contracts that our casino has entered into.

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Election Notice April 26, 2016

The previously scheduled Election has been postponed. The Election will be rescheduled to a date and time certain.

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State of the Nation

On the tribal gaming front, the Business Committee has devoted a substantial amount of time to resolving unsettling matters remaining from the previous administration.

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Seneca-Cayuga Nation Constitution and Bylaws

We, the Seneca-Cayuga Indians of Oklahoma, sometimes designated as the Seneca Tribe, in order to take the advantage of the opportunities of economic independence and social advancement offered by the Thomas Rogers Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act of June 26, 1936, do hereby amend our present Constitution and Bylaws and do adopt the following Constitution and Bylaws pursuant to that Act.

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