Feature President

A message from President Rickey L. Armstrong, Sr.


On Thursday, January 9th, I had the honor of receiving the Cornplanter Pipe Tomahawk, from the New York State Museum, at the repatriation ceremony, which took place at the Onösagwë:de’ Cultural Center, on the Allegany Territory. As Joe Stahlman, Director of Seneca-Iroquois National Museum, shared, during Colonial times, the tomahawk was the most feared weapon and symbol of “Indian savagery”; but, pipe tomahawks reshaped and repurposed the weapon into a sign of both war and peace. The Cornplanter Pipe Tomahawk was gifted to Cornplanter from George Washington in 1792, to acknowledge our role in establishing lasting peace with the Haudenosaunee, which was the famous Canandaigua Treaty. As Joe pointed out, historians like to tell us this treaty meant the young American government recognized our sovereignty. More importantly, the Canandaigua Treaty means the Iroquois Confederacy recognized American sovereignty as well. Knowing this, made the repatriation ceremony all the more meaningful, historical and powerful. To learn more about the history behind the Cornplanter Pipe Tomahawk, please visit our Onöhsagwe:de’ Cultural Center, where it will be on permanent display.

The Allegany Seneca One Stop has expanded their operation to include the Seneca One Stop Café. The additional space includes the café, a small office, dine-in space and a new restroom. They invited my staff and I over for lunch, recently. Their menu consists of burgers, wings, subs, pizza, salads and daily specials. The food is delicious and the prices are very economical. The café will be open 6am to 10pm, seven days per week. They’re planning for a February 3rd grand opening. If you are in the area and looking for good food at a good value, I recommend you stop in.

Lenith Waterman, Director of our Area Office on Aging and two-term Seneca Nation Clerk, retired recently. Even though Lenith had some medical and physical challenges in her life, she managed to have a career working for the Seneca Nation, which spanned more than forty years. She has always been a proud, strong Seneca woman, leader and great friend and colleague. More than that, she’s a true warrior. Congratulations Len, on your exceptional career and I wish you continued good health and happiness in your retirement.

The Allegany Community Meeting was held on January 23rd, from 2pm to 5pm, in the Allegany Council Chambers. This was a joint effort, which included Seneca Nation Executives, Council, Department Directors and all interested Seneca community members. The idea for the meeting was to provide a forum where our members could discuss any needs and/or concerns they have. The department directors were on hand to answer questions or offer solutions, pertaining to items within their specific departments. I was glad to see the participation from the community, to hear new ideas and to explore various solutions. A few of the topics which were brought out included: education, log cutting, drones, accepting responsibility, traffic issues, helping one another, drug dealers, and protecting the environment. There was good dialogue and the meeting went well. I am confident solutions will be forthcoming. Thank you to our government officials and department directors for making themselves available to engage with our community members.

On a personal note, on the 24th, I was paid a surprise visit by the four year old Pre-K students from Seneca Arts and Learning Center. They stopped by to wish me a Happy Birthday and sing to me – in our language. It was quite the honor and I was very happy to see them.

Rickey L. Armstrong, Sr.