Departments Elders

President Rickey L. Armstrong, Sr.'s remarks at Lenith Waterman's retirement

January 16, 2020

Good afternoon, everyone. Nya:wëh Sgë:nö’,

I’m happy that we can all be here today to celebrate the incredible career and dedicated service of our good friend, Lenith Waterman.

As you know, Len is a member of the Turtle Clan, raised here in Cattaraugus with her six sisters, her brother and her parents, Catherine Johnson Waterman and Raymond Waterman.

She started working for the Seneca Nation sometime around 1978, and has served our people in many responsible positions over the past 40+ years.

She has served two terms as Clerk, as well as working in other departments, before taking on her latest role here at the AOA. She is a proud, strong Seneca woman, a great friend and colleague, and a leader. But, Len is also a warrior.

In the early 80’s, Len was diagnosed with End Stage Renal Failure and later moved to Arizona, where she received her first successful transplant in 1987.

That couldn’t stop her.

By the early 90’s, Lenith and her family returned home to Cattaraugus, and she picked up right where she left off serving the Seneca Nation and our people.

About ten years ago, Len was again placed on the transplant list. It was a long wait and a hard fight, but Len stayed strong. As I said, she is a warrior.

Finally, after years of waiting, Len had another transplant surgery in 2015.

You might think that two transplants would be more than enough to slow someone down. Not Lenith.

In true warrior spirit, she was elected to a two-year term as Seneca Nation Clerk in November 2016, just a year after her transplant. After her term was over, she was appointed as director of the AOA, where she has continued to make a profound difference in the lives of the Seneca people. She is an inspiration to all of us, and she will be missed.

Len – thank you for your service, your friendship, and your example. On behalf of the Seneca people, I want to congratulate you on your exceptional career, and wish you nothing but continued health and happiness in your retirement.


Treasurer Pagels, Councilors Jones, Abrams, Bova, Clerk Johnson, Karen Bucktooth, Michael “Purr” Jimerson and Lenith also spoke before the luncheon.

Also in attendance Soupy, Llona, Presley, Joonie, Tim, Paul, Elliot, Terry, Marta to celebrate and bid farewell.