Feature President

A message from President Rickey L. Armstrong, Sr.


Our Seneca Nation Transportation Department (SNDOT) was recently awarded $866,459.00 in grant funds to construct a roundabout at the intersection of Broad Street and Iroquois Drive in Salamanca. Funding for the award is provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Tribal Transportation Program Safety Fund (TTPSF). The focus of this grant is “to improve traffic safety and improve the quality of life for tribal communities.” This Broad Street-Iroquois Drive Intersection Improvement Project supports the Seneca Nation’s overall goal of achieving the highest possible level of transportation safety for our community. Improvements aim to correct existing routing deficiencies and eliminate vehicle collisions and pedestrian safety concerns. SNDOT staff informs us that engineering and design is anticipated to begin this spring with construction scheduled to start in the early spring of 2021. In addition to this project, and since state and local agencies have maintenance obligations for many Seneca Nation roads, we have been pushing very hard to get roads repaired in Salamanca, particularly along Broad Street and Central Ave., as well as along Prospect Street in Gowanda, which services Indian Hill. Our area elected officials have been assisting us in our efforts to push for these improvements. I’d like to encourage our SNDOT staff to continue their hard work and commitment towards improving safety in our communities and want to congratulate you and our grants staff on receiving substantial funds towards completing our Broad Street-Iroquois Drive Intersection Improvement Project!

In 2016, the Cattaraugus Seneca Fish & Wildlife Department applied for and received grant funds from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services to build their own trout hatchery. The hatchery is now up and running and specifically houses brook trout, which is native to this area. Greg Lay, Director, says this is “culturally important because the brook trout was here as long as our people have been here. It’s a true native species.” The hatchery is located in a field directly behind Orchard Meadows and has five (5) holding tanks which can each hold 500 fish. I understand the hatchery is environmentally conscious and in the future, they plan to be able to breed other declining native species, like walleye and perch. Congratulations on your accomplishment and thank you for your hard work and dedication!

I’d like to send out congratulations to our Agriculture Department – Gakwi:yo:h Farms staff for receiving the Geraldine Memmo Community Service Award at the 15th Annual Seneca Diabetes Chairman’s Ball on February 1st, held at the Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino Events Center. The Geraldine Memmo Community Service Award honors someone whom demonstrates their commitment to giving back to the community. Gakwi:yo:h Farms has demonstrated that commitment from day one – by providing our Seneca white corn to any and all community members whom needed it. Since they started the farm, I know that any community member whom has been in need of white corn, tobacco, beans, bison meat or fresh produce, can find what they need at the farm. Also, the Gakwi:yo:h Farms staff is always willing to share their farming and gardening knowledge with anyone interested and willing to learn. For those reasons, I congratulate the Director and staff of Gakwi:yo:h Farms for receiving the Geraldine Memmo Community Service Award. Keep up the good work!

The Seneca Nation has long had functioning emergency medical services operating within our volunteer fire department. Recently, when we changed our name to Seneca Fire, we entered into an agreement with the New York State Department of Health to establish our own advanced emergency care service team, Seneca EMS, which provides the highest level of pre-hospital emergency care and facilitates the needs of both the Cattaraugus and Allegany territories. As part of the process to become a nation owned and operated emergency medical services team, it was necessary for us to receive a document titled, Certificate of Need, issued by the NYS DOH. This process included a very rigorous inspection of our facilities, vehicles and equipment, which was stressful and demanding on all of our SNI EMS staff. Within the emergency medical services, there are intermediate services and advanced (Paramedic) services. Under the umbrella of Seneca EMS, Cattaraugus and Allegany will both be operating at the advanced level of pre-hospital emergency care service level. Achieving the goal for an agreement between the Seneca Nation and the State of New York has been a hard won experience, and will provide even better emergency medical and ambulance services for our communities.

Rickey L. Armstrong, Sr.