I am pleased to report that I am well, and my family is well. That is not to say that we are not without worry and concern about the ever-evolving COVID-19. My administration has been working diligently to create ways to keep our members informed. Cattaraugus Territory, in particular, is plagued with limited internet access, making it extremely difficult to relay messages at a moments notice. As you recall, we were recently awarded a grant to extend and improve the internet quality in that area to be equal to that in the nearby suburban areas. Rest assured, it continues to be on the top of our priority list. In the meantime, we will continue to pursue methods that existed before the existence of the internet. We have produced mailers, press releases in print and on television, sent reliable written messages via AOA and the Marshals. The circumstances limit our capability of connecting in person which is something that our culture is based upon. I appreciate the patience and constructive suggestion of our members.
Our own Seneca Media and Communications Center (SMCC) has received notification that a movie they produced has been selected for the International New York Film Festival. A virtual film festival will take place in 2020 with a screening taking place at Times Square in 2021. SMCC writes, “Denying Access: NoDAPL to NoNAPL is a gripping 90-minute documentary chronicling the Water Protectors at Standing Rock…This Indigenous-led movement brought together people from around the world in an unprecedented call for the recognition of Indigenous rights and an end to an environmentally destructive fossil fuel industry. Many Senecas went to “stand with Standing Rock” against DAPL and came home to find a fracked gas pipeline, NAPL, being planned just upstream from our territories.”
Miya Scanlan 16, wolf clan of the Cattaraugus Territory, was recently featured in NDNSPORTS.com, in an article, “Miya Scanlan (Seneca): Lacrosse Doesn’t Stop During The Pandemic For The Scanlan Family”. A junior at Gowanda Central Highschool, Miya is a three-sport athlete and excels in all of these sports. Her determination, commitment, and family support have enabled her to exceed personal goals, notably being selected to the First Team All-Star for all three sports. The advantage of a family with 12 children is the continual practice, drills, and family coaching in lacrosse to perfect the skills. “The game is spiritual and derived from our blood, our ancestors”, Miya stated. Jagoh to Miya and the entire Scanlan family, your commitment is admirable. (Miya is the daughter of Charlie and Jodi Scanlan).
On April 11, 2020, The Seneca Nation Council approved an amended Hemp Ordinance. The ordinance covers the production of hemp which encompasses the growing, handling, storing and marketing of hemp in which it relates to production. Industrial hemp is non-intoxicating because it contains less than 0.3% THC (the psychoactive ingredient) by dry weight. This crop is an exciting frontier for the Seneca Nation. The entire plant; the flower, seed, leaf, stalk, and root has many uses which makes hemp an optimal industrial choice. The uses of hemp are vast. The seeds can be used not only to replant, but as a nutritional fiber, the stalks for textiles and biofuel, the leaves for paper, the roots as a bio-accumulator (sucks toxins from the soil and cleans it) and the flower, stalk, stems, and leaves produce CBD oil. With the aid of Jessica Crouse, Seneca Nation Hemp Compliance Administrator who holds a Master of Food and Agriculture Law and Policy from Vermont Law School, I am confident that the Seneca Nation will become a premier producer in the hemp arena.
In closing, I look forward to the warm weather. The month of May will soon be upon us with everything in nature beginning to re-emerge, right on time, as it is meant to be.
Be well, be strong,
Rickey L. Armstrong, Sr.