COVID-19 Feature

Seneca Nation community distributions

By Tami Watt, Editor

In an effort to curb the spread of infection from COVID-19, the Seneca Nation has distributed personal protective equipment and supplies not only to Seneca Nation employees and members but to residents on our respective territories.

On April 23rd, President Armstrong, Treasurer Pagels, and CEO Mark Halftown handed out medical grade masks to Seneca Nation Health System employees. Providing medical grade protective gear to our Seneca Nation Health System staff is imperative to ensure safety to all workers and patients.

Days prior, masks were delivered to all elders residing on Seneca Nation Territories on behalf of the Seneca Nation Health System with the help of Sharon Ray (Director of Transportation) and Gerri Jimerson (GIS).

Allegany and Cattaraugus residents were given face masks in a drive up event held at both community centers on April 24th. A limited number of dental care packages for adults and children were provided from the Dental Unit as well as denture care supplies as requested by elders.

The Seneca Construction Management Corporation and Seven Generations in conjunction with Seneca Nation Housing Authority (SNHA) donated Chiavetta’s chicken dinners to residents at elder housing including 44 Seneca on April 30th and Oak Tree Apartments on May 1st. The SNHA has hosted weekly dinners and mask distributions at both complexes on each territory for residents.

On May 8th, a mass distribution of personal protective equipment and non-perishable food items was held on each territory. SNHA staff delivered to all SNHA tenants on both territories including elder complexes, rentals, and homeowners in the morning. Seneca Nation Executives hosted a drive-thru distribution for the rest of the community in the afternoon.

Over 400 care packages were given out on each territory according to Sunnea John, SNHA staff. John was pleased with the success of event and the reaction of the recipients. “Everyone was grateful and thankful for the supplies provided, some of which are hard to get,” said John.

Some items included in the package for personal protective equipment were masks, hand sanitizers, gloves, and cleaning supplies.

“I’m very thankful! I want to say “Nya:wëh” to the Seneca Nation. I know my family and I have been having a hard time getting hand sanitizer and gloves, especially. Having the masks will be beneficial for all of us and the community out here really appreciates everything that everyone is doing,” said Barbara Hill, Seneca member and mother of four.

The Seneca Nation has continued to provide masks to residents on territory. Another mask and hand sanitizer hand out took place on May 13th at the community centers on each territory for residents.

All recipients are kindly requested to stay in their vehicles during the drive-thru events.

To keep up to date on any future community hand outs, please check, the Seneca Media Facebook page, the Seneca Nation Coronavirus Response Hub, or

Stay healthy, stay safe. #SenecasStaySafe