I hope everyone is taking time to enjoy our nice spring weather. I heard Cattaraugus and the surrounding areas had quite a thunder and lightning show recently. I’ve noticed people are planting their gardens, walking, riding bicycles and just getting outside more. It’s good to see our communities getting back to some normal routines and soaking up the sun. Please, remember to continue to cover your face, practice social distancing and be safe.
Generally, this time of year is usually filled with graduation ceremonies and graduation picnics. Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, we are seeing some major changes in how those events will be taking place. It won’t be the same, but there will be plenty of celebrating going on, in spite of the necessary adjustments.
With the school year coming to a close, right around the corner, it’s more important than ever to encourage our school age children to continue with summer learning. It’s a proven fact that they lose information during their summer breaks. Think about it, by the time students return back to school in the fall, they will have essentially been without formal, in- person, classroom instruction for more than five months. Included in there, is the last couple of months where they were being taught virtually or remotely. Two very important skills, which may sometimes get overlooked, are reading and writing. Please encourage your children to read something every day. They could read two or three books, cover to cover, over the summer. If they do, they could even write a few paragraphs and describe for you – what the book is about. For elementary age students, there are several fun learning apps that are available to be downloaded on a cell phone or laptop or any computer, for that matter. High school age students could commit to free on-line learning courses and learn about some topics they are interested in; or take an interest in educational documentaries. There is an endless supply of information and resources available on the internet to help keep our students’ minds sharp, over the summer.
I’d like to mention that my staff has worked very hard to produce an “Elder Services Information” booklet, which has been delivered to all on-territory elders. The booklet was designed to inform our elders about services available, as we continue to operate within the parameters of the Covid-19 Pandemic. I’m sure everyone is aware, several departments have been operating with a limited staff and have not been functioning at 100%, for the past few months. The booklet is user-friendly, large print and we hope it is helpful.
On Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020, my staff delivered a new van to the Seneca Nation Buffalo Office. This had been in the plans for quite some time and I’m so glad we were finally able to acquire a van for our Seneca membership, who live in the city. Ramona Marion, the director of our Buffalo Office, was so pleased to have the van for her routine visits to check on elders and do errands for them. It’s going to be a great help to her and her staff!
Again, with profound sadness, I’d like to ask everyone to continue to keep our Allegany family and their loved ones, who have lost two matriarchs, in our thoughts. I’m sure all of our families and community members who have been battling this terrible virus can use all our good energy, positive thoughts and prayers. We will get through this!
In closing, please encourage your students to read and write, while they enjoy their anticipated summer break. Let us continue to put one foot in front of the other, behave accordingly and we’ll make our way to better days ahead. I’m very proud of how strong and resilient we are, as a people. Continue to stay strong, continue to look out for one another and continue to stand united.
Rickey L. Armstrong, Sr.