I hope everyone is enjoying this beautiful weather we are having. Even the rain is good and serving a purpose! I’ve noticed some very nice gardens on both territories. The white corn is getting taller, bean plants are starting to climb and the tomato plants are filling out. Since it has been Cattaraugus month, I’ve also noticed some strawberries for sale; and our own Gakwi:yo:h Farms has given some away to the community. Time for strawberry shortcake and strawberry juice!
On April 11th, 2020, an Executive Order: Stay At Home Order, was released for all of our territories. In that order, our parks and playgrounds were closed to the public. I’m glad to report that, effective June 18th, 2020, our parks and playgrounds were once again re-opened. As we are still dealing with a global pandemic, it’s very important to continue to practice social distancing protocols and maintain a six-foot distance from folks whom do not reside in your household.
Recently, there was another discharge of untreated sewage released into Thatcher Brook, which flows into the Cattaraugus Creek, affecting our Cattaraugus Territory. We have requested an official report to indicate the cause(s) of these accidental discharge events and an assurance that they will find a resolution to avoid further incidents of this type. Rest assured that the Nation is in contact with Gowanda’s Mayor Smith and we are working towards a mutually agreeable solution to this recurring problem, which must include strengthening our lines of communication. The Seneca Nation has always prided ourselves in being good neighbors and we expect the same from our neighbors.
On Wednesday, June 17th, 2020, our Seneca Gaming and Entertainment game rooms opened their doors with a soft opening for our Seneca members. Although there may have been a few technical glitches, it sounds like it was a successful exercise to prepare for our official re-opening on Thursday, June 18th, 2020. In addition to our game rooms re-opening, the Seneca Niagara Casino, in Niagara Falls, also re-opened to the general public. Since we are not operating our game rooms or Seneca Niagara Casino at 100% capacity, we will carefully monitor each property and increase our capacity over time. We must continue to be cautious and mindful of the continued global pandemic and all of the health and safety issues it has created. I’m confident, with our phased, measured and systematic approach, we will get back to 100% operation capacity in the coming days, weeks and months.
I’m sure by now, everyone in our communities has heard that we lost yet another matriarch from our Allegany community, Cindy Mohr, whom had been battling with the Coronavirus. We should all keep any of our families, whom have lost loved ones to the Coronavirus, in our thoughts.
I know these are difficult times we are living in right now. If each one of us can continue to wear a face mask when in public, keep scrubbing our hands and maintain a safe, six-feet of distance from all those whom don’t live in our household, we will get on the other side of this viral pandemic and our lives will be restored to what will become our new normal. Please continue to look out for each other and lend a helping hand when you can.
Rickey L. Armstrong, Sr.