Feature President

A message from President Rickey L. Armstrong, Sr.


Gakwi:yo:h Farms is in their third year of operations, and the farm is thriving. In a phased approach, they expanded their agricultural operations to Allegany this year, when they planted white corn in the Sun Fish area. In addition, they have purchased a herd of cattle to support our ongoing effort for Seneca Nation to become self-sustainable. I had the honor of being at our recently revitalized ranch on Saturday, July 25th, located on Sullivan Hollow, when we received our first herd of red Angus cattle. We purchased a herd of twenty-five, which includes eleven registered cow/calf pairs (eight male/three female); one commercial cow, one free-martin yearling heifer and one sire registered red Angus. The herd was transported to the property on two large enclosed animal trailers and we could hear them mooing as they arrived. As we watched them all walk off the trailer and check out their new surroundings, it was easy to see which one was the registered sire. He’s the largest one in the bunch! Within a short time, they had already walked all around the perimeter of the pasture, eating grass and looking for water. Gakwi:yo:h Farms’ staff has been preparing the ranch for the herd’s arrival for several weeks. They will be well tended to, well-fed and well-watered. The previous owners of the cattle took one look at the property and said the herd will be very happy with us. With the global pandemic exploding at an alarming rate across the United States, there is no way to predict what might happen with the availability of food and the food supply chain. Regardless of what happens in the world, Seneca Nation’s Agriculture Department Gakwi:yo:h Farms will continue to move us closer to self-sufficiency and becoming more self-sustaining, as a nation.

As we continue to walk through these uncertain times, the topic of school re-openings are just as uncertain. I understand the range of thoughts, feelings and concerns when administrators, parents and students think about going ‘back to school’. Although there have been several strategies considered, the state is well aware that each school district has a diverse population and a variety of circumstances to prepare for. Some districts may conduct classes remotely, while some districts may conduct classes both in person and through distance learning. Each school district has been required by New York State to submit re-opening plans, which address everything from how their classes will be taught, to how they will sanitize their classrooms and maintain social distancing; and what their bus riding protocols will be. In addition, the COVID-19 accepted safety standard for all students and staff will be for them to wear masks and be tested for Coronavirus. The Seneca Nation Education Department’s staff are currently developing plans to augment our children’s education, in the event that the schools do not open fully. More information and final details on this topic will be made available in the very near future. To get the latest information, contact your education department for information. I realize going back to school during a global pandemic may take some time for our students to get adjusted, and we may never be completely comfortable with the new normal. We all know, as Onödowa’ga:’, we have great resiliency. Now, our children will show us “how it’s done”!

Please continue to be mindful that the Seneca Nation territories are still under a declared State of Emergency. I can’t emphasize enough, how important it is that we don’t let our guard down, when it comes to the Coronavirus global pandemic. While watching the news over this past week, I see that this virus continues to ravage large parts of the country. I urge that you please reconsider, if planning to travel to or receive guests from any of the reported hot spot areas. Please wear a face mask whenever you leave your house; and continue to stay at least six feet away from those that do not live in your home. We must all continue to do our part to keep ourselves and all of our community members as safe as possible.

Rickey L. Armstrong, Sr.


To read about the recent exclusion order of Cedric Cobb, who is banned from all Nation Territories, see executive order and flyer below: