Feature President

A message from President Matthew Pagels

Nya:wëh sgë:no’,

There are many momentous events happening in 2020. Our Nation is amidst a global pandemic of which we are not immune. We have witnessed and some have participated in a heated, crucial United States election surmounting in the first women Vice President. There have also been gains in the racial divide surrounding our Territories.

The year 2020 is extremely momentous to me as I’ve been successfully elected as the President of our great Seneca Nation. I am incredibly grateful for the support I received during our recent election, and grateful for the opportunity to lead the Seneca Nation as our next President. Knowing that you have placed your trust in me is truly humbling. I will work every day to honor and repay that trust.

From defending our sovereignty, expanding our economy and making our communities safer, healthier and stronger, the challenges ahead of us can only be overcome with leadership, unity and strength.

We are strong, sovereign people who have persevered through generations of challenges. We are stronger than ever, and stronger together. My vision is for a Seneca Nation that remains economically resilient, socially diverse and culturally protected.

Sovereignty is central to who we are and everything we do as a Nation. As your President, I will work with our Council to vigorously exercise our sovereignty and our Nation’s interests in our dealings with all outside governments.

Gaming matters are certainly paramount, especially as the expiration of the gaming Compact looms. By 2023 we are going to aggressively pursue a Compact renewal that sufficiently protects the long-term strength of our gaming enterprises. We cannot leave this to chance.

Along with fostering economic growth in gaming and beyond, we will preserve our annuity payments, maintain our Elders benefits and programs, and sustain a strong and healthy Minors Trust Fund. Transparency and a full and thorough understanding of these benefits are my priority. These are important investments on behalf of our people, and I will always keep them – and you – at the forefront of everything I do as your President.

At home, our territories provide the bedrock of our Seneca community. We want to see them continue to flourish. From quality housing and healthcare services, education and employment opportunities to broadband access and public safety, we want our territories to be a place where all generations of Senecas can thrive.

Having a strong community and safe neighborhoods requires an undistracted focus on quality of life. Crime cannot jeopardize our livelihood. The presence and proliferation of drug activity on our territories demands a strong and clear response. We are going to work harder than ever to strengthen our partnerships with law enforcement and rid our territories of the people and behavior that only make us weaker and more vulnerable.

We are all stewards of our culture and language. By being our best as individuals, learners and participants we can allow our culture and heritage to shine forth as a guiding light for all who come after us.

It’s a long, often treacherous road, but I am going to spend the next two years working tirelessly to forge my path to a stronger Seneca Nation for our people, our families and our future generations.

Matt Pagels
SNI President