Feature President

A message from President Matthew B. Pagels

Season’s Greetings to all!

I hope you and your families can enjoy this holiday season amidst this ever-changing landscape. This time of year, is usually spent with family celebrating and reminiscing about the year. 2020 has definitely given us much to talk about.

The Coronavirus continues to be on the forefront of most conversations with the increased numbers of confirmed cases on Territory. As you may have heard, on the recent PSA’s, the greatest threat for spreading the virus may be social gatherings. Please use good judgment throughout the season to keep our numbers low.

You can see updated information on the Nation’s response hub at the https://sni.org website. Important testing dates and locations, cumulative data and a 14 day snap shot of confirmed cases are noted. Additional contact numbers are listed should members have questions concerning the virus.

At this point information regarding the vaccine is forthcoming. We are confirmed to be receiving the Moderna vaccine; however the date and number will be determined by the Federal Indian Health Services. The roll out of availability will be relayed as soon as it is given to our Seneca Nation Health System.

The last testing dates this month will be December 21st and 28th from 3-5pm at the Cattaraugus Fire Hall and on December 22nd and 29th from 3-5pm at the Allegany DPW building. Please remember to preregister at www.bluestonesafe.com and to self-quarantine until you receive the results to be safe. Bluestone registration site will walk you through the steps for registering. This is an important step and will lower wait time in line. Increased testing not only tells us how many are positive, it helps the Department of Health with data, what are the percentages, what age groups or how do we compare to larger population etc. All of this information is important to slowing down the spread.

The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Team has provided on-site training to individuals interested in assisting with the drive through testing. We are grateful to anyone who steps up to become a paid tester, as it takes the responsibility off of our regular EMS workers. Their primary responsibility is to be available for community emergencies and mutual aid assistance. If interested in being trained contact the Emergency Management Department at 716-532-8178.

Please continue to practice all Covid-19 protocols to stay safe. As the American Hospital Associations states, “for all the things you love, wear a mask”, social distance and wash hands often. This will reduce the spread and flatten the curve.

Council and Executives have taken additional steps toward safety. The Early Childhood Learning Center and Seneca Allegany Learning Center will close to children and staff until January 4 due to an increased number of cases and room closures in the facilities. The Community Centers will also close to the public to limit gatherings and to create safer wellness areas when they reopen in the new year.

Access to WiFi at the CCC MPR will remain open and tutoring services for students will continue at both Education Departments through Christmas break. Contact your respective department for tutoring service information. I urge parents to help their children stay current with attendance and assignments as they forge through this new way of learning. It’s important to their educational success and future.

I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Seneca’s stay safe, we will get through this together!

Matthew B. Pagels

Below are some TIPS for celebrating the holiday season safely: