Feature President

A message from President Matthew B. Pagels

Nya:wëh sgë:nö’ gagwe:göh,

There is a crispness in the air as we move into Fall. It’s time for sweatshirts, football and apple cider. The leaves should be reaching their peak of color, reminding us how fortunate we are to experience all of the seasons.

As the weather gets cooler we will be gathering in doors more often. Let’s continue to follow the CDC recommendation for social distancing, mask wearing and sanitizing our hands. These actions not only protect us from COVID they keep us safe from the flu and common cold. As people began to loosen their mandates the number of COVID cases were rising. Our recent 10-day look has 20 cases reported from Allegany health, 10 in Cattaraugus Health and 1 detected through Blue Stone testing. As you can see our numbers continue to oscillate from week to week.

Nya:wëh to everyone for continuing to fight this pandemic by practicing good judgment with the protocols. We continue to encourage eligible members to get vaccinated. Please contact the health center for an appointment or with questions regarding vaccination. I will continue to emphasis this message every article as long as we are fighting this terrible virus.

Weekly Blue Stone testing will continue for the next few weeks every Thursday from 1pm – 5pm at the fire halls in both Allegany and Cattaraugus. Remember to pre-register before arriving at the testing site. To register, visit BluestoneSafe.com or visit our Coronavirus response hub through our website at sni.org.

The Nation observed multiple significant gatherings this month. The Health Department, Native Connections and Cattaraugus Community Center sponsored the Out of the Darkness walk in recognition of suicide awareness. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among Native people ages 10-24. In our community we have members who are struggling, hurting or feel alone. Let’s lift each other up and give support to each other in any situation. Together we can get through the darkness and be that ray of hope that shines through.

Each year we reflect on one of the worse betrayals the Seneca People have endured in our history. The Kinzua removal of our ancestors, and families from their homesteads. Schools were burned and burial grounds were disrupted and moved. These acts are forever embedded in our hearts and disseminated unto our children. This is a reminder that must always defend our agreements and our sovereignty. Together we continue to grow and make our Nation stronger today and for our future generations.

Lastly, we observed Orange Shirt Day with a community healing walk sponsored by the Seneca Nation Victim Services Department and Area Office of the Aging. This is in remembrance of those who attended residential boarding schools. It’s a time to begin healing by acknowledging the trauma suffered at the hands of people who were charged with their well-being. We acknowledge the loss of language, culture and family structure and begin to understand how this trauma transcends generations. Our communities are strong and resilient and we will continue to heal through this trauma.

We feel this is the time for truth and healing. We ask the United States and other governments to formally acknowledge and apologize for their role in these schools. If we are to truly heal we must examine and investigate the role these schools have had on Native peoples, remember Every child matters.

Have a great month. Let’s stay safe, and stay strong!

Dah ne’hoh dih ae’