Treasurer’s Message


I hope everyone had the opportunity to stop by the H.E.R.O. Committee’s first in-person event in over two years: Gwa’yö:’ Spring Event, held at the ACC on April 14th. There was an egg hunt, a Gwa’yö:’, food, treats and several activities and prize giveaways. Also, even though winter keeps trying to hang on, this is the time for spring cleaning. Get rid of old furniture and clutter; and participate in the Large Item Drop-off events in Allegany, Cattaraugus and Steamburg from April 25th – 29th, 2022, 7am-6pm.

In recent weeks, a spotlight has been shined on the troubled relationship between the Seneca Nation and the New York State government, concerning our gaming enterprises and how we will move forward with negotiations for a new and equitable compact for all involved. Governor Hochul and her staff resorted to some underhanded tactics, such as telling us they were doing one thing; then in the same breath, so to speak, doing the opposite. Rather than focusing her assault on the secured escrow account which held more than enough funds to cover what had been determined to be owed to New York State, she chose to freeze all of our governmental operating accounts. In doing so, our operating capabilities were shut down, including our clinics, casinos and retail. I thought it would be good to share with our readers, the variety of ways in which our gaming enterprises benefit not only our own membership and communities, but our surrounding neighbors, as well. Our enrolled members receive domestic services ranging from monthly quality of life benefits and elder benefits to healthcare; as well as education assistance and many community-wide services and multiple giveaways – all supported by six gaming enterprises, five convenience stores, our campground, museum and other nation-owned business entities (both public and private). The overall impact of the Seneca Nation government and its business enterprises within the region:

  • Employs over 5,800 employees, nearly 5,500 of which reside in Western New York;
  • Pay total compensation and benefits of $262 million; [note: median annual wage for employees of the Seneca Nation and its enterprises exceeds the median earnings for Western New York counties]
  • Generate over $1 Billion of New York’s gross state product, including more than 9,400 jobs and $172.8 million in income, sales, excise, social insurance, and other taxes for New York State; and
  • Purchase, on yearly average $362 million of goods and services from over 6,500 vendors, $107 million of which is from over 3,700 vendors in Western New York

So, while New York State Governor Hochul was willing to attack our bank accounts, she was putting not only the Seneca Nation economy in jeopardy, she was also willing to risk all of the benefits the state receives from our successful business enterprises. Moving forward, we will meet the state at the table for new compact discussions, fortify our support from around the region and continue to look to the future.

I am glad to report that our monthly annuity benefit was adjusted by Council Resolution at the April 9th Council Meeting, from $500.00 per month, to $600.00 per month for each enrolled Seneca member. For the time being, all financial forecasts show that this level is sustainable for the remainder of 2022. This increase becomes effective with the April 27th disbursement. In addition, Council approved another American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) appropriation to be distributed on June 1st, 2022. Each enrolled Seneca member will receive funds in an effort to supplement costs associated with safeguarding against COVID and as a supplement for personal funds spent on masks and disinfectants.

For those fifty years old and over interested in receiving a second COVID-19 booster shot (fourth injection), they are now available at both of our health centers. For Allegany, call Teri Cowles at (716) 945-5894 and for Cattaraugus, call Kim Bradley at (716) 532-5582. Please remember to continue checking on the elders in our community to see if they need anything or help with their spring cleaning.

Rickey L. Armstrong, Sr.