Feature President

A message from President Matthew B. Pagels

Nya:wëh sgë:nö’ gagwe:goh,

I hope everyone was able to enjoy the Easter holidays and time with family and friends. I also hope many of you had the chance to enjoy the annual Community Fair in Cattaraugus.

Over the last month, the Seneca Nation continued to call out the vindictive behavior of New York State toward our people. In early April, I had an editorial published in the Buffalo News and did a series of television interviews to discuss the unnecessary and heavy-handed approach taken by Governor Hochul in her dealings with the Seneca Nation, and to make it clear that we will not back down. At the same time, our various television, radio and mobile billboards ads were running in Western New York and in Albany. And they were noticed.

Several media outlets across New York picked up on the Governor’s attempt to cripple the Seneca Nation and jeopardize the health and well-being of the Seneca people in order to announce her prized stadium deal, as well as the questions surrounding the State’s very comfortable relationship with Delaware North.

It is clear that our message is being seen and heard and that people across Indian Country are paying close attention to what is going on here.

In late April, I traveled to the National Indian Gaming Association convention in California, where I met and spoke with many representatives from other Native nations. I also participated in a panel discussion on the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and how it may not be living up to the standards for which it was established. IGRA is meant to protect Native nations and support our ability to use our gaming enterprises as a way to build our economies and create a stronger future for our people. If that is to be believed and the intended goal truly achieved, then much work needs to be done at the federal level to protect our collective interests.

Meanwhile, here at home, we have seen yet another bump in the number of COVID cases being detected local. In fact, Erie County recently reached a “high” level, according to CDC indicators. With this latest spike comes a reminder for everyone to please continue to take all precautions to protect yourself, your family and our community. If you are experiencing any COVID symptoms, please get tested. If you have COVID, please follow all safety and isolation requirements. And, if you haven’t done so yet, please make your COVID vaccination appointment.

Finally, I want to thank everyone who came out to help beautify our communities during our recent Community Clean-Up events in Allegany and Cattaraugus, including the many Nation departments who helped lead this effort. The Seneca Nation is truly the greatest community there is.

While the recent changes in weather have certainly been interesting, let’s hope that steady warmth and sunshine will soon be here so that we can all enjoy outdoor activities and all of the wonderful gifts The Creator has blessed us with.

Stay safe, stay strong. Dah ne’hoh dih ae’.
Matthew B. Pagels