Feature President

A message from President Matthew B. Pagels

Nya:wëh sgë:nö’ gagwe:göh,

I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother’s Day. We should honor the contribution of mothers everyday as the protectors and guardians of our future. We appreciate and respect everything you do for our children.

This month I’d like to acknowledge May 5th as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The Crime Victim Services program coordinated many events to bring awareness to these crimes. Staggering statistics of missing/murdered mothers, daughters, sisters across the United States sparked the enactment of this day of recognition. In fact, Native American Women are more than twice as likely to experience violence than any other demographic. Please keep families who have lost loved ones in your thoughts and prayers.

The Nation recently notified the City of Olean of our intent to take legal action for the repeated discharges from the City’s wastewater treatment plant into the Ohi:yo’. This waterway is a very precious resource to our Nation. It is part of our heritage and we will not allow anyone to be at risk. Many families spend time in and around the river throughout the summer. We must protect this important resource and ask our neighbors to be more mindful of this situation and take-action to correct this issue.

If this isn’t rectified we may need to pursue legal action under the Clean Water Act, as having safe and clean water is a basic human right. Everyone along the Ohi:yo’ deserves to be protected.

I had hoped we could start limiting our COVID conversation, but as you may know we are seeing an increase in COVID numbers around our communities. There were 33 active cases as of May 5th within our health centers. The new variant is more contagious as the previous OMICRON strain. Please continue to practice COVID protocol and get tested if you experience symptoms. If you test positive for the virus please follow the public health recommendations for isolating and masking to help reduce the spread.

Test appointments are still available to enrolled Seneca members through Blue Stone – Monday through Friday between 9:00-3:00 pm at Seneca Fire Station #1 by appointment in Cattaraugus and at Seneca Fire Station East Loop Rd in Allegany. To make an appointment call 716-220-2440. Photo ID is required and do not eat, drink or smoke for at least 1 hour prior to testing. Contact Mike Gates, Emergency Management Director for specific questions at 716-244-0820 or at mike.gates@sni.org.

Also, COVID vaccines and boosters are still available through Seneca Health System for all eligible individuals and age groups. Please contact Cattaraugus health at 716-532-5582 and LR John at 716-945-5894 for appointments. Please continue to take all precautions to help stifle this disease.

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