Feature President

A message from President Matthew B. Pagels

Gagwe:göh sgë:nö,

I’m happy you are all well! As you can see, we are flying through the months. We are almost to the halfway point in the year which means summer is quickly approaching and children will be out of school soon, enjoying the nice weather.

The month of May starts the busy season for many. On Friday, May 20th we commemorated the signing of the Buffalo Creek Treaty of 1842 at our traditional ceremony at the West Seneca Community Center due to inclement weather. The event is usually hosted at the beautiful Burchfield Nature and Art Center in West Seneca. This is near the Banks of Buffalo Creek.

This treaty is of most importance and secures our homelands. Our ancestors were steadfast as many attempts were made to relocate the Seneca people from our homelands to territory in Kansas. They preserved our territories and defended our sovereignty.

We were able to stay strong and grow our great Nation through strong leadership and governance. We shaped the very fabric of this region and became an integral part of Western New York. Challenges continue to be aimed at our success, our way of life and our very existence. We continue to fight just as our ancestors showed us to defend our land, identity and our sovereignty.

We continue to gain support across Indian country for our recent fight over our gaming compact. I just returned from presenting to the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians mid-year convention in Washington state, where we had much support for our demands for a fair compact. We will continue to seek support from other tribes as we move forward with our negotiations.

Memorial Day is also quickly approaching. Please join our Veterans at the Seneca Allegany Administration Building on Monday, May 30th to recognize the bravery of those who served and defended our freedom with their ultimate sacrifice.

I’d like to address the tragedy that occurred in Buffalo earlier this month. We witnessed a heinous event of hate and racism which left a community grieving. The Seneca Nation continues to offer our prayers for the victims and their families. We stand by as they call for immediate action by governmental officials at all levels so other cities do not have to go through such tragedy. Racism is endemic to society and change needs to happen. We will stand together with Western New York and support one another.

The Department of Interior released its initial report on the Indian Boarding school movement. The report identifies 408 schools, operating at 431 sites across 37 states under the direction or with the support of the federal government for a period of 150 years. Thomas Indian school was included in this report. We are thankful to our Congressman for their leadership and for Secretary Deb Haaland for recognizing the importance of including our schools in the report.

This report recognizes the federal governments targeted mission to culturally assimilate Native Americans, which served the broader purpose of taking land from tribes. I hope this is only the beginning of a healing path and atonement is coming.

Lastly, COVID 19 numbers continue to rise. The death toll in the United States has topped 1 million people. Please continue to follow COVID protocols, get tested when symptomatic and get vaccinated and boosted. Contact Seneca Health System for vaccinations and Seneca Fire for Bluestone testing. For more information contact 716-220-2442.

Have a happy Memorial Day and be safe!

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