Seneca Nation and Dreamcatcher Foundation Host Bike Rodeo and Giveaway
The Seneca Nation partnered with Dreamcatcher Foundation to host a youth bike rodeo and safety fair at the Cattaraugus Community Center on May 25th and at the Allegany Community Center on May 26th. The Dream Catcher Foundation donated 100 youth bicycles (50 for each territory) in an effort to give back to Indigenous communities. The Seneca Nation Council Office purchased 100 helmets to go with the bikes to ensure safety. It was a great turn out with all bikes distributed to elementary-school-aged children.
The Dream Catcher Foundation was launched by professional racing cyclist Shayna Powless, Oneida, and her fiancé, professional football player for the Buffalo Bills Eli Ankou, Ojibwe. The Dream Catcher Foundation is committed to impacting the women and children of Native American communities by providing resources and advocacy for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW). Their advocacy programs are intended to bring awareness to the fight against human trafficking and violence. The foundation is also an advocate for Indigenous youth programs. The Dream Catcher Foundation is part of Athletes + Causes, an umbrella for nonprofits that is based out of Florida.
The Seneca Nation Education Department facilitated the giveaway and the Allegany Education Department donated 12 additional bikes for pre-school aged children. The Allegany Marshals set up the bike course at the ACC complete with cones, obstacles and traffic rules. Shay Smith, Allegany Marshal, guided the children through the course and instructed them on the importance of safety on the road. Likewise, the Cattaraugus Marshals created the course at the CCC and coordinated safety for that event. Seneca One Stop convenience stores donated the Chiavetta’s chicken dinners for the public. Bike enthusiast Joe Thompson was on hand for manual checks and the Skatepark Project fundraiser group was on site at the ACC with an information table and donation jar.
Regarding the events, Councillor Josh Jimerson noted that “It was genuinely nice to see the kids smile and be happy. I want to thank everyone who helped make these events a success.” Councillor Jimerson also acknowledged the generosity of Eli Ankou and Shayna Powless: “We as a community need to recognize Eli and Shayna for their efforts. They did say that they would like to continue working with the Seneca Nation in the future.”