This has always been a favorite time of the year for me. Deer hunting season with a bow or muzzleloader are in full swing for our part of the country. I’ve been hearing about some of our guys bagging some eight and ten point bucks, recently. Also, this is the time of year we all take the time to gather with friends and family and socialize. I’m very thankful for the reprieve from COVID-19.
As I’m sure most of our membership is aware, the Nation is currently engaged in the process of negotiating the Nation-State Gaming Compact with New York State. At present, we have had nine meetings with the state. We are utilizing the services of Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker, LLP, to assist in this process. Hobbs Straus has experience representing Native Nations in compact negotiations all across the country, including representing the Seminole Tribe of Florida on their recent compact negotiation process. The Nation’s current gaming compact expires December 9, 2023, and the Nation looks forward to entering into a new compact agreement that is fair, equitable, and better recognizes the significant positive impact the Nation’s operations have had on the surrounding communities. The Nation will bring a draft agreement back before the Seneca people, for review, prior to the final version being sent for consideration.
I understand the public meetings for the Law Enforcement Referendum have been postponed until January 2023. Given the importance of this issue, Council decided to delay the public meetings until after the holiday season to ensure greater public attendance and participation. In 2023, the Nation will be holding four, or more, public meetings to obtain community input on the proposed referendum questions and process. Currently, there is no referendum question and there is no pre-determined solution. We are looking to our membership to advise the Council on a direction to take. The public safety of our communities is vital and must be addressed. I have confidence, with input solicited from our membership, we will develop effective and practical solutions. Any interested Seneca may request further information on the Law Enforcement Commission via email at: LawEnforcement@sni.org or by calling your respective Clerk’s Office.
If you have driven around in the city of Salamanca in the past few years, it’s easy to notice that there are several dilapidated houses which appear to have been abandoned. The Seneca Nation recently received a list of approximately thirty-five houses which must be addressed – due to their hazardous conditions. I currently have a staff person working with our Leasing Office to work through the process to see what we can do remedy this situation. In some cases, squatters have broken into these homes and taken up residence; in other cases, the owners have passed on and they may or may not have left a living Seneca heir. Whatever the circumstances are, we are working through our established processes with our Leasing Office and our judicial system; and will update the community as we progress.
Those that did not attend the 2022 Elder’s Holiday Party on Wednesday, December 14th, 2022, at the Seneca Allegany Casino Event Center, missed a good one! True to form, there was plenty of door prizes, cash giveaways, holiday music, good food and socializing. The Santa “Ho-ho-ho!” contest was great entertainment. I am very thankful we can once again gather and enjoy each other’s company! May your holidays be filled with lots of family time and good friends!
Rickey L. Armstrong, Sr.