Feature President

A message from President Rickey L. Armstrong, Sr.


Well, old man winter finally paid us a visit. I hope our community members didn’t face too much of a hardship as the weather system moved through. The most recent information I have read is that the snowstorm Elliott death toll had risen to sixty-nine people who lost their lives, in thirteen states, as the direct result of the storm. One news report stated that it was like “a winter hurricane landed over Buffalo and simply stood still for several hours”. It’s been common practice for us to compare winter storms to the “Blizzard of 77”, but not anymore.

As I reported at the December council meeting, we are committed to improving the Seneca Nation Health System. We recently appointed two Seneca health professionals, Marilyn Anderson, and Rae Jones, as consultants to review and assess our health system operations and organizational structure. Both are highly accomplished in the indigenous health field, and we are confident we will all benefit from their combined public health expertise and anticipated recommendations going forward.

In addition, Shaela Maybee (pictured left) has been re-assigned as the Chief Executive Officer/Health Director. She earned her master’s degree in Health Services Administration from D’Youville University. Shaela has worked for the Seneca Nation Health System for the past ten years, on both Allegany and Cattaraugus territories. In her career with the Seneca Nation Health System, she has held positions as Pharmacy Technician, Health Planner, Community Health Supervisor and Chief Operating Officer. She has managed several projects including health policy development, community health assessments, workplace health, perinatal health education, breastfeeding initiatives, employee relations, as well as public relations and communications. Shaela enjoys working in the health field for our communities and her goal is to grow and improve our existing health system to be the preferred healthcare provider of choice. She is a champion of our health system staff as she believes it’s the people who make our health system great! Shaela is turtle clan and has been a lifelong resident of the Pinewoods Community on the Cattaraugus Territory, where she lives with her husband, John and their five-year old son, Rainier.

I know the temperatures have warmed up, but during frigid temperature dips, we should all be taking special care of our outdoor pets. If we have taken on the responsibility to own an outside dog or cat, we also carry the responsibility to provide them with shelter during the winter. Please do not leave your pets outside during freezing temperatures, to fend for themselves – without anywhere to get out of the cold. Please do the responsible thing and provide them with a shed or some other structure, so they don’t freeze to death. Just don’t bring them to my house.

Rickey L. Armstrong, Sr.