For updates on the SNI response to Covid-19, click here to visit the Seneca Nation Coronavirus Response Hub.

To receive important updates via phone & text, click here and learn about the Regroup Messaging System.

As cases of COVID-19 increase in our area, remember that you or someone you encounter may have the virus and not know it or display symptoms. There are many ways to prevent infection and stop the spread. Whether you feel healthy or not- stay home, wash your hands often, and avoid close contact with people outside of your household (stay 6 feet apart).

If you experience symptoms of COVID-19 including fever, dry cough, or shortness of breath, or have any concerns about your health, call your primary care provider to be assessed. Patients of the Lionel R. John Health Center can call (716) 945-5894 and patients of the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation Health Center can call (716) 532-5582.

Winter Weather Advisory - Alert

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This is an important message from NY Alert: A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued beginning for Western New York by National Weather Service - Buffalo

The WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY will be IN EFFECT , FROM MIDNIGHT April 20, 2021 TO 2 PM April 21, 2021, WEDNESDAY... Snow expected… with total snow accumulations of 3 to 6 inches in higher elevations. Snow accumulations will be lower along the immediate lakeshores.

Areas of concern are: Niagara, Orleans, Erie, Genesee, Wyoming, Chautauqua, and Cattaraugus counties.

These hazardous conditions will impact the Wednesday morning commute with slippery road conditions. Slow down and use caution while driving. This will be a heavy, wet snow event, and will result in snow covered roads and limited visibilities. Periods of heavy wet snow may result in isolated power outages and downed tree limbs.

Weather watchers can submit snow reports through our website or social media.

Issued By: NWS Buffalo (Western New York

Presidential Update 4/16/21

Posted in: News & Announcements

President Pagels speaks on increased vaccination outreach to eligible 16 and 17 year olds and neighboring communities. He also encourages community members to submit content for the upcoming special newsletter issue on the drug epidemic and take part in the climate change survey. He closes with updates about fiber optic broadband and registration for the Seneca Gaming Corporation quarterly stakeholder meeting.

Presidential Update 4/9/21

Posted in: News & Announcements

Council Co-Chair Tina Abrams, standing in for President Pagels, offers condolences for the passing of his mother, Kim Pagels. Councilor Abrams offers important updates about increased positive cases of COVID-19, extension of weekly testing events, and vaccination availability. She acknowledges the efforts for Community Fair Week and the cleanups on both territories, as well as providing reminders about wifi and broadband for the Cattaraugus Territory and April’s regular Council session.

Seneca Nation Climate Change Survey

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What is climate change? Climate has always changed over the ages of Mother Earth but during our time it’s noticeably different. The way we go about our daily lives is causing this change. Not only are we experiencing a rise in global temperature but it’s increasing at a faster rate than first predicted.

So, let’s break it down. National Geographic states that “Climate is the pattern of the weather conditions over a long period of time for a large area.” That measurement period has typically been 30 years according to the World Meteorological Organization. Climate has always gone through periods of change. There’s been seven ice ages and warming trends over the past 650,000 years. In terms of weather, it’s essentially what we see and experience on a daily basis like rain, snow and sun.

How does it work? When you look up in the sky all that is seen is the blue hue, stars or clouds. What you don’t see is the natural atmosphere which blankets the Earth. It contains gases which trap some of the sun’s heat making it warm enough for us to live on, which is a normal process. What’s causing the imbalance is the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) gas released into the air over the past few hundred years. The excess CO2 gas produced over time comes from human activity (cars, factories, buildings, homes) and is the leading cause of increased gas emissions. The increased amount of gas is trapping the sun’s heat causing Earth’s temperature to rise, which is global warming.

What are some effects? As a planet we are experiencing effects from a changing climate. In the US we see headlines about flooding, fires, drought, extreme weather, and more. Some Alaskan communities have permanently lost their homes and land due to flooding from melting glacial ice and permafrost. In addition to disruptive changes and losses, there will be species on the Earth that will benefit from warming temperatures. However not all are beneficial to human existence, like disease-carrying mosquitoes and ticks. The habitat range for sugar maple is expected to be negatively impacted in the coming years, as well as the conditions for good sap production, due to climate change.

How are we dealing with it? The Nation formed a Climate Change Task Force in October 2020 which is discussing ways to address this issue. At this point, the Task Force has 22 participants generating collective work and expertise shared by department personnel and community members. Our goal is to create a Seneca Nation Adaptation Plan that outlines strategies and approaches to address potential impacts from our changing climate. The first step is coordinating our efforts around outreach and collecting data. You can help by completing our survey that will be released shortly. We know surveys aren’t always popular, but you are the key to a successful plan, so we want to hear from you! Following the survey, our next step is to begin gathering relevant local and regional data, reach out to target groups, assess what our vulnerabilities and risks might be, and plan accordingly.

The climate change survey is available here. Current results of the survey are below.

Seneca Nation of Indians Puts Village of Portville on Notice for Violating Terms of Clean Water Act

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ALLEGANY/CATTARAUGUS TERRITORIES, N.Y. – The Seneca Nation has notified the Village of Portville, New York of its intent to take legal action following the Village’s failure to abate persistent discharges of pollutants that are negatively impacting the Ohi:yo’ (Allegheny River), which runs through the Nation’s Allegany Territory.

The Nation sent a notice of intent to initiate civil action against the Village pursuant to Section 301 of the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. § 1311(a) for discharging solids and fecal coliform, among other things, in excess of the legal limits on a regular and continuing basis from January 2015 through April 6, 2021.

As Keepers of the Western Door and historic stewards of the environment, the Nation has been both greatly dismayed and significantly harmed by Portville’s flagrant disregard for both the letter of the law and the health and wellbeing of its downstream neighbors.

“Clean, safe water is a basic human right,” said Seneca Nation President Matthew Pagels. “The Seneca people have a longstanding tradition of fishing, hunting, gathering, swimming, or simply relaxing in and around the Ohi:yo’. Polluting the waters that pass through our land is nothing short of an insult to our Nation and something for which we will not stand. Ohi:yo’ in Seneca means ‘beautiful’ or ‘good’ and we intend to make sure that description is accurate.”

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the excessive discharges from the Village of Portville Water Treatment Plant into Dodge Creek, a tributary of the Ohi:yo’, have violated the terms of its state discharge permit for more than five years. The Seneca Nation intends to sue for all Clean Water Act violations and is seeking civil penalties for any additional violations discovered in the future – including during the course of litigation - as well as any that might occur subsequent to this notice.

In addition, the Nation will seek an injunction in an effort to halt the continued illegal discharges, as well as costs, attorney and expert witness fees, and any other additional relief that the court might determine to be appropriate.

“Due to the persistent nature of these violations, it is likely ongoing violations will occur if no legal action is taken,” said Pagels. “To date, neither the state nor federal governments has taken action to right this egregious wrong.”

“As such, the Seneca Nation has taken matters into its own hands and is doubling down on its efforts to protect and restore its waterways for generations to come,” the President continued. “Other communities both up and downstream of our Territories should take heed. The Nation plans to use every tool at its disposal to safeguard this precious resource; our very lives depend on it.”

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