Seneca Nation of Indians Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy

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The annual Seneca Nation of Indians Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) is the result of the continuous planning process to guide community and economic growth in the Nation’s territories. The document lists activities and strategies to boost job creation, increase investment, improve infrastructure, and encourage economic diversification in the Nation.  The document also lists priority projects and programs, development goals and objectives, and a vision for the community. 

The Seneca Nation of Indians CEDS will be available for review and comment from June 1st to June 30th in the Nation’s Planning Department (Allegany and Cattaraugus) and the Nation’s Clerk Office (Allegany and Cattaraugus).  The public is urged to submit comments to the Planning Department by June 30th, 2014.  

Celebrating 50 Years “Seneca Women’s Right to Vote”

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We come together again to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the “Seneca Women’s Right to Vote”. This Momentous Event will be celebrated on May 29th 2014 at both Territories.

  • A Luncheon will be served at Cattaraugus CCC Gymnasium on May 29, 2014 at 11:00 am.
  • The event will be recognized by several guest speakers and acknowledgement of those involved in the Women’s Suffrage.
  • A Dinner will be served at the Allegany SAAB Grand Room on this same day at 5 pm.
  • The Allegany and Newtown Women Singers will also be honoring this day with us.

More background history and photos of the movement will be shared during the event.

The first record of Seneca Women seeking the right to vote in Nation elections occurred at the Regular Session of Council December 4, 1935 at the Allegany Court house in Jimersontown. According to Council minutes, George Patterson made a motion to consider the suffrage petition that one local newspaper claimed two-thirds of the women of the Nation had signed. The motion passed and Council appointed Adlai Williams, Jonathan Johnson, and Jonas Crouse to a committee to amend the Constitution.

It wasn’t until March of 1964 Martha Flammang presented a petition containing 162 signatures to Council. She pledged “to wage an all-out campaign” to win the vote telling Council “I have been turned down before, but turning me down is like picking me up”. The referendum vote was held on May 23, 1964. The men finally said Yes. The amendment giving Seneca Women the right to vote was approved by a vote of 169 to 99. President George Heron warned the potential all-male candidates in the upcoming November election that the women “outnumbered us and they intend to make their votes count”. The women voted in their first general election on November 3, 1964.

Please see attached flyers for more history or information for the event times and location.

Cancelled Events Due To Weather

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The following events for May 13th have been cancelled:

  • Senecas Strong Dinner
  • Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation Meeting

Please check back throughout the day for further updates.


50th Anniversary Celebration - "Seneca Women's Right to Vote"

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The referendum vote was held on May 23, 1964. The men finally said "yes" to approve the amendment giving Seneca women the right to vote. The amendment was approved by a vote of 169 to 99 and the women voted in their first general election on November 3, 1964.

We are seeking community members that interested in submitting a bid to provide traditional side dishes such as corp soup, fry bread, cake, etc.

If interested, please see the attached flyer.

Seneca Nation - First U.S. Tribe to Establish Native Plant Policy

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Allegany Territory, Salamanca, NY – The Seneca Nation of Indians has unanimously approved a policy ensuring that new landscape planting in public spaces on Seneca lands will be exclusively comprised of local indigenous species. This new policy also encourages private Seneca landholders to choose local North American flora in their planting decisions.

It has long been recognized that continued planting of non-native species poses a significant threat to ecosystems and causes harm to the environment. The current Seneca Nation Council is committed to restoring, preserving, and maintaining local indigenous plants that are significant to the culture of the Seneca people and that help to maintain the balance of nature. 

The new planting policy puts an official stamp on the Seneca Nation’s ongoing efforts to reintroduce Native species to Seneca territories. To date, over 445 native trees and shrubs have been planted and 25 different species re-introduced into the public landscape, including edible and medicinal culturally significant plants. 

Although the new policy applies exclusively to plants in public spaces, owners of private property at the Seneca Nation are highly encouraged to reintroduce Native species and to remove invasive and introduced Eurasian plants.

This policy is applauded by Dr. Jeremy Pinto, Research Plant Physiologist and Tribal Nursery Specialist with the Forest Service of the US Department of Agriculture, who states: “While it should be well-ingrained in us to preserve and promote the plants that are significant to our respective cultures, a policy like this brings the issues of cultural preservation, invasive species, sustainability, and adaptability to the forefront of everyday management practices in a good way.” 

With this new planting policy, the Seneca Nation has taken a substantial step forward in preserving Seneca culture and protecting and maintaining the Community’s ecological footprint. To learn more about the SNI Native Plant Policy or for a list of appropriate native plants visit

Stand Together Against Drug and Alcohol Abuse

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This is the first event of many for our community to stand together against drug and alcohol abuse! There will be an awareness walk from the Saylor to the CCC and back, free lunch, and a few speakers - including Sabres coach, Ted Nolan!

It will take place on March 30th.

More information can be found here.

If you have any questions please contact Monica Redeye at or 716-532-4900.

Salamanca Residents Approve Sale of Former School to Senecas

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SALAMANCA – Residents of the Salamanca Central School District on Tuesday approved selling a former elementary school and buying a piece of land.

The sale of the former Seneca Elementary School building, on Center Street, which is expected to become an educational building for the Seneca Nation of Indians, was approved by a vote of 238 to 103. The sale price is $950,000.

“The sale culminates over 15 months of productive conversation between the district and Seneca Nation to repurpose a school building no longer needed by the district and desired by the Nation to support its Early Childhood Learning Center,” Superintendent Robert J. Breidenstein said.

The building was mothballed after the 2012-13 school year, with students moved into a section of the Middle/High School at 50 Iroquois Drive. The move trimmed the district from three to two campuses. A plan is in the works to further pare that to a single campus at the Iroquois Drive facility, according to Breidenstein.

Conversations are under way about closing on the deal and transferring the property, as well as payments, Breidenstein said.

The second proposition on the ballot called for buying property at 608 Broad St., a parcel that abuts the Iroquois Drive campus, for not more than $41,000. The measure passed, 172 to 163.

Breidenstein said in previous discussions that the land would be used for green space but could be part of a larger plan for development in the future. The purchase contract does carry a rider that allows for the sale to be canceled if the environmental review does not come back favorably, he said. That review will be done once the weather breaks and the environmental testing can be completed.

The property at 6087 Broad St. is owned by Michael D. Zarzecki of Olean.

Honoring Mother Earth 5k Run/Walk

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The Seneca Diabetes Foundation will be hosting "Earth Run - Honoring Mother Earth 5k Run/Walk" on April 26th. The race will be supporting the Food Is Our Medicine Project. The 5K course is ceritfied and timing officials will be there to record your top speed. The 5k is not competitive, but awards will be given to top male and female finishers and top three for each age group.

All registrants will receive dri-performance t-shirts. Register early to ensure your size will be available on race day.

The Honoring Mother Earth 5k Run/Walk will take place april 26th from 11:00AM-1:00PM.

Don't want to run? We're also looking for volunteers to help with registration and distribute water to the participants.

Please download this application if you'd like to take part in this event, or if you'd like to just make a contribution.

Senecas to transform Pennsy Trail with state grant

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Business First 1/24/14

A New York state grant should help the Seneca Nation of Indians build a three-mile, recreational trail in Salamanca.

The New York State Department of Transportation awarded a $482,206 grant, from its Transportation Enhancement Program, to the Seneca Nation. The Seneca’s will use the funds to underwrite the cost of turning an abandoned railway corridor, called in local circles as the Pennsy Trail, in the recreational path.

The pedestrian trail will link the Seneca Nation’s Allegany Territory and Salamanca’s West End District. The city of Salamanca is located within the boundaries of the Seneca’s Allegany Territory. The trail will be widened and paved with the state grant.

In addition, he grant will also fund safety updates such as installing lighting, bollards, signage, and emergency call boxes, as well as positioning benches, cultural signage and developing native plant landscapes. The project will be headed up by the Seneca Nation in coordination with the city of Salamanca.

“The Pennsy Trail is close to the hearts of many individuals who live in and around this community,” said Seneca Nation President Barry Snyder Sr.

The Pennsy Trail was once a part of the Western New York and Pennsylvania Railroad System that operated from the 1880s to the late 20th century. This branch of the railroad is located on the Allegany Territory of the Seneca Nation of Indians and was abandoned when the Kinzua Dam was built in the 1960s.

President Snyder Featured in National Museum of American Indian

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In the interview series Meet Native America, the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian invites tribal leaders, cultural figures, and other interesting and accomplished Native individuals to introduce themselves and say a little about their lives and work. Together, their responses illustrate the diversity of the indigenous communities of the Western Hemisphere, as well as their shared concerns, and offer insights beyond what’s in the news to the ideas and experiences of Native peoples today. —Dennis Zotigh, NMAI 

You can read President Snyder's full interview with the National Museum of the American Indian here.

Seneca Nation Health Department Taking Back Unwanted Prescription Drugs October 26 At Both Seneca Nation Health Centers

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On October 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Seneca Nation Health Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public its seventh opportunity in three years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.  Bring your medications for disposal to either of the Seneca Nation Health Centers 36 Thomas Indian School Drive in Irving, NY or 987 R.C. Hoag Drive in Salamanca, NY.  The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

Last April, Americans turned in 371 tons (over 742,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at over 5,800 sites operated by the DEA and its thousands of state and local law enforcement partners.  In its six previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners took in over 2.8 million pounds-more than 1,400 tons-of pills. 

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue.  Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.  Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines-flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash-both pose potential safety and health hazards.

DEA is in the process of approving new regulations that implement the Safe and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an "ultimate user" (that is, a patient or pet or their family member or owner) of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them.  The Act also allows the Attorney General to authorize long term care facilities to dispose of their residents' controlled substances in certain instances.    


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New York State officials and the Friends of Ganondagan today broke ground on a Seneca Art & Culture Center at Ganondagan State Historic Site, fulfilling a 30-year vision to build a permanent destination dedicated to Seneca and Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) contributions to art, culture and society at the site of the 17th Century Seneca town in Ontario County. The project was made possible by $3.9 million from Governor Cuomo's economic development initiatives and contributions from the Seneca Nation, and corporate, foundation, and private funds raised by the Friends of Ganondagan.

"The Seneca Art & Culture Center will honor the proud heritage of the Seneca and Haudenosaunee people and provide the historic site with a much-needed new year-round educational, cultural, and tourism destination for visitors from around the world," said Rose Harvey, Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. "I applaud Governor Cuomo for recognizing how New York State's unique cultural and historic sites contribute to an improving economy and I thank the Friends of Ganondagan for their persistence that will add much to the region's culture and way of life."

Daniel Rundberg (Cayuga), president of the Board of Trustees for the non-profit Friends of Ganondagan, said, "We are extremely grateful for the hard work our building and capital campaign committees have put into making the Center a reality. The partnership between the Friends and the Ganondagan State Historic site is supported by hundreds of volunteers, members, and foundations. We thank them and look forward to their continued support of our plans for a robust year-round programming schedule once the center opens."

"I'm elated that, at long last, we are breaking ground for the new center," said Ganondagan Site Manager G. Peter Jemison. "Early measures of support came from both the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Seneca Nation, and for that I am truly grateful."

Designed to complement the natural landscape, the 17,300 square-foot Center will feature gallery space, a theater, auditorium, catering kitchen, gift shop and offices. The gallery space will present the story of Ganondagan with changing exhibits about the Seneca and Haudenosaunee people through five centuries of artistic, cultural, and historical artifacts.  Roll-out theater seating in the auditorium will provide flexibility for events, performances, and exhibits, including availability for community use. The center will replace the inadequate existing interpretative facility in a small building that formally was a maintenance facility.

The $11 million project includes a two-year campaign to raise $2 million in endowment to support ongoing facility operations and programming, $1.5 million of which is already contributed by some of Friends of Ganondagan's principal funders. Other major project funders include the Seneca Nation, the Rock Foundation, and the Thaw Charitable Trust. New York State has committed $3.9 million, comprised of $3 million from the Governor Cuomo's NY Works initiative and two grants totaling $900,000 awarded through the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, established by the Governor to transformative approach to State investment and economic development by putting in place a community-based, bottom up approach and establishing a competitive process for state resources.

Seneca Nation President Barry E. Snyder, Sr. said, "The Seneca Nation of Indians has a rich history. As Keepers of the Western Door, our ancestors proudly served alongside our brothers and sisters of the Iroquois Confederacy protecting the traditions and culture of our people. The Seneca Art & Culture Center symbolizes the respect we have for those who came before us and will become a place of pride for future generations. It is a very proud day for me and the people of the Seneca Nation to know our history will soon come to life for all people to experience."

Senator Ted O'Brien of Irondequoit said, "I am proud of the state's support for this fitting tribute to the long history and rich culture of the Seneca people and the other nations of the Iroquois Confederacy.  As our region's tourism economy grows, it is extremely important that we properly showcase its Native American history and ongoing traditions.  The center will enrich residents of Rochester and the Finger Lakes region culturally and educationally.  It also maintains our reputation as a place that is appreciative of its history, and respectful towards all people who created it."

State Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb of Canandaigua said, "The much-anticipated groundbreaking for the Seneca Art & Culture Center is a result of collaborative efforts and an unwavering commitment to preserving and promoting the rich history of our region.  This new and welcome addition to the Ganondagan State Historic Site will provide visitors with more information, a unique educational experience and strengthen the community's tie to a proud legacy.  I congratulate the individuals and organizations who have worked so diligently to make this vision a reality."

The Center is scheduled for a tentative 2015 opening. The center's design architect is Francois deMenil Architects of New York City and the architect of record is DeWolff Partnership Architects (Rochester, NY and Cleveland, OH). The Seneca Art & Culture Center will be built by the Rochester-based Pike Company in collaboration with the Seneca Construction Management Corporation (Irving, NY).

The center continues Governor Cuomo's commitment to strengthen tourism in Upstate New York. Governor Cuomo announced the launch of New York's largest tourism campaign in decades, committing nearly $60 million to grow the industry, create jobs and attract even more visitors to the Empire State. As the fifth largest employment sector in New York, tourism supported 714,000 jobs and generated more than $29 billion in wages in 2012. One out of every 12 jobs in New York is tourism-related. The more than 202 million international and domestic visitors that visited the Empire State last year resulted in $57 billion in direct tourism spending, and generated $7 billion in state and local taxes.

Ganondagan State Historic Site is the location of a major 17th-century Seneca town and palisaded granary. Three hundred years ago, near Ganondagan, the French led an army from Canada against the Seneca to annihilate them and eliminate them as competitors in the international fur trade. The Seneca refer to Ganondagan as the Town of Peace and revere and protect the burial site of the Mother of Nations here. It is one of 179 parks and 35 historic sites overseen by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. For more information about state parks and historic sites in New York, please visit

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