Allegany Territory (Salamanca, NY) – The Seneca Nation of Indians announced today that it has reached an agreement with the New York State Thruway Authority regarding long-needed repairs on the portion of the New York State Thruway that crosses the Nation’s Cattaraugus Territory.
“After multiple requests, the Seneca Nation was finally able to engage the New York State Thruway Authority in direct communication over the last several days regarding the deplorable condition of this stretch of Thruway,” said President Rickey Armstrong, Sr. “That direct communication resulted in a cooperative agreement, so that this work can finally begin.”
Today’s agreement follows a flurry of communication initiated over the past two weeks. The Nation’s Transportation Department sent a request to NYSTA Commissioner Matt Driscoll on September 12 to discuss the needed repairs. A second request was sent on September 17, after which the Nation received and reviewed information from NYSTA regarding its plans for making the repairs. The details of the final agreement were finalized between the two parties between late last week and today.
Thousands of motorists from across New York and beyond travel the approximately three-mile stretch of Thruway located on the Cattaraugus Territory every day. The highway is also an important route for commercial traffic.
“Motorists on our territories, whether Seneca or non-Seneca, New Yorkers or travelers from other areas, deserve the same safety and consideration as those who travel the rest of the New York State Thruway,” President Armstrong said. “New York State, not the Seneca Nation, receives toll revenue from everyone who travels this state roadway across our territory. The Seneca Nation wants to see these repairs completed. The Thruway Authority has indicated an aggressive work schedule for completing the first phase of repairs over the next several weeks. The Nation’s Transportation Department will coordinate with the Thruway Authority to make sure that happens.”
The agreement outlines two phases of work. The initial phase, which is expected to begin within the next few days, involves repairing the most dangerous sections of the Thruway. Phase 2, which should take no longer than ten weeks, involves a more thorough milling and paving project. The Nation and the Thruway Authority are working to complete all of the work before winter, but may have to schedule Phase 2 in the Spring of 2020, depending on weather conditions and the availability of asphalt to complete the project.
In addition to the long-overdue Thruway repairs, the Nation is urging New York State to address other glaring transportation issues related to state roadways on Nation land, including poor road conditions in Salamanca.
“When the State engages the Nation in direct, respectful dialogue, we can make progress on issues of mutual interest, just as we have today and on other past projects,” President Armstrong added. “Now that we have come to an agreement on the Thruway, I hope the State will show the same urgency in prioritizing and addressing the poor condition of other state roadways that impact people’s daily lives. The safety of these roads and the people who travel them deserve the State’s attention, even if the roads don’t generate toll money for the State’s coffers.”
Take a look at what's happening down at Seneca Nation Gakwi:yo:h Farms. Come visit the market, volunteer, or see how you can help support the program!
Seneca Nation Conservation - Fish & Wildlife recently released a young bald eagle along the Cattaraugus Creek after it was successfully rehabilitated at the Messinger Woods Wildlife Care and Education Center in Holland, NY.
A look inside the Allegany Men's Ceremonial Program, which works to maintain Seneca longhouse cultural traditions through language, songs, craftwork, and more.
Throughout the summer, the Seneca Nation Conservation - Fish & Wildlife Department did presentations for the SEARCH program in the Cattaraugus Territory. The presentations were to help the youth get a better understanding of the environment and how it's connected to our culture.
Week 5 of the Iroquois Sachem Challenge. 11 participants made it to the final challenge and learned valuable leadership and survival skills. Ja:goh to all those who completed the challenge and graduated, as well as Ron Cook Jr. and crew for putting forth this amazing program!
The mission of the Allegany Language Department, Ögwaiwanösde’ Ögwawënö’—we cherish our language, is to promote conversational Seneca language use at the Seneca Nation. To increase the use of the Seneca language throughout the Nation, the department works with fluent/highly proficient speakers to train apprentices for long-term, professional positions, as conversational Seneca language teachers for early childhood, community, departmental, school-district, and/or college level Seneca language and culture classes. Apprentices shall train to work as revitalization, documentation, translation, and resource development specialists. In addition to training language professionals, the department houses a Digital Seneca Language Specialist to assist in the development of web-based learning/teaching tools, hands-on instructional materials, and the audio-visual content required by Seneca language learners and teachers both on and off-territory. Find out more at senecalanguage.com.
Featured highlights of the Iroquois Sachem Challenge at Walnut Grove Farm practicing archery and running an obstacle course. This program is designed to assist community teenagers to make a transition from adolescent behaviors to learning the roles and responsibilities of becoming a productive young adult during the summer months.
Once again the smoke dance competition at the Nya:wëh Indian Village at the Erie County Fair & Expo was a big attraction. Dancers of all ages showed off the moves that make this dance a major crowd pleaser. Ja:goh to all the winners and see you next year!