Niagara Gazette


November 10, 2012

GLYNN: Porter urges tribe to focus on work ethic

Niagara Gazette — Robert Odawi Porter ruffled countless feathers as president of the Seneca Nation but he did depart from his two-year term in office with a meaningful message for his people. In his farewell letter, Porter cited many needs including health care for the Senecas, despite the excellent system already in place. The challenges go far beyond the routine visit to the doctor's office or the annual checkup. Whether they want to admit it, there are deep-rooted issues with obesity and mental illnesses, Porter said, in addition to "rampant substance abuse" problems. The former tribal president indicated that his administration and those before him should have been doing a better job of preparing their people for the workplace. Granted the nation that operates three gambling casinos in Western New York — the Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel in Niagara Falls as the showpiece — has 1,300 government jobs and 4,000 gaming corporation jobs, many of them still lack the skills or education to perform the particular tasks. With the millions of dollars they reap every week from the three gambling palaces, funding the training should be no problem.

It's more complex than just putting people on the payroll, as Porter explained: "We also have a motivational-deficit where our people lack the work ethic to maintain a steady commitment to a well-paying job." For the record, almost 50 percent of the nation's government jobs and 95 percent of the gaming corporation jobs are held by non-Senecas.

Another issue that obviously bothers Porter: The increasing responsibility of the Nation for elder care. He points out that adult children of Seneca elders no longer care for their parents as they did decades ago. Sound familiar?

"Before there was a Nation government," Porter says, "Our elders were cared for by their own adult children." For the record, the Nation is expected to provide more housing for the elders, more health care, more recreational opportunities and more transportation. Asked why this is happening, Porter said it was probably a combination of factors: Caring for elders is time consuming, expensive and difficulty to do. It's also due to a breakdown in the family structure. As an example of how much the Senecas have depended on the Nation to cover even personal expenses, Porter noted that at one point the council (on the Reservation) was asked to approve an emergency appropriation for the shoveling of elder's sidewalks.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • NIA Higgs, Norma mug HIGGS: St. Peter's Episcopal Church, inside and out When I had a couple of questions I checked in with Whitney Mallam, a long-time church member who introduced me to Solon Myron Napoleon Whitney (commonly known as "The Major"), one of his relatives from the early days of this church's history. I was intrigued by some of Whit's comments and hope to learn more about him in the future.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Glynn, Don mug GLYNN: Seneca Niagara Casino in billionaire category One of the Niagara area's biggest businesses is now part of the billionaire class.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • SINGER: Bridging the ideological gap Being both liberal and conservative, as currently designated, makes one perhaps sound wishy-washy; but one can't go down the line on everything.

    April 20, 2014

  • NIA Smith, Doug and Polly LETTERS FROM THE ISLAND: Home alone on the Island Yeah, you know who I mean. Hard to start this project without you but deadline looms and you're still bein' Nana, the role you were born to play. I know, I know, if you'd known grandchildren were this much fun, you'd have had them first.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Hamilton, Ken mug HAMILTON: The Bills stadium and the proverbs We are what we are because of the way that we think, and we got the nothingness that have as a result of it.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • GUEST VIEW: A closer look at Spirit Airline's DOT numbers This last week, there were articles published highlighting that Spirit Airlines has the highest DOT customer complaint rate among US airlines.

    April 18, 2014

  • NIA DeLuca, Michele mug DELUCA: Say it ain't so, Joe I had just parked my car in front of the Gazette offices on Niagara Street last week Thursday when a man approached me and stood by my door.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Glynn, Don mug GLYNN: Tourism operators ready for new season Niagara area hospitality industry people will mark National Tourism Week, May 3 to May 11, with special events focusing on the assets that shape the Cataract City as a major destination.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Bradberry, Bill mug BRADBERRY: Neither long ago, nor far away ... If you did not catch documentary filmmaker Ken Burns' latest masterpiece, "The Address" on PBS last night, it will be well worth your time to look for the re-run, or to find it online as soon as possible.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Editorial: Let's go Buffalo! It could be a whole lot of sweet nothings being whispered in our collective ears, but talk about a Buffalo Bills stadium in Niagara Falls, has us chanting "Let's Go Buffalo." Already there are doubters all over town, who just don't want to get their hopes up. We're hearing people say they're reminded of the time those developers of the Mall of America flirted with the Falls when they were shopping for a location for their super mall. They eventually chose another city, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

    April 16, 2014

Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page