In response to the Buffalo News’ article on July 28 regarding the Seneca Nation’s plan to evict Snyder Beach residents, I take issue with the statement released by the Seneca Nation and some of the sentiments by Seneca President Robert Odawi Porter.
As a long-time “squatter” of Snyder Beach, I’d like to mention some thoughts that came to mind when first hearing of the eviction notice and when reading the most recent article in the News.
My family has been coming to Snyder Beach since the 1960s. We own the one-story cottage on land that we, and every other family, have been leasing yearly from a Seneca businessman.
My greatest complaint about the statement released is that it makes us out to be common criminals. Where has this insistence that we are unlawful occupants been before?
Every single year families from Western New York and throughout the country come to Snyder Beach to vacation, to stay and to enjoy a beautiful section of Lake Erie. Now suddenly, decades after this “illegal occupation” began, they take action so that there can be more room for Senecas?
Where was this resolve 30 years ago? Where is this resolve for the other private beaches on Seneca land?
We own and are consistently making improvements to our beachfront cottage. I would like to know what the Seneca Nation’s plan is to compensate us for these properties that we are being evicted from.
As much as they contend that we lease the land illegally, to the 170 owners that have signed lease agreements for such land, we own these cottages. We own the roof, we own the walls, and we own the rooms.
Additionally, many of these cottages do not have heat, storm windows and other amenities necessary for winter living. If the Senecas plan to appropriate our homes, they face an uphill battle in preparing these for yearlong residency.
I apologize if my opinions have been brash, but the tone of the statement issued by the Seneca Nation can only be responded to with similar strength. However, in an effort to appeal to compassion and to indicate the level of emotion that the residents are currently experiencing, my official statement to the Seneca Nation is this:
Please don’t do this. Please don’t take away our summers. We do appreciate the Seneca Nation; we are patrons of your businesses, your restaurants, your gas stations and your gaming operations. We continue to come back year after year because we simply love it. To lose this would be devastating.
And I apologize if we came to lease this land and build these homes under false pretenses; but to evict us after our decades of faithful attendance and support? Is that truly for the greater good of the Seneca Nation?
Amelia Wright lives in Boston and has been staying at Snyder Beach since she was born.