Odie Brant Porter, executive director of the Seneca Nation Capital Improvements Authority, will receive the 2011 Technical and Management Innovation Award from the Western New York Branch of the American Public Workds Association on behalf of the Seneca Nation.

Public Works Group Honors Seneca

Gale Courey Toensing

ALLEGHANY TERRITORY, Salamanca, N.Y. -- Odie Brant Porter and the Seneca Nation of Indians’ Capital Improvements Authority has been named the recipient of the 2011 Technical and Management Innovation Award by the American Public Works Association.

The annual award recognizes an organization for the development and implementation of creative ideas, processes or systems that enhance the goals of public works.

The award was granted by the Western New York Branch of the American Public Works Association and announced by the Seneca Nation in a Feb. 1 press release.

During 2010, the Seneca Nation opened a $30 million Administration Building on the Allegany Territory in Salamanca, and renovated the existing William Seneca Building on the Cattaraugus Territory in Irving for $11 million.

The Seneca Allegany Administration Building won a best design award from Business First, while the Lionel R. John Health Center Renovation won Business First's honorable mention for renovations and additions.

“This award speaks to the innovative thinking the staff and professionals at the Capital Improvements Authority use in all our projects,” Porter said. “I’m thrilled to accept it on behalf of everyone here because it signifies success in projects that benefit all members of the Seneca Nation.” Brant is the wife of Seneca Nation President Robert Odawi Porter, who won the presidency in November.

The nation’s Capital Improvement Authority (CIA) is also ready to dedicate two 90,000-square-foot sports complexes on each territory, costing $20 million each. In addition to these three projects, the CIA is completing its 10th water project in recent years, which have ranged from elevated water tanks to waste water treatment plants.

When all its current and recent projects are complete, the nation will have injected $180 million into Western New York economy during one of the worst financial periods in recent American history, the release said. The Seneca Nation is one of the few entities that developed anything of this magnitude in Western New York during this economic uncertainty. The work produced at least 1,000 seasonal jobs during the 3½-year construction period.

Past winners of the award include Erie County, the City of Buffalo, the towns of Amherst, Clarence, Lewiston and Evans, along with the cities of Jamestown and Tonawanda.

The award will be given out Feb. 10, one of eight individual awards and six Project of the Year Awards.

The American Public Works Association is a nonprofit international educational and professional association of public agencies, private sector companies, and individuals dedicated to providing high quality public works goods and services.

The Seneca Nation of Indians, one of the six nations of the Haudenosaunee [Iroquois] Confederacy, continues to live on its five aboriginal areas in Western New York, south of Buffalo, including sovereign territories in Niagara Falls and Buffalo where it operates resorts. The Senecas’ long history includes passing on constitutional and governmental traditions used by founders of the United States like Benjamin Franklin. Historically a warrior nation, it traditionally controlled trade and protected the Western territories, earning the title “Keeper of the Western Door.”

The Nation’s five sovereign territories are comprised of 31,095 acres along the Allegany River and the Southern Tier Expressway, known as the Allegany Territory; 22,011 acres along Cattaraugus Creek near Lake Erie known as the Cattaraugus Territory; one square mile in Cuba, N.Y., called the Oil Spring Territory; 30 acres in Niagara Falls, and 9 acres in Buffalo. The Allegany Territory contains the City of Salamanca within its boundaries. Tens of thousands of acres of land in southern New York and northern Pennsylvania were taken from the Nation when the federal government built the Kinzua Dam and forcibly evicted Senecas from their land in the early 1960s. The nation today operates a $1.1 billion economy that employs more than 6,000 people, native and non Native.

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