ALLEGANY TERRITORY, SALAMANCA - Darlene Miller, a Seneca Nation Council member and former Acting CEO of its health services, today announced she is a candidate for Nation president in 2014.
If elected, she'd become the first woman president of the Seneca Nation, which is a matrilineal society and would take office in the 50th anniversary year of the Nation's women winning the right to vote.
The pillars of Miller's campaign are: ending deficit spending and balancing the Nation's budget; putting people before politics; promoting healthy minds and bodies; ensuring quality education for all Senecas; creating and maintaining healthy workplaces; enhancing Seneca Nation law enforcement; expanding economic development to reach all Senecas; encouraging and promoting native language and culture and fighting the scourge of addictions among all Senecas.
Miller, 66, said she is motivated to run because "the Nation is divided and we need to unify and get back to our traditional ways and values."
"We seek a united people, a Nation combined, not divided along partisan political lines," she said. "Our goals are health, education and growth for all."
Seneca presidents serve two-year terms in rotation from their two main territories, Cattaraugus and Allegany. Current President Barry E. Snyder Sr. is from Cattaraugus, so the next president will be from Allegany, Miller's home.
"My candidacy and the One Nation Party's platform are based on the concept of 'think as one, speak as one, act as one,'" Miller said. "For too many years, we've seen government for the few, benefitting preferred friends and family, and acting in the interests of small centers of power, rather than for One Nation and all Seneca people."
A major part of Miller's platform is drug and alcohol addiction prevention and treatment. She is especially emphasizing education for children and "no tolerance," because the Nation has lost too many people to these addictions.
Miller, a member of the Hawk Clan of the Seneca Nation of Indians, is a lifelong resident of the Allegany Territory and is backed by numerous faithkeepers. For 20 years, she's been a faithkeeper with the Cold Spring Longhouse. Her name, translated into her native language, means "she picks leaves." She is a fifth generation Seneca mother and grandmother.
As faithkeeper, Miller is charged with the learning, knowing, understanding, providing direction for, and passing on the traditional customs, ceremonial protocol and life ways of the Haudenosaunee Longhouse people.
Professionally, she's had numerous responsibilities with the Seneca Nation Health System, all of which combined to deliver improved health-care services to 8,000 members of the Seneca Nation and their families. Her positions include supervisor, manager and advocate liaison to the Council, as well as health system controller, for 12 years, and billing and contracted health services manager.
In addition, Miller has served as vice president of the Allegany Territory's Six Nations Agricultural Committee and a member of the Smithsonian Repatriation Review Committee.
A 2014 recipient of the national Enduring Spirit Award, Miller was honored for lifetime achievement and commitment to building a positive future for all native people.