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Seneca Nation of New York

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A Seneca couple's dream to preserve their native language and traditions came a step nearer reality with the groundbreaking for the new Faithkeepers Schools on West Bank Perimeter Road across from the nation's Highbank's Campground in Cold Spring. The council made the land available earlier this year. The school was founded by Lehman "Dar" and Sandy Dowdy in 1998. Dowdy is head faithkeeper and a speaker in the Longhouse on the Allegany Reservation. Mrs. Dowdy taught Seneca language and culture for a dozen years at the Salamanca City Central School District. Thirteen children are enrolled in classes now conducted in the nation's community building in Steamburg which meet for 50 weeks a year. Parents are required to do home-schooling. The Dowdys organized fund-raisers and solicited donations to build the school. Local businesses have contributed both funds and materials and equipment.