J C Seneca
Seneca Nation businessman, J C Seneca, chose July 17, Seneca Nation Unity Day, to launch a celebration of 25 years of successful operations at his Native Pride Travel Plaza. According to Seneca, the celebration also included an official designation of the land where his business is located, in tribute to his family’s heritage.
“On July 17, 2020, I honored two significant points in my life. Twenty-five years ago, I started selling cigarettes from a small trailer set up on Route 20, on the Cattaraugus Territory, where my Native Pride Travel Plaza now exists. And it has been 28 years since my part in helping to lead the Seneca People in a taxation battle against New York State, which we won and now honor as Unity Day. Looking back on my business success in evolving from that trailer into a wholesale and manufacturing operation of our own brand of fuel and products, a trucking company and a popular diner and convenience store, and in facing the continuing discrimination in the United States that plagues the Seneca People and all people of color, I felt it was important to acknowledge my heritage and honor my ancestors — my father William Seneca, my grandmother, Nina Tallchief Seneca, my great grandfather Charles Tallchief, my great, great grandfather Asa Tallchief and my great, great, great grandfather, Tallchief, the man who began our ancestry here in the mid 1700’s — by giving this land an official designation. It is a name that will become an integral part of my professional enterprises as we dedicate the land and the business — Tallchief Territory, Home of Native Pride.”
In recognizing Seneca’s achievements, New York State Senator Tim Kennedy (D-63) praised the Seneca businessman’s dedication to his community.
"JC Seneca has demonstrated time and again that he truly believes in the power of community and in lifting each other up through action,” Kennedy said. “As we celebrate this dedication of land, we do so knowing that the Tallchief Territory will forever serve as a beacon of hope and goodwill.”
According to Seneca, the 25th anniversary will be celebrated with a summer line-up of events beginning with the re-opening of the Native Pride Diner, which will officially debut as the Tallchief Diner. While closed during the COVID-19 Pandemic, the diner underwent extensive remodeling that included the installation of historic wall art throughout the space, featuring members of Seneca’s Tallchief Family. Seneca states that he views the celebration and the Tallchief Territory designation as a launching pad for the future.
“Dedicating this land to the legacy of my family during this 25 anniversary year and on Seneca Unity Day reflects my long term focus to continue to develop and expand my Tallchief Territory Native Pride Business, while continuing to speak out on Seneca Nation concerns in our own community and support and protect Native rights and issues on state and national levels.”
About Tallchief Territory, Home of Native Pride
Native Pride is a travel plaza conveniently located off Exit 58 on the NYS Thruway I-90 at 11359 Southwestern Blvd in Irving, NY. Officially designated by the Niagara International Transportation Technology Coalition (NITTEC) as an Emergency Stop for travelers, Native Pride offers its own brand of gas and diesel fuel, as well as DEF and propane at its 22 banks of pumps. The Native Pride Tallchief Diner serves home cooked meals within a newly remodeled setting highlighted with historical photographs of Seneca Elder, Tallchief and his descendants. The travel plaza’s 24/7 convenience store offers snacks, drinks, truck products, gift items, cigarettes, a wide variety of Tallchief CBD/hemp products and Azalia’s healthy, nutrient-dense juices and foods to-go. There are also services for over-the-road professional truck drivers including showers, a laundry center, lounge, walk-in humidor and ample parking for cars, trucks, and semi-trucks. For more than a decade, Native Pride has been selected as the Best of the Best by readership of the Dunkirk Observer.
About J C Seneca
J C Seneca is a member of the Seneca Nation and owner of Native Pride Travel Plaza, located on the Cattaraugus Territory of the Seneca Nation in Irving, NY. Starting out in 1987 as a young entrepreneur with big dreams, by 1995 Seneca had developed his own truck stop business and spent the next 25 years building a highly successful 22-pump gas and diesel service area complimented by a diner, a 24/7 convenience store and shower and lounge services for professional truck drivers. In 2019, Seneca was recognized as a Top 50 Native Business Entrepreneur by Native Business Magazine, a national publication out of Bellevue, Washington.
While focused on business development, Seneca has also broadened his community reach as a private citizen, stepping forward repeatedly in negotiations during contentious sales tax disputes between the Seneca Nation and the New York State Government and as a public servant, in his role as an elected representative to The Seneca Nation Tribal Council (SNI) and elected Treasurer of The Seneca Nation. Seneca’s civic leadership is further reflected in the creation of the J C Seneca Foundation, a nonprofit corporation with a mission to advance healthy living in body, mind, and spirit for the people of the Seneca Nation and surrounding communities.
Backed by a quarter century of goals and achievement, in 2020 Seneca made the decision to reformat his Native Pride Brand by incorporating it with his family’s Seneca Nation Heritage. It is a heritage tied to his great, great, great grandfather, Tallchief, who claimed the land where Seneca began his entrepreneurial journey and today continues to grow his business, now known as Tallchief Territory, Home of Native Pride.
About Unity Day
Unity Day was enacted by the Seneca Nation of Indians Council in 1992 to serve as a day of remembrance after the events of that year when the Seneca People fought against New York State on taxation issues and won. The day is meant to serve as a reminder that the Seneca People need to be united and work together to protect their sovereignty, economy and community. https://sni.org/events