Former Seneca Nation President Barry Snyder, who was instrumental in bringing the tribe into the casino era, has died at the age of 79.
Snyder was a force in the affairs of the western New York tribe for more than half a century, serving five terms as president.
Seneca Nation President Rickey Armstrong Sr. said, “He will deservedly be looked upon as a leader for all times. Throughout his life and through his service, Barry elevated the Seneca Nation and the Seneca people. As president, he touched every facet of life on our territories.”
Snyder’s administrations saw major advances in the tribe’s economy and infrastructure, including the development of high-quality health care, education, recreation and public safety facilities.
But his greatest economic achievement was the introduction of Class III casino gaming, which led to the development of Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino in Niagara Falls, Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino in Salamanca and Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino in downtown Buffalo. He served for years as chairman of the board of Seneca Gaming Corp., a private company that has grown to a staff of 4,000 employees, where he led a growth strategy that included significant expansions at all three properties.