Oneida Indian Nation Homelands (March 4, 2022) – Today, the Oneida Indian Nation and Turning Stone employee Viktoriya Runkevich announced the launch of a donation drive among the Oneida Indian Nation’s more than 4,000 employees for the Ukrainian War Relief Fund. The announcement follows Runkevich’s efforts to organize a donation drive in Utica for her family still in Ukraine and her fellow Ukrainians.
Through Sunday, the Oneida Indian Nation will be collecting donations of clothing, non-perishable food, toiletries, first-aid supplies, blankets and other essential items from its employees across all of its enterprises, adding to the donations other Central New Yorkers are contributing to Runkevich’s drive for at the Slavic Pentecostal Church in Utica.
“The Oneida Indian Nation was so inspired by Viktoriya’s efforts, we wanted to do something to show our support and solidarity,” said Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter. “In addition to the supplies we are collecting, the Oneida Indian Nation Foundation is proud to be able to donate the cost of shipping all donations from Viktoriya’s drive to Ohio so it can be sent to Ukraine.”
“I have a lot of family in Ukraine, including my grandfather, and everyone is very afraid because of the war. I know they don’t have a lot of medical supplies and food is no longer being transported into Ukraine,” said Runkevich. “I am so thankful for the support from the Oneida Indian Nation and am very thankful to be working with such a great team here at Turning Stone.”
Halbritter presented Runkevich with two feathers from the Oneida Indian Nation as a symbol of friendship and solidarity; one for her to share with her Ukrainian community here in Central New York and the other is being sent with the donations to the people of Ukraine.
Halbritter said, “This feather is a representation of the Eagle feather, believed among the Oneida People to signify the highest expression of good wishes and warm friendship. We present this friendship feather in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, with deep admiration of your strength, perseverance and incredible sacrifice.”
Central New Yorkers who would like to contribute can drop off their donations at the Slavic Pentecostal Church located at 2191 Route 5 in Utica.
About the Oneida Indian Nation
The Oneida Indian Nation is a federally recognized Indian nation in Central New York. A founding member of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy (also known as the Six Nations or Iroquois Confederacy), the Oneida Indian Nation sided with the Americans in the Revolutionary War and was thanked by Congress and President George Washington for its loyalty and assistance. Today, the Oneida Nation consists of about 1,000 enrolled Members, most of them living in Central New York. The Nation’s enterprises, which employ more than 4,750 people, include Turning Stone Resort Casino, YBR Casino & Sports Book, Point Place Casino, The Lake House at Sylvan Beach, Maple Leaf Markets, SāvOn Convenience stores, RV Park and three marinas. Proceeds from these enterprises are used to rebuild the Nation’s economic base and provide essential services, including housing, health care, and education incentives and programs, to its Members.
Kelly Abdo, Director of PR
Oneida Indian Nation