Nearly 1,400 Oneida tribal members convened a special General Tribal Council meeting on Sunday, Oct. 28, at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center. The meeting agenda was accepted at 10:19 a.m. with 10-minute time limits set for presentations and three-minute time limits set for individual speakers during discussions.
Tabled Business on the agenda was GTC member Yvonne Metivier’s petition regarding a treatment center, unfinished business included the 2018 Semi-annual reports, and new business which included GTC member Linda Dallas’ petition regarding Medicare Part B premium payments. Also on the agenda but not addressed was an update regarding Election Law amendments.
The first agenda item addressed was GTC member Metivier’s treatment center petition. The petition, originally brought before the GTC earlier in 2018, would have instructed the Oneida Business Committee (OBC) to provide a treatment clinic for opioid and all other forms of drug and alcohol addiction. Petitioner Metivier then made an amendment to her motion instructing the OBC “to establish an Office Based Opioid Treatment (OBOT) program and use evidenced medicine protocol for all medication assisted options; and that the OBC will pursue and prioritize Tribal, Federal, State, and grant monies now available.” Metivier’s amendment carried by hand count.
Two other amendments to Metivier’s main motion also carried by show of hands. The first, made by GTC member Dylan Benton, was to accept the information from the petition as information and utilize it toward the Tribal Action Plan (TAP) that is already in place. The second, by GTC member Sherrole Benton, was to deny the Metivier petition as amended.
The next item on the agenda discussed was the 2018 Semi-annual reports. Seven reports that had not been previously submitted were now available for GTC review within their meeting packets. A motion by GTC member Dylan Benton to accept the reports following discussion passed by show of hands.
The final agenda item was a petition brought forward by GTC member Linda Dallas pertaining to a Medicare Part B premium payment. Dallas requested GTC to authorize the tribe to pay the Medicare Part B premiums for eligible tribal members. Eligibility requirements are for elders to be 65 years of age or older, and/or be classified as disabled through the Social Security Administration, and/or be diagnosed with end-stage renal disease.
Following Dallas’ petition Oneida Nation Chairman Tehassi Hill provided the OBC response. The OBC recommended against the adoption of the request because funds used to pay the premiums would have come from other programs, projects, and services already being offered. Reallocation of limited funds to members who do not necessarily need the assistance would have also limited the tribe’s ability to provide health care resources to those who do need the assistance.
During the discussion segment of this agenda item a verbal disruption occurred at a microphone which required the chairman to call for a 10-minute recess of the meeting until the disturbance could be resolved. The disturbance involved a GTC member who repeatedly attempted to bring the agenda discussion off-topic with another matter not recognized on the GTC-adopted meeting agenda.
Following the resumption of the meeting members of the OBC extended an invitation to members of the GTC to meet with them after adjournment to ask questions regarding issues not on the agenda. Approximately eight GTC members accepted the offer and met with OBC members.
An amendment to Dallas’ main motion by GTC member Dylan Benton called for the appropriate health divisions to promote and educate tribal members on the state Medicare programs. Benton’s amendment carried by show of hands.
A motion was then made to recess the meeting and to have the remaining two agenda items not acted upon placed on the upcoming scheduled December 10 GTC meeting. The motion could not be recognized because the December 10 GTC meeting agenda has already been set and accompanying materials are already being processed. A subsequent motion was then made by GTC member Diane Quella to have the meeting recessed and have the unfinished agenda items added onto the annual GTC meeting agenda scheduled for January 2019. The motion passed by show of hands and the meeting adjourned at 2:07 p.m.