"I made another journey to the rez to attend the General Council Meeting. My journey this time found Mayetta to be a town of crisp, windy autumn days and once again welcoming friends and relatives.
The meeting began with signing in and gathering of the agenda and handouts. The meeting was opened with a prayer by Gary Mitchell, spoken in our native language. Next we were told that CSP item on the agenda was dropped. There was brief recognition of Steve Ortiz’s win as our new Chair. Steve announced that he would like all tribal members to send him their suggestions on ways to cut the budget due to the overwhelming passage of the per cap increase.
Tribal Council member Jackie Mitchell gave a power point presentation of the Shab-eh-nay Reservation and what has been accomplished thus far on the project. Most tribal members were appreciative of the pictures because it gave us a summary of the progress on the project and we could see the beauty of the land that will once again be part of the PBPN.
The lawyers representing the PBPN in the Shab-eh-nay matter gave us an update on the legal proceedings. This took a few hours and I will not go into the details because it is a matter that only PBPN should be allowed to have information about. (We all realize Larry’s site can be viewed by non-tribal members.) If you would like all the details about what they had to say and the question and answers general council members had, contact Secretary Jim Potter and he will send you the minutes when they are ready. Suffice it to say, Shab-eh-nay is moving forward in a very positive way. The lawyers also reminded tribal members that there are a group of residents in DeKalb county who do not want Indian gaming, but their numbers are small. We were also told that this small group is watching our blogs for any hints of dissension among our tribe on the Shab-eh-nay matter. We should all project a united front and support the work our tribe is doing on Shab-eh-nay.
Next, was the rushed introduction of a Revenue Allocation Plan by Tribal Council member Ryan Dyer. The explanation given to us about this plan is that because of the per cap increase vote we must now begin to decide how to re-distribute our programs and budgets. As was mentioned earlier on the blog, we were not given any handouts or other written materials about the plan, only two pie charts on a power point presentation.
Option 1 would give Government Operations 28% , General Welfare (including CSP, Education, Housing and the Health Clinic) 7%, Charitable Contributions 1% , Economic Development 16% and Per Capita 48%.
Option 2 would give Government Operations 30%, Economic Development 16%, Per Capita 48%. Government Operations would include General Welfare items.
I know what you are thinking, it doesn’t add up to 100%, but these are the only groups of expenditures that are negotiable. Sorry that I don’t have the rest of the break down they were not distributed to us. They are promising to send us the written information about the plan with the next referendum election.
As you can see Option 2 eliminates charitable deductions, however Ryan stated that doesn’t mean we won’t make charitable deductions.
Many tribal members had questions for Ryan about the Revenue Allocation Plan, for one what was the rush to have a vote on this and wait, we need more information in writing to make this decision. I suggested that we not vote on this today because it is a matter that more tribal members would like to have input on, we need feedback from tribal members who were not able to make it to the meeting and from those who live off the rez. Since they didn’t know this was a matter that would be on the agenda and Ryan said, once the plan is chosen there is no going back, it cannot be changed. Another tribal member made a motion to have a vote on whether to postpone the vote and mail out information about the Revenue Allocation Plan and include it on the referendum vote later this month. The motion was seconded and the vote was in favor of putting it on the referendum vote.
Ryan proceeded to present his financial report. A few questions directed to Ryan from tribal members were:
When would we get a financial summary of the Casino’s finances, as it is required per the tribal constitution?
Three jobs were cut from the transportation department, would the jobs be restored or were there more cuts to come?
Casino does not appear to be doing well based on anecdotal observations of tribal members and feedback from customers.
When is the bingo hall going to re-open? The seniors enjoy bingo. Ryan said that there are some options for a bingo hall that they are researching, keeping the old hall, adding bingo to the casino and adding another site near the highway.
Of course tribal members are asking questions and still seeking to hold the TC accountable for their behavior, use of time on and off their jobs and monies spent on their p-cards.
There should be more reservation based activities for young people to prevent them from getting involved in drugs and alcohol.
It was fantastic to see that there is an increased level of participation in discussions by all tribal members in attendance at the meeting. Our people have some important needs and should feel free to speak their views on the issues that are important to them. Good work PBPN!
By the way, we had a lovely lunch consisting of, sliced ham, in a cherry sauce, sweet potatoes that were perfectly cooked and sweetened with brown sugar and marshmallow. Also, fresh sautéed green beans, a dinner roll, for dessert a brownie that made me want to ask for the recipe, the texture and flavor rivaled even my own recipe. During lunch I spoke to friends and family with bright, smiling faces sharing their stories of happy harvests of fall vegetables and bragging about the progress of their favorite football teams, KU or Kansas State.
Unfortunately, I had to leave soon after lunch to catch my plane back to Los Angeles, hopefully I will get the minutes from the meeting soon and can share the details of the remainder of the meeting.
Personally, I feel these experiences, meeting and listening to other tribal members talk about their lives is the most rewarding aspect of my journeys to the rez. I am looking forward to the next General Council Meeting, albeit it may be cold and freezing, the journey is well worth it."