By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
The USET Board of Directors held its annual Business Meeting on Thursday, Oct. 31 at the Harrah’s Cherokee Resort Event Center. The Board passed 23 resolutions on many topics ranging from Indian gaming to health care.
Principal Chief Michell Hicks opened the meeting with a few words and then asked for a moment of silence in honor of the passing of former Vice Chief Bill Ledford.
One of the most talked-about items of the day was Resolution 015 titled “Calling on the National Football League to End the Use of the Washington, D.C. racially-offensive slur Team Mascot Name” which was submitted by the Oneida Indian Nation.
Chief Hicks commented, “Obviously, the Redskins is a different scenario and it pulls at the heart. I just don’t want it to be taken too far.”
He related that names such as Braves and Warriors can be used with respect, and he asked if anyone had thought of a suggestion for a new name.
USET president Brian Patterson said, “This resolution is only to address the derogatory and racist name of redskins. The name is a racist name. It is offensive. It is an epithet, and it has no place in America today.”
Phyllis J. Anderson, Chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, gave another side. “Some people take pride in being called a redskin.”
She said many in her tribe see nothing wrong with the term, “I have mixed feelings about this.”
Chief Anderson said the word Oklahoma means “red people” in the Choctaw language. “Have we gone to listen to other Natives to see how they feel about it?”
USET secretary Brenda Lintinger related, “As Native Americans, I do think we’ve been late to the civil rights game, and I think we do need to take a stand.”
Resolution 019 involved appointments to several national health committee workgroups. Chief Hicks was appointed to serve on the CDC Tribal Advisory Committee and Chairwoman Terri Henry was appointed to serve on the SAMHSA (Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration) Tribal Advisory Committee.
Other resolution passed during Thursday’s meeting include:
- 001 – Calling upon Bay Mills Indian Community and the federal government to take action to moot the Bay Mills sovereign immunity case before the Supreme Court hears oral arguments
- 002 – Authorizing the submission of a proposal to the United States Department of Treasury Community Development Financial Institution Fund for Technical Assistance to become Community Development Financial Institution certified
- 003 – Authorizing the submission of a proposal to the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development Rural Business Enterprise Grant Program for the development of a business providing electronic health record training and technical support to Indian healthcare facilities
- 004 – Support for Keepseagle Settlement Cy Pres Funds to be endowed to a single foundation and subsequent disbursements to redress funding disparities
- 005 – Recognizing and commending the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians Choctaw Central High School solar car team
- 006 – Urging clarification that trust per capita payments are not taxable income
- 007 – Nominating Robert McGhee to the Internal Revenue Service Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities
- 008 – Establishing a working partnership with the Minnesota American Indian Chamber of Commerce to establish an American Indian Procurement Technical Assistance Center to serve the USET Region.
- 009 – Support for the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program within the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act
- 010 – Requesting that the United State Congress and Federal Communications Commission establish a Tribal Broadband Fund to promote the deployment of advanced telecommunications infrastructure in Indian Country
- 011 – Necessary changes to federal budget law and policy to protect federal Indian programs and in fulfillment of the federal trust responsibility
- 012 – Structural recommendations for the White House Council on Native American Affairs
- 013 – Expressing heartfelt sorrow and sympathy for Dusten Brown, Veronica, their extended family and friends, and the Cherokee Indian Nation of Oklahoma and calling for action to protect Native children
- 014 – Expectation of free, prior, and informed consent as a principle to government-to-government negotiations and relations between nation states and constitutional or customary indigenous governments
- 016 – Protecting the right of USET tribes to conduct gaming on tribal lands
- 017 – Support the strengthening of native language and culture throughout the implementation of Common Core State Standards
- 018 – Support to develop Bureau of Indian Education Pilot Programs for language immersion in elementary and secondary schools within Indian Country
- 020 – Support for the introduction and enactment of legislation that would expand the Medicare-like rate cap to all non-hospital services
- 021 – Authorization for USET to apply for the Native American Research Center for Health funding opportunity
- 022 – Authorization to submit a proposal to the United States Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Native Americans Social and Economic Development Strategies
- 023 – Support of the Federal Communications Commission Office of Native Affairs and Policy for Annual Appropriations to allow continued training, technical assistance, outreach, and consultation with Tribal nations