KIC Election: Proposition
By Kathleen Yarr Svenson
January 22, 2008
KIC Tribal Members: Have you ever been told you re deactivated
when you ve attempted to access medical services at the KIC
Clinic? It gets worse. You may find yourself disenrolled entirely
from KIC-- without your knowledge nor your consent.
How could this happen? If Proposition 1 on the January 21st
Election Ballot passes you could be disenrolled if you leave
Rivillagigedo Island. Therefore, vote no on Proposition 1!
Proposition 1, as written, exempts college students and the military
from disenrollment for absence, but what about people who must
leave for medical to Anchorage or Sitka? Or to care for an elder
up North? Or to do time at Lemon Creek? Well, they could be disenrolled.
Under this Propostion 1, accepting temporary employment out-of-town
could get you disenrolled too. Even living on Gravina or in Loring
could get you disenrolled. As written Propositon 1 is a very
dangerous proposition. Why? Because if you leave and want to
reenroll upon your return, you must submit your application to
an Enrollment Committee. That Enrollment Committee could turn
your application down.
Because KIC receives federal funding they are prohibited from
discriminating against their own tribal members based on their
tribal affiliations. But Merle Hawkins, who is running for tribal
president, wrote in a letter to the editor in the Ketchikan Daily
News and on KRBD, The purpose (of the Proposition) is to use
federal funding that the tribe receives for our Tlingit, Haida
and Tsimpsean lineal descendants. We would narrow the eligibility
criteria so only our people could apply for enrollment. This
is how you could lose your tribal membership. And even if you
re Tlingit, Haida or Tsimpsean, there is not guarantee in this
proposition you ll get back on the KIC rolls. It depends upon
the Enrollment Committee.
The KIC Tribal Council needs a paradigm shift. Rather than eliminating
their own people to conserve dollars and services, KIC needs
to launch a timely educational campaign to convince tribal members
to self-identify as Native on the U.S. Census. According to Charlene
Starkweather, Tribal Enrollment Officer, the US Census is what
KIC s funding is based on.
The last U.S. Census showed Ketchikan as having an 8% Native
population. KIC s tribal census last year and a wildlife harvest
survey in 2006, more accurately pegged Ketchikan s Native population
at 25%. Also, many grants KIC applies for are based on the number
of people on the tribal rolls not on tribal members addresses.
Also, I looked at the base rolls, and there are people from many
different tribes listed there: Eskimos, Aleuts, Tillamooks, Chippewas.
Not just Tlingits, Haidas, and Tsimpsheans. These have always
been the people KIC has represented.
For my family, Aleuts who were forceably relocated to Ward Lake
by the US government during WWII,KIC is all they have.
To increase funding, KIC could apply for more grants since KIC
makes money from the grants indirect rates. They could revive
Economic Development. There are many better ways to solve this
problem than eliminating their own people from their rolls. How
does that further KIC's mission of improving the quality of life
for Native people?
Please vote No on the Enrollment Ordinance on January 21st.
Norman Arriola, who is running for tribal council and president,
opposes Proposition 1, as does Sam Bergeron, but you will have
to write Sam Bergeron's name in.
Thank-you for your time and attention.
Kathleen Yarr Svenson
About: "Kathleen has worked
for KIC in the Social Services and Housing Departments off and
on over the last 20 years. Her family is Aleut."
Received January 19, 2008 -
Published January 22, 2008
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