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Good Questions
by Samuel Bergeron


March 26, 2004

I would like to thank Brandi for her simple yet poignant question: why all the travel and why are we paying these people so much money? Good questions, I'll do my best to answer them.

I would first like to pose a question to all of you readers out there. Here it goes. What do you in the private sector call non-essential travel? Answer: A vacation. That's why I entitled my missive "Let s go on vacation".

In Indian country there are always conventions and organizations going on all the time throughout the nation. They are usually held at tourist destinations like: Las Vegas, Palm Springs, Orlando, Florida or San Diego. You get the picture. They never hold these things in Schenectady or Wichita. It is always in some place that most of our members very rarely get to go. So we decide that these conventions and organizations would be well served with our presence. Keeping in mind that our mission is to provide health care and social services to our members, we go these junkets with the best of intentions, wanting to glean new and relevant information that coincide with our mission. So we usually send three or more council members plus the president to these conventions. Keep in mind that to go to these things cost: airfare, hotel, food, car rental and best of all stipend. We spend thousands of your dollars on each one of these trips to rough it at such places as the Palm Springs and stay in posh resorts to fulfill our mission to you to provide health care and social services to our members. (It is a life of self-sacrifice, but someone has to do it.)

It should be mentioned that these conventions are not entirely irrelevant to KIC, but fewer council members should attend and you should not be making money off the tribe for the privilege of going.

In all fairness to the good folks on the tribal council, it would be unfair not to mention that there is a great deal of essential travel that is done on behalf of the tribe. It mostly has to do with funding issues with the clinic, housing programs and BIA funds. These trips relate directly to our mission to our members. I believe in this instance, a stipend is in order. You are working as representative for the tribe that is completely in line with our mission at KIC. You should be paid for it.

The views I submit here are my own. I do not speak for the tribe; I am merely exercising my constitutional rights afforded to me in article 6 section one of our own (KIC) constitution that says: "The council shall not restrict or in any way abridge the rights of its members guaranteed under the Constitution of the United States, but it shall be its duty to see that the full constitutional rights thereof are maintained and preserved."

Thank you for your questions.

Samuel Bergeron: KIC tribal council member



Related Viewpoint:

Re: Let's go on vacation by Brandi Conway - Ketchikan, AK - USA


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