SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Kyle Palmer & Upcoming Elections
By Cheryl L. Dodson


October 01, 2009
Thursday PM

Dear Sit News:

I am the grandmother of Kyle Palmer, the young man who was shot in the face while asleep in his apartment in Ketchikan on September 1, 2009. Our family is finally at the point where we can thank and acknowledge the beautiful people who have sent their love, prayers and good wishes to us. We especially want to express our appreciation to those of you from Ketchikan who have come together as a community in showing your love and support for Kyle. You are too numerous to name individually, but we will not forget each and every one of you.

I don't think any of us will ever really get over the shock of this happening to Kyle. Those of you, who know him, know what a peaceful, gentle, loving, young man he is. Kyle is recuperating and we thank God for the miracle of his life. The doctors attribute his rapid recovery to his strong spirit, his good attitude (his Haida blood) and the love, prayers and support we have all received by our many friends and family.

He will remain in the Seattle area having numerous reconstructive surgeries for quite awhile. His life as he knew it will never be the same.

In addition to the physical trauma he has suffered, we also have the financial hardship created by his denial of medical benefits from our Indian Health Service administered by the Ketchikan Indian Community Clinic. This is election year and I would like to remind all of you to get out and vote for the representatives who truly care about their people.

There were treaties signed hundreds of years ago that promised us health, education and welfare forever for signing away our lands. There were no codicils written in those treaties stating that one could be denied medical care if you did not take the time to call a doctor from KIC. My daughter Jodi, notified the Ketchikan General Hospital upon their arrival via ambulance, that the only medical insurance that Kyle had is with KIC. The KGH doctors determined that Harborview hospital was the only option for him before he was medivaced near death here to Seattle. The doctors at Harborview have verified that he would not have received the life saving care at the Anchorage Indian Medical Center. Harborview Hospital is the trauma center that serves five states, INCLUDING ALASKA.

Tribal Members: Before you or any of your loved ones suffer any catastrophic incident, find out what the KIC policy and procedures are regarding your health needs. We were told that Kyle will not be covered because they were not notified prior to him being sent to Seattle. When we called the KIC Clinic we could not get return calls and finally notified the SEARHC Clinic in Mt. Edgecumbe and a very kind medical staff notified KIC via email. We finally had a return call only to be told that we did not follow procedure. Tell me, what human being can stop in the middle of a crisis and make phone calls to verify health coverage especially if these rules are not made clear to the membership?

I have been doing some research and have found out that your Tribal Council is considering increasing their monthly payments from $300 to $2,000 per month. This is a total of $192,000 of your program dollars paid to your elected leaders. This money comes out of your programs: Education, Housing, Health, Culture, Elders, etc. This does not include the money paid to each Council member for the stipends and per diem they receive when they travel. I estimate low of about another $40,000 per year. This too does not include special committee meetings. Ask yourself is this worth it if they are not taking their fiduciary responsibilities towards you and your loved ones seriously? Ketchikan Indian Community is a nonprofit agency formed to provide services for our people. We are not SEALASKA. Because KIC is sovereign and cannot be sued, the Council members are insured individually against liability for a great deal of money. All of this information is public information. Attend the Council meetings and ask these questions. They must answer you! When the clinic was first opened a catastrophic fund was established by the governing board KIC Council. Each year additional funding was supposed to be added from compact dollars and third party billing to this catastrophic fund. Find out if this is being done. Council: Please publicize to our membership the amount that is in this catastrophic fund today. Members need to be informed.

I am advocating that you consider Amelia McAlpin and Cecelia Bird Johnson as your new council members. I have heard that they have been vocal in advocating for positive change for the membership. I also endorse Robbie Sanderson. He made a special visit to Kyle in the hospital and has kept in close contact with our family to see if he can be of any help to Kyle on a personal basis.

In closing, I would like to say Hold your loved ones close; you never know what each day will bring you. Again, thank you all for your kindness.


Cheryl L. Dodson
Seattle, WA

About: "Maternal of Kyle Ryan Palmer. Also, member of Ketchikan Indian Community"

Received September 30, 2009 - Published October 01, 2009


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