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Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe July Meeting

Kanien’kéha Owenna’shon:ah, Affordable Care Act & Tribal Updates


August 10, 2017

THE SRMT monthly meeting was called to order at 10:00am with Chief Michael Conners chairing.

Previous Action Items

Previous Action Items were read:

1. Tribal Council to enact an investigation (fact finding) and evaluation of the correlation and relationship between the original Elders Benefit Group and the anonymous propaganda, which is an indirect contradiction to the benefit [to] Elders.”

In Progress.

2. Community member requested the Tribe work with National Grid to get a better rate. Tribal Council met with National Grid on July 10th. Compliance will be presenting at September Tribal Meeting.

3. To reach out to Mohawk Council of Akwesasne to see if they are willing to share in the cost of road upgrades. Subject of roads will be discussed at the next Akwesasne Leadership meeting.

4. Request to schedule a community meeting on the patent project. Completed. A community meeting on the Intellectual Property (Patent) Project was held on July 24, 2017.

5. Request for numbers on what benefits will be getting cut [in regards to proposed Healthcare Bill. Item was presented during this meeting time.

Kanien’kéha Owenna’shon:ah Signage Project Presentation

Presented by Victoria Ransom.

The Kanien’kéha Owenna’shon:ah Signage Project is an initiative to promote the everyday use of Kanien’kéha through businesses and organizations throughout Akwesasne. The project will provide entrance signs and brochures in each participating establishment. Language lessons will be provided to the staff and management. The Kanien’kéha Owenna’shon:ah Signage Project is aimed at promoting language revitalization by allowing first language speakers to speak at more venues and allowing second language speakers and learners to practice speaking Kanien’kéha outside of the classroom.

The project will be present at major Akwesasne community events. They will also work on billboard signage, website updates, films pertaining to the Kanien’kéha Owenna’shon:ah Signage Project and educational signs with land and traditional teachings.

The Kanien’kéha Owenna’shon:ah Signage Project is set in four phases;

Phase One: July 2017 to September 2017

Phase Two: September 2017 to March 2018

Phase Three: April 2018 to June 2018.

Examine and evaluate the Project: July 2018 to December 2018

Each of the three phases aim at reaching out to twenty businesses and organizations throughout Akwesasne. Each phase will have call out as well as for local graphic artist designers/artist and construction fabricators.

The Kanien’kéha Owenna’shon:ah Signage Project is partnering with CKON to replace the Kanien’kéha language lesson with language lesson already provided in brochures found throughout the many businesses and organizations throughout Akwesasne. In doing so, community members can read the brochures, hear the words on the radio and become more familiar with the dialogue to speak it in various community establishments.

Affordable Care Act and SRMHS Presentation

Tsiorasa Barreiro, Executive Director and Michael Cook, Health Services Director presented.

They shared the concerns many residents have if the Affordable Care Act is repealed and the risk that will directly affect Saint Regis Tribe community residents.

The ACA was passed by US Congress in March of 2010 and enacted in 2014, through this Act. Considering the ACA is the most significant reform of the US Healthcare system since the passage of Medicaid and Medicare in 1964, the ACA provides new benefits, rights and protections for millions of Americans. It has expanded Medicaid, included subsidies for coverage, mandated employers with more that 50 staff to offer health care, provided for 10 essential benefits, and created a Federal Marketplace for health insurance.

They reviewed how services and the number of services provided to Tribal members had increased steadily over the years. More community members are visiting the health facility, and more and more residents are now visiting the health facility for preventative care (annual check-ups, nutrition, diabetes center, Generations Park, Walking Trail). In 1991, 7,276 patients registered the Health Facility, in 2016, over 14, 274 have visited the SRMTHF.

In 2010, 852 patients used their Medicaid coverage at the SRMTHF, as of July 2017, 2,533 used their Medicaid coverage for their health services. In 2010, Medicaid provided $766,471, in 2016, Medicaid revenue grew to $1,703,033 under the Affordable Care Act. In 2010, the SRMTHS transferred $2,291, 605 from TGF to Health Services, in 2016, 0 (zero) dollars were transferred; third party insurance transfers covered those earmarked dollars.

When Tribal members use Medicare or Medicaid for coverage of their health services, the SRMT does not have to use Tribal funds (TGF). Indian Health Services is the Last Payor of last resort for person-defined eligible for contract health services.

Under Trump and the Republican Party, Medicaid would be cut by $772 billion over a decade and they would phase out the Expansion by 2024. While many Tribes, including the SRMT, have experienced significant medical coverage on tribal members, the proposed cut will affect all of Indian Country. Pre-existing conditions, essential benefits and individual mandates (to purchase health insurance), employer mandate to purchase health insurance, ACA subsidies to assist individuals up to 400% of the poverty level, and the expansion of Medicaid eligibility up to 138% of the federal poverty level would all be eliminated or severely cut, creating a less revenue for the SRMTHS. ‘Twenty to twenty-three million will lose health coverage, we are part of that number.’

Tribal Council Updates – Annual Priority Planning Session

Tribal Chiefs and Sub Chiefs updated the community on; defining the roles and responsibilities of the Chiefs and Sub Chiefs and the Residency Law and referendums (October 26, 2017 is the final ordinance and December 2, 2017 is the vote). Community members are encouraged to be take an active role in the meeting and vote on the Residency Law.

SRMT Elders Benefit Working Group Update

James Ransom reported the Seniors Benefit Working Group have met eleven times since April 28, 2107. It will take approximately 2.5 million in sustainable funds to make this a reality, without minimal disruption to community services. They are developing options, and will make specific recommendations in a final draft form for the end of August 2017.

New Business

Among new business, language certification from SUNY Potsdam, 2017 Budget Meeting on Monday August 14, concerns for having our own ambulance service, and Betty Roundpoint, SRMT Clerk will be on sick leave starting August 15, 2017 for six weeks.

Announcement – SRMT 2017 – Budget Mid-Year Review Community Meeting- August 14, 2017 at 5pm

Next Monthly Meeting - September 9 2017.


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