Make No Mistake: GTC Runs the Tribe

by Frank Cornelius

The Oneida Tribal Constitution is the highest law on the reservation.

The General Tribal Council is the governing body of the Oneida Tribe.

In 1949 the GTC passed a resolution delegating authority to the Business Committee to handle business to benefit ALL the tribal members. Through this delegated authority, the BC manages the regular tribal operations, however, the authority of the BC is subject to both the Constitution and the GTC. The GTC can review any actions taken by the BC, and can issue a directive to the BC to be carried out! In other words, ordering the BC to take certain actions or to mplement or change a specific policy. The Business Committee must carry out the directive from the GTC. It is NOT up to the BC to question or revise a directive from the GTC.

A directive was issued on July 9, 2013: a petition with over 360 signatures was given to the BC to dissolve Oneida Seven Generations Corporation. It is now up to the BC to take action in accordance with Article III, ‘Governing Body,’ Section 3, paragraph I, which states in part: “[T]he Business Committee…shall perform such duties as may be authorized by the GTC.”

The By-Laws of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin, Article IV, ‘Powers of the General Tribal Council,’ Section 3, ‘Reserved Powers,’ states: “Any rights and powers heretofore vested in the Oneida Tribe but not expressly referred to in this constitution shall NOT be abridged by this article, but may be exercised by the people of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin through the adoption of appropriate By-Laws and constitutional amendments.”

If the BC fails to act, they are in violation of the Oneida Constitution.

If the BC tries to modify the requested petition they are in violation of their Oath of Office.

If the BC holds secretive unannounced meetings like the one held on July 12, 2013 inconsistent with the Oneida Constitution, Article III, Section 3, paragraph 2, which states in part, “SPECIAL MEETINGS OF THE BUSINESS COMMITTEE SHALL BE HELD UPON A THREE-DAY ADVANCE NOTICE BY THE CHAIRMAN TO ALL MEMBERS THEREOF OR UPON WRITTEN REQUEST OF A MAJORITY OF THE BUSINESS COMMITTEE STATING THE TIME, PLACE AND PURPOSE OF THE MEETING,” the BC is in violation.

Make no mistake: the tribal members (GTC) run the tribe!

Frank Cornelius,
Retired Marine

[The preceding is the opinion of the author. Oneida Eye welcomes others to submit commentary for consideration.]

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As It Happens

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