Media Coverage of Oneida Cemetery Problems

WGBA NBC26: Oneida Cemetery Concerns

Based on Brian Miller’s news report it seems the Oneida Business Committee’s plan is:

  • To build an underground drainage system for the cemetery. (?!)
  • To expand the cemetery in this improperly chosen floodplain. (??!!)

Then there’s Vice-Chair Greg Matson’s odd claim in the news video that the problems didn’t arise from the lack of involvement by several Tribal divisons and departments but that, according to Greg, “[U]nfortunately, due to broadness of the team, communication may have played a factor.

But Greg’s lame attempt at an excuse (‘we had too many people involved in the decisions’) fails to explain why the proposed location wasn’t originally presented for consideration by the Tribe’s Environmental Resources Board which was simultaneously working on plans to build a man-made lake nearby and could have steered the Tribe away from ever seriously considering the current location due to basic environmental factors.

Beyond the ongoing worries, pain & suffering of grieving Oneida families are questions regarding the basic feasibility of a drainage operation, the very need for which proves that Brown County parcel HB-240 was a totally inappropriate choice of location for a cemetery as anyone should be able to understand by looking at the Brown County map below which shows there are also serious ecological concerns about how the cemetery’s location and drainage runoff might affect nearby bodies of water and the water table.

[Question: How do subzero temperatures affect an underground drainage system?]

Brown Co. Parcel #HB-240

Brown Co. Parcel #HB-240

In fact, the map that is linked to on the Tribe’s webpage regarding the Oneida Tribal Cemetery (which describes the location as “on W Adam Dr between County Line Rd and S Overland Rd.”) makes it clear that water and runoff issues are going to be a predictable problem in that location for the foreseeable future, and that by choosing to try to remediate rather than finding an appropriate area in which to relocate the Tribe appears to be setting itself up for an unending – and costly – battle against nature itself.

Here’s a screen shot of that map:

Aerial view of Oneida Tribal Cemetery

Aerial view of Oneida Tribal Cemetery

Here’s a screen shot of the area to the west of the Oneida Tribal Cemetery:

Aerial view of Oneida Tribal Cemetery area

Aerial view of Oneida Tribal Cemetery area

The Oneida Business Committee is scheduled to address the matter at the Wednesday December 11, 2013 BC Regular Meeting which is open to the public and the media:

XII. New Business/Requests

1. Oneida Cemetery update

Sponsor: Ed Delgado

According to Greg Matson’s November 27, 2013 memo:

The Trust/Enrollment Committee also approved a Communication Plan which includes a community meeting to occur on December 18, 2013. The location is to be determined. There will be other meetings and written communication pieces. We hope to announce the Tribal Cemetery community meeting at the December 15, 2013 GTC meeting. 

On what basis can General Tribal Council conclude that the current Oneida Business Committee has the competency and the will to appropriately and adequately address this shocking situation if their plan as it stands is to endlessly drain and inexplicably expand?


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