Special remarks from Nation Representative Ray Halbritter (Wolf Clan) kicked off an after-hours event held for Members celebrating the new Oneida Nation Health Services location in Dream Catcher Plaza shortly after it opened.
Underscoring the Oneida Indian Nation’s commitment to providing award-winning health care, the state-of-the-art facility unites primary care, dental, diabetes, behavioral and community health under one roof, providing Oneida Nation Members and health services clients the best in care for all ages and stages of life.
“The Oneida Indian Nation is providing a quality health care system technologically and, of course, thanks to the wonderful staff, providing for our people,” Ray shared with guests and health center employees. “I know that our Members and our people are being treated and served exceptionally well and they do appreciate it. They don’t really always say that but you can see it in their eyes.”
The facility features 10 exam rooms, five dental rooms, a health education and conference room, and a kitchen. The convenient location at Dream Catcher Plaza makes it easier for the 3,500 American Indian patients served to use, if they choose to, the onsite radiological services provided by Bassett Oneida Health Center.
The external façade of the building and the parking lot at Dream Catcher is currently undergoing an upgrade. New curbing, additional landscaping and trees are being added to the lot.
“Living the life the Creator intended starts with good health,” Ray remarked. “That is why it has always been our top priority to focus on the wellbeing of our people. … Providing resources and opportunities for healthy living is a cornerstone of our commitment to our people and unto the seventh generation. American Indians have long been linked to statistics of poor health. We are proud to be at the forefront of the effort to turn those numbers around by providing top-quality care.”
Following Ray’s remarks Dr. Seelan Newton, clinical director, and several employees, led tours of the facility, pausing many times to highlight unique features – from the two large display cases in the lobby featuring Oneida artwork to the Haudenosaunee-themed tile-work found in many areas. Throughout the center an emphasis has been placed on the Haudenosaunee culture helping patients, especially Oneidas, feel welcome.
Council Member Chuck Fougnier (Wolf Clan) reflected on the Nation’s past before commenting on the state-of-the-art facility. “I was living here in the early 1970s. All we had was a dirt road with 36 trailers. We had no septic system. We hired a man with a backhoe to dig it up…. If we had to go to the hospital or needed treatment, we had to go to Oneida Health Care. … But we knew we could do better. And thanks to our economic engine, we were now able to focus on better health care, better housing and better education for all our people.”
Upon finishing the tour Chuck noted the impact the new facility will have on generations to come. “It’s beautiful,” he said. “I would recommend this health facility to anyone. It’s a great health staff here. It really is.”
Council Member Brian Patterson (Bear Clan) echoed Chuck’s thoughts. “The quality and competency of the Health Services is truly a remarkable moment in the lives of those that are served through this facility,” he said. “I believe our Oneida Nation Health Services is second to none and wish to express my appreciation as well as my gratitude to all that have helped make this a reality for our Nation and its people, as well as others that receive care through this facility. Thank you to everyone who helped make the open house a special moment for the Oneida Nation.”