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Thu February 13, 2014
State Of The Tribes Highlights Differences, Goals
The new leader of the Menominee Nation told Wisconsin lawmakers that while deep differences exist on many issues, including the environment, cooperation is the goal.
While not directly addressing a proposed Kenosha casino by the Menominee Tribe....which is opposed by the Forest County Potawatomi Community... Chairwoman Laurie Boivin says dialog with the state concerning gambling compacts is positive for both sides...
".....some of these funds directly benefit tribal initiatives, and are returned to our surrounding communities, in addition to providing financial benefit to the states general fund...."
She says some tribes use the resources to carry on native traditions...
"....the Chippewa bands utilize their wild rice and walleye resources, not only to provid sustenance for their people, but also use this unique opportunity to pass on tradition and cultural teachings to their youth...."
Boivin says joint efforts by the state and tribes have led to stronger drug and gang enforcement...
"....many tribes have experienced an increase in gang violence, most notably the hybrid gangs composed mostly of Native Americans. These hybrid gangs are trying to use our tribal culture as a means to recruit new members, often through tribal social networks..."
Boivin says a clean environment is critical to preserve their way of life...
"....the hunting or fishing trip is not a sport for us. The walk through the forest to gather plants or collect water is not just to take in the scenic beauty or get exercise, it is our way of life. It is our culture and who we are as a people..."
Boivin chastised lawmakers for continuing to support school mascots deemed offensive by Native Americans...
"....I would be remiss...representing my fellow colleagues if I did not discuss the Indian mascot and logo issue and the negative social impact this has on our tribal people, especially our young children...."
Boivin spoke before a joint session of the legislature Thursday. Her comments courtesy Wisconsin Eye.