The Lac du Flambeau tribe of Ojibwe is urging Governor Scott Walker not to sign a bill making it harder to change race-based school mascots. The Republican-backed legislation has passed the Assembly and the Senate. The new rules would require a petition of signatures and proof of discrimination before a school mascot can be changed.
Current law has it the other way around – a school must prove its mascot isn’t discriminatory.
Lac du Flambeau spokesman Brandon Thoms says the proposed rule changes encourage destructive stereotypes of Native people.
The Lac du Flambeau tribe continues to support more Indian gaming in Wisconsin. Lac du Flambeau president Tom Maulson has sent a letter to Governor Scott Walker in support of the Menominee proposal for an off-reservation casino in Kenosha.
The Menominee plan has gained federal approval but is being held up by opposition from the Forest County Potawatomi and Ho-Chunk Tribes. Joe Hunt is an off reservation gaming consultant for Lac du Flambeau.
The Lac du Flambeau tribe says two federal grants will help combat crime in its community. The tribe has been awarded money for community policing totaling more than three quarters of a million dollars. The so-called COPS grants come through a federal program for tribal assistance. The larger grant will fund police equipment like hardware and uniforms. The other will pay for the hiring of at least one new person.
Tribal spokesperson Brandon Thoms says the money will go a long way.
Wild rice season is set to begin in Northern Wisconsin. Manoomin, the traditional food of the Ojibwe nations, typically ripens around Labor Day. But harvesters may need extra patience this year.
Only three out of about 50 lakes regulated by state and tribal officials will open for ricing by this weekend. Manoomin biologist for the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission Lisa David says Wisconsin’s late spring delayed ripening in some areas.
The Lac du Flambeau tribe is moving forward with a plan to bring high speed internet access to the Lakeland area. The tribe has formed Ogema Communications, a company it hopes will deliver broadband access not only to tribal lands, but other parts of the Northwoods. Tribal spokesman Brandon Thoms says access to high-speed internet would stimulate job and business growth.
“There’s a huge need for reliable service throughout the Northwoods. And the tribe is looking to fill that need, or fill that void through the creation of Ogema Communications.”
The Rhinelander School District is looking for a new Community Education Coordinator. Kim Swisher announced her resignation today. She’s headed to a brand new communications position with the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.
“It was just too exciting to pass up. I have greatly enjoyed my work with the school district and have learned a great deal serving our students and our community. And this was just something too exciting and too much of an opportunity to walk away from.”
The next group of leaders is being recruited in Vilas County.
Vilas Vision was born in 2003 to find and train new leaders. More than 100 people have gone through the program.The program is in cooperation with the Lac du Flambeau tribe.
UW-Extension Community Resource Development agent Chris Stark says the program is an investment in people to improve their leadership skills. He says business people and volunteers are two key groups who could be involved.