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LCO Leaders Attend State of the Tribes and Many Meetings with State Officials

By Joe Morey

New Editor


LCO Tribal Governing Board members attended the State of the Tribes address at the state capital in Madison on the week of Feb. 23, where many tribal leaders from all over the state heard a 20-minute address delivered by Potawatomi Chairman James Crawford. The tribal leaders sat alongside all 99 of Wisconsin’s state legislators, Governor Tony Evers and his executive cabinet officials, the justices of the Wisconsin State Supreme Court and many other dignitaries and officials.


Attending the event for LCO were LCO Chairman Louis Taylor, Vice Chairman Tweed Shuman and Sec.-Treasurer Bill Trepanier.


Other events over the week included a full day of meetings with Evers’ Administration officials. This was  the annual board meeting of the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council, which is comprised of all the Wisconsin Tribes and the chair of Lac Vieux Desert.


The agenda included hearing reports from cabinet members from the various different departments of Administration, Justice, Transportation, Natural Resources, Corrections, Revenue, and so on. Some of these events are covered in other stories within this issue.


Kicking off the week, tribal leaders had a reception with the democratic legislators and on the evening prior to the State of the Tribes, Governor Evers’ hosted all the leaders and their guests at the Governor’s Mansion, complete with a Native-themed display of foods prepared by a Native chef student at the UW-Madison.


Immediately following the GLITC Board meeting, Shuman and Trepanier, accompanied by the Tribe’s Cannabis Consultant, Thi Le, attended a meeting with State Senator Agard, a leading proponent of legalized marijuana, and with Peter Barca, head of the Department of Revenue. This meeting is covered in a separate article.


Prior to the State of the Tribes, a march consisting of a Potawatomi drum group followed by flag carriers from each of the state’s tribes and hundreds of guests and state officials, went around the State Capital and into the building ending at the Rotunda in the center of the Capital.


During the GLITC meeting, Department of Corrections Secretary Kevin Carr told tribal leaders about the new juvenile justice facility being built in Milwaukee, which is expected to have a groundbreaking in June and will have 32 beds. The facility comes at a time when other facilities in the state have closed, including Lincoln Hills. Carr said occupancy in the Milwaukee facility should take place in 2026.


Governor Evers addressed the GLITC Board in the afternoon session and said it was one of his favorite parts of his job, to speak to the tribal leaders. He said he had been doing it back when he was also the state superintendent of public instruction prior to being elected governor.


He mentioned several things that his administration are doing to help strengthen the government to government relationship, including dual language highways signs and promoting the tribal language.


“It all reflects how important you are to the state. You are economic drivers,” Evers said. “I’m proud of the relationship I’ve established with each of you. After all these years I’m committed to being a partner with you.”


LCO Vice Chairman Tweed Shuman told Evers that LCO has appreciated his support in the tribe’s taxation issues and his support of Native businesses.


“The Tribes support you. You come to our events and it means a lot to us,” Shuman said.


Governor Evers with tribal leaders at the annual GLITC board meeting. From L-R) Bad River Chairman Robert Blanchard, Ho Chunk President Jon Greendeer, St. Croix Governmental Relations Director Mike Decorah, Lac Vieux Desert Chairman Jim Williams , Menominee Nation Vice Chairman Joey Awonohopay, Lac du Flambeau President John Johnson, Governor Evers, Red Cliff Tribal Chairwoman Nicole Boyd, Stockbridge-Munsee President Shannon Holsey, LCO Vice Chairman Tweed Shuman, Oneida Nation President Tahassi Hill and Forest County Potawatomi Chairman James Crawford. Image by Joe Morey.


LCO Tribal Leaders with Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers at the Governor's Mansion for a dinner reception with tribal leaders. From L-R) LCO Secretary-Treasurer Bill Trepanier, Gov. Evers, LCO Chairman Louis Taylor and LCO Vice Chairman Tweed Shuman. Image by Joe Morey.


Governor Evers addresses tribal leaders at the Mansion; LCO group in front of the Governor's Mansion; LCO group of leaders in front of the State Capital just before the March to the Rotunda; and Chairman Taylor pictured in the Governor's Mansion with his granddaughter Bernice Taylor who serves as the St. Croix Tribal Sec.-Treasurer. Images by Joe Morey.


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