Updated: Jan 13, 2022
The Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Governing Board (“TGB”) has been made aware of an attack against our Tribe, in light of the article published on December 22, 2021, by the Wisconsin Examiner; specifically criticizing our academic institutions. The Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe College leadership, including the Board of Regents, has updated the TGB regarding the College’s decision to Charter Schools. The TGB stands in full support of our college and agrees with the statement issued by the College in their response to the article. The inaccuracies in that article were designed to incite division among our people and to damage the Tribe’s support for the pending legislation in the Wisconsin Legislature regarding Assembly Bill 420 and Assembly Bill 721; which addresses the discrimination against our college’s ability to authorize, and fund, independent charter schools.
Our Tribe has been targeted by these types of racist and stereotypical assaults; from the Fishing and Hunting protests of the 1980’s to this recent attack on our college’s decision to exercise educational sovereignty. Our Tribe’s history of non-tribal education includes our grandparent’s attendance at off-reservation boarding schools, systemic racism in public schools, a refusal to recognize our rights as a sovereign people, and zero input in developing Ojibwe K-12 curriculum. The State of Wisconsin has only recently started to recognize that many of our Tribal Members were forced to attend boarding schools, and some never returned. Our own students walked out of the Hayward Community School in 1975 in response to the racism and treatment of our people within the public-school setting. This “walk-out” resulted in the formation of the LCO Ojibwe School in 1975 and later the chartering of the LCO Ojibwe Community College in 1982. LCO has always been at the forefront of exercising education sovereignty.
The ability of our college to charter schools that will teach our true history and is a fundamental element of educational sovereignty. The partnership between the Lake Country Classical Academy and the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe College is a positive step in the right direction.
We understand that the charter school article has created tension and uneasiness in our community. The TGB respectfully request that Tribal Members who disagree or have concerns, attend the College’s Board of Regents meetings, which are held the 3rd Friday of every month, for answers to their specific questions and concerns. See the College’s website http://lco.edu for details.
We are stronger when we are united.