September 21, 2023
Sokaogon Chippewa chief requires motion on public well being and security in 2023 State of the Tribes tackle

Sokaogon Chippewa chief requires motion on public well being and security in 2023 State of the Tribes tackle

By Hurt Verhuizen, AP

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The chief of a northeastern Wisconsin tribe implored lawmakers on March 14 to do extra to deal with threats to public well being and security that disproportionately have an effect on Native Individuals.

Robert Van Zile, chairman of the Sokaogon Chippewa Neighborhood, known as for actions to extend entry to well being care on tribal lands, combat air pollution and finish violence towards Native American ladies as he delivered the annual State of the Tribes tackle to a joint session of the Wisconsin Legislature.

Van Zile requested lawmakers to increase Medicaid eligibility for Native Individuals and permit nurse practitioners to deal with tribal sufferers with out a doctor’s supervision.

“The tribes face an enormous barrier with recruiting and retaining medical workers because the pandemic,” he mentioned. “It’s very tough for a tribe to compete with wages for well being care professionals.”

He additionally requested the Republican-controlled Legislature to assist an merchandise in Democratic Gov. Tony Evers funds devoting practically $3.7 million yearly to create an Workplace of Lacking and Murdered Indigenous Ladies inside the state Division of Justice.

“The lacking and murdered indigenous ladies, or MMIW, disaster impacts everybody in our state, no matter age, race or political social gathering,” Van Zile mentioned.

Wisconsin doesn’t formally observe statewide numbers of lacking and murdered indigenous ladies. A 2016 research by the Nationwide Institute of Justice discovered that 84.3% of American Indian and Alaska Native ladies have skilled violence of their lifetime, together with 56.1% who’ve skilled sexual violence. Evers’ proposed workplace would administer grants and provide sources to victims and witnesses to deal with what the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs has labeled a nationwide disaster.

Republican leaders have promised to start out from scratch and write their model of the funds, which Evers can revise with partial vetoes.

Rep. Mark Born, who co-chairs the Legislature’s highly effective budget-writing committee, mentioned earlier than the tackle that he plans to work with tribal leaders in the course of the funds course of, however he didn’t touch upon the specifics of Evers’ plan.

Van Zile counseled Evers for defending the treaty rights of Native Individuals to hunt, fish and collect on land throughout the state. However he pleaded with lawmakers to deal with so-called perpetually chemical compounds, also called PFAS, which have contaminated water throughout Wisconsin.

“What’s the worth of a house with no water provide, a poison nicely?” Van Zile mentioned. “I’d encourage the state to work with tribes who for lots of of years have lived near the land.”

He additionally requested for the Legislature to authorize an environmental affect research of Enbridge Line 5, a controversial oil and gasoline pipeline in northern Wisconsin that Van Zile known as “gradual, systematic poisoning of our sources.”

Hurt Venhuizen is a corps member for the Related Press/Report for America Statehouse Information Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit nationwide service program that locations journalists in native newsrooms to report on undercovered points