Sokaogon Chippewa Community News

DOT Secretary Visits Sokaogon Chippewa Community

DOT Secretary Visits Sokaogon Chippewa Community

Yesterday, Chairman Chris McGeshick welcomed Dave Ross, Wisconsin Secretary of Transportation, to the Sokaogon Chippewa Community.

Joining Chairman McGeshick and Secretary Ross were Kelly Jackson, Statewide Tribal Liaison, Tribal Program Officer; Adam VanZile, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO); Cassandra Graikowski, Assistant Tribal Historic Preservation Officer; Cyless Peterson, Tribal Labor Advisory Committee (TLAC) Coordinator; Kim Kircher, TrANS Coordinator; and Sandy Stankevich, North Central Regional Tribal Liaison.

Secretary Ross talked with the group, addressing concerns including opioid and drug driving, stating, “The Tribes led the state on the opioid issue.”

“Tribal Leaders are participating in many trainings on opioid addiction and I’m learning new things at each one,” Chairman McGeshick said. “It’s helpful to our communities to be educated and updated on all of the things that are rapidly changing.”

The group also discussed road safety and training new workers for the road construction industry. Kelly Jackson shared initiatives the WisDOT Inter-Tribal Task Force (ITTF) is leading, including two programs based in the Sokaogon Chippewa Community – THPO and TLAC.

“We are getting things done and we’re seeing accomplishments. Innovative projects include culturally tailored marketing such as the TLAC Day in the Life video and the Focus Group”, Kelly shared.

The THPO program is offering a full schedule of training workshops through the end of 2018, as well as continuing their work within the Sokaogon Chippewa Community.

“These programs are bringing good things to our community. As we maintain our efforts on these projects, we also want to enhance safety within our community. Our ATV/UTV trails need updated signage and enforcement needs to accompany that. We need the state roads map so that we know the areas that affect our hunting and gathering rights,” Chairman McGeshick said.

Throughout the conversation, the group also talked about employment. Within the TLAC program, Kim Kircher has been preparing Tribal Members to be ready for work through the TrANS program. “New TrANS classes will be offered in Black River Falls and St. Croix this year,” Kelly said. Both communities are preparing Tribal Members for upcoming road construction projects.

“These consultations keep us informed, and we always receive good information,” Chairman McGeshick shared.

For more information on the WisDOT Inter-Tribal Task Force, visit

For more information on the Tribal Labor Advisory Committee, visit

For more information on the Tribal Historic Preservation Program, visit

For information on upcoming TrANS classes, please contact Kim Kircher at 715-478-7633.