Sokaogon Chippewa Community News

18th Annual State of the Tribes Address

The 18th Annual State of the Tribes Address was held on Tuesday.

Chairman VanZile gave the prayer and shared words of wisdom with those present. Speaking both in English and Ojibwe, he honored Indigenous Veterans and prayed for peace in Ukraine and in the world.

President Shannon Holsey of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians, and Chair of the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council, gave this year’s address.

She spoke of issues important to the Tribes, including education, the environment and maintaining a healthy state of mind. She noted the Tribes’ efforts to protect our people, and shared that she felt it was, “awe inspiring and a testament of love for the people we serve.”

She honored the efforts of Ernie Stevens, Sr. of the Oneida Nation, and Ada Deer, of the Menominee Nation, during their ground-breaking tenure at the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs in the 1970s, managing the transition from federal termination to Tribal Sovereignty. She shared the need for Tribes to continue to find new revenue streams in farming and timber harvesting. She talked of the Enbridge Line #5 and the horrific environmental impact on the surrounding waters and communities, natural sources of food and ancient medicines. She reiterated the need to safeguard the tributaries and coastal waters.

She spoke of employment, voting rights, climate change, protection of our relatives the wolves, Native identity and the efforts to develop relevant curriculum with educators. She noted the perils of addiction and the opioid crisis, and said that “we are so close” to building a Native adolescent wellness center in partnership with the state.

In conclusion, President Holsey emphasized the contributions of Indigenous culture on Wisconsin and the contribution our Youth can make in the future. “Once thought of as remnants of humans past that disappeared in the fog of history, Indigenous peoples and their ancient wisdom are more relevant than ever,” she said. “And against all odds, we are still here today.”

Click on the image or here to view Chairman VanZile’s prayer and President Holsey’s address.