Sokaogon Chippewa Community News

DVA Holds State Consultation in Mole Lake

Last week, the Sokaogon Chippewa Community welcomed the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) and several Tribes for the annual Tribal Consultation meeting.

This is the first time the community has hosted the WDVA Tribal Consultation.
The meeting was held at the Mole Lake Lodge the morning of November 13th, and welcomed Tribal leaders and representatives from Menominee, St. Croix, Stockbridge-Munsee and Mole Lake, and Mary Kolar, Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, and representatives from the WDVA and the Wisconsin Department of Administration.

Representatives from the Sokaogon Chippewa Community included Council Members Vickie Ackley, Carmen McGeshick, Ron Quade and Ken VanZile, along with Dean VanZile, Tribal Veterans Service Officer.

“This was a good opportunity for us to make great contacts and learn more about the beneficial services available for all Veterans,” said Vickie Ackley. “Secretary Kolar and her staff were supportive and very genuine.”

The group discussed medical care for Veterans, noting that traveling to a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital can be challenging. It was also noted that if a Veteran chooses a different medical facility, payment from the VA can often take a long period of time to be processed. State officials assured the group that this a top priority for them.

Other priorities include one-on-one assistance for Veterans facing homelessness, mental health, alcohol and drug abuse and recovery issues.

Tribal officials met Todd Marks, the Veterans Outreach and Recovery Program (VORP) Region 5 representative. The VORP program was designed to connect Veterans with community services and provide case management and support, with a special focus on treatment and recovery.

On November 7th, the WDVA Wisconsin Veterans Museum and Governor Tony Evers unveiled a unique educational exhibit highlighting the military service of dozens of Wisconsin women Veterans.

The “I Am Not Invisible” traveling exhibit, featuring 32 banners measuring six-feet tall with portraits of Wisconsin women Veterans, was unveiled during a formal ceremony at the Wisconsin State Capitol.

“Women military Veterans deserve equal recognition for their bravery and sacrifice demonstrated during their service to our country,” Governor Evers said. “This exhibit not only showcases the diversity of Wisconsin women Veterans, but it also highlights the unique stories many of them experienced in the military and afterward.”

There are about 30,000 women Veterans living in Wisconsin, or about 12% of the state’s Veteran population. With the new exhibit, Wisconsin becomes the latest state to participate in the project, which was initiated by the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs in February 2017 as a way to increase awareness and dialogue about women Veterans. Since then, the project has grown to include nine states and 14 cities. View more information about the exhibit on the Wisconsin Veterans Museum’s website.