Governor, Wisconsin tribes sign collaborative agreements

Governor Tony Evers, (D) WI, signed tribal consultation agreements on Thursday at the Oneida...
Governor Tony Evers, (D) WI, signed tribal consultation agreements on Thursday at the Oneida Indian Reservation.(WBAY)
Published: Dec. 9, 2021 at 9:34 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers was in the Green Bay area along with leaders of Wisconsin’s federally recognized tribes Thursday to sign an agreement that was last updated 17 years ago.

The agreement is meant to cement a collaboration between state government and Native Nations for access to resources.

Governor Evers says his administration sought to build up its relationship with tribal nations, and Thursday that work was put on display.

“These agreements are a recognition that there is tremendous potential for the state and tribes to work together to benefit everybody,“ he said.

“[This is] aimed at increasing ties between the state agencies and tribal governments in order to streamline and approve the services that our governments provide to tribal and non-tribal citizens,” Oneida Nation Chair Tehassi Hill added.

On the Oneida reservation, the governor signed sovereignty agreements with Wisconsin’s 11 federally recognized tribes. This provides the nations with access to state resources, which have proved critical in the pandemic, especially with health services.

Then-Governor Jim Doyle first established this agreement in 2004 through an executive order. The documents haven’t been renewed since then, according to Governor Evers.

Shannon Holsey, president of Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans, says tribes have seen the most engagement under the current administration.

Holsey said the native nations deal with “systematic challenges that we face with gaps from wealth, and education gaps, and other things, health care gaps and things that plague our tribal communities.” She highlighted this as meaning and an opportunity.

An example of signing these agreements is gaming. The tribes contribute to the state’s bottom line with their casino revenues. This partnership allows tribes to also see some of that money and invest it locally.

“We need to make sure that in this relationship we as the State of Wisconsin hold ourselves accountable,” Gov. Evers said.

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