Loading

58°F

58°F

59°F

59°F

59°F

58°F

56°F

56°F

59°F
NEWS STORIES

"Our people are hurting": Challenges on Menominee Reservation explain tribe's push for Kenosha casinoSubmitted: 07/21/2014
Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com


KESHENA - Most things on the Menominee Indian Reservation seem to have a waiting list.

The tribal daycare center?

Waiting list.

"We could help more parents if we had the staffing ability," says Department of Early Childhood Services Director Penny Escalante. "Right now, we don't have that staffing ability, so we have 90 people on the waiting list."

The tribal clinic?

Too much waiting, not enough care.

"It would sure be nice to have more resources to work with," says Jerry Waukau, the Tribal Health Administrator.

"We just are one of the poorest of the poor," Laurie Boivin puts it bluntly.

She's the Menominee Tribal Chairwoman.

"We are the oldest indigenous tribe to what is now the state of Wisconsin," Boivin says proudly.

The tribe has been in what's now Wisconsin for around 12,000 years.

But the Menominee have struggled since Congress took action to "terminate", or end the special relationship with, the tribe in 1954.

They got federal recognition back 19 years later, but it has never been the same.

"We have people that we turn away every day that we simply don't have enough money to service," Boivin regrets.

Menominee County has the highest poverty in the state, the worst health, and nearly the worst unemployment.

The tribe's reservation makes up the entire county.

If the tribe simply had a way to make more money, members say, it could alleviate those problems and give members a more stable life.

"We need help. This type of money coming in will help in those ways and a myriad of other ways," says Gary Besaw.

Besaw's talking about the huge amount of revenue the tribe could get from a proposed off-reservation casino in Kenosha.

"With Kenosha, we see this as a godsend as far as employment, jobs, and the boost to the economy," says Besaw, the Menominee Kenosha Gaming Authority Chairman.

The decision of whether that casino will be allowed rests with one person - the Governor.

Governor Walker asked for, and got, an extension until February 19, 2015, to make that decision.

The Forest County Potawatomi strongly oppose the plan.

As part of their opposition, they fear it could hurt the success of their Milwaukee hotel and casino.

But the Menominee feel their concerns are just as pressing.

"We have 145-family waiting list, which doesn't move a whole lot," says Shane Dixon Sr., the Tribal Housing Acting Director.

That waiting list theme is true for housing, too.

"People need immediate housing, and we just don't have it. (We're forced to tell them), we're sorry, we can't help you at this minute," Dixon says.

More money could also help the Menominee improve their worst-in-the-state health ranking.

"We can't give you all of the stuff you want," Waukau says of the care his clinic can give. "We'll give you life-threatening stuff, we'll give you maybe some testing, but it's not everything."

The majority of money for tribal programs now comes from the tribe's small-to-medium-size casino on their reservation in Keshena.

"We don't generate enough income, because we're a rural casino, to meet the tribal needs," says Jim Reiter, the General Manager of the Menominee Casino Resort.

The Menominee are in a tough spot.

It's a tough spot leaders at places like the daycare center, tribal housing, and the clinic think Kenosha casino money could help solve.

"Yes, at the end of the day, it comes down to funding," Boivin says.

"We need the casino," Besaw adds.

"Our people are hurting here," Waukau says. "I think our job as leaders is to take away the hurt."

The Menominee people hope the Governor will side with them.

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS
Dog kills 7-year-old boy in eastern WisconsinSubmitted: 10/25/2014

TOWN OF HUSTISFORD - A 7-year-old boy has died after being severely bitten by a dog in Dodge County of eastern Wisconsin.

The Dodge County Sheriff's Office says in a statement that the incident was reported just before 5:30 p.m. Friday in the Town of Hustisford.

Lt. Brian Loos says that a 911 caller said the boy was bleeding profusely. He says dispatchers began to talk the mother through CPR while numerous agencies responded. But the child died at the scene despite extensive lifesaving efforts.

The statement says names, addresses and additional information about the nature of the incident and the dog won't be released for now out of respect to the family.

+ Read More
Nearly a century later, Goodman's Draxler honored with Purple HeartSubmitted: 10/24/2014

Play Video

GOODMAN - John Draxler deserves the respect and honor from the people of his hometown of Goodman, and all of northern Wisconsin.

He's always had it.

But on Friday, 96 years after his combat injuries during World War I, and 40 years after his death, it became tangible.

Draxler's family was presented with a Purple Heart.

+ Read More
Wisconsin court won't reconsider voter ID caseSubmitted: 10/24/2014

MADISON - The Wisconsin Supreme Court has refused to reconsider whether the state's voter photo identification law is unconstitutional.

Republicans passed the law in 2011. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the immigrant group Voces de la Frontera as well as the League of Women Voters challenged the mandate in separate lawsuits. The state Supreme Court concluded in July that the law is constitutional in both cases.

+ Read More
Kids with disabilities tour local businesses, practice networking skillsSubmitted: 10/24/2014

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Kids with disabilities can sometimes have a difficult time finding a job.

Special education teachers at Rhinelander High School want to change that. They set up the "Amazing Race To Employment" for their students.

Students with disabilities went to different local businesses today. The race gave them a chance to ask managers questions about working at the business.

+ Read More
Vilas Food Pantry needs helpSubmitted: 10/24/2014

EAGLE RIVER - A Northwoods food pantry could struggle to put food on their shelves this fall. Vilas Food Pantry volunteers need more donations and money to feed people in need, this includes more than 250 local families. This is the first time they've needed to ask the public for help in more than ten years.

"People get laid-off and they have needs," said Vilas Food Pantry Director Richard Short. "That's what we're here for, we want to make sure everyone knows that if they have a need, you're welcome to come."

+ Read More
Wisconsin health officials start Ebola hotlineSubmitted: 10/24/2014

MADISON - Wisconsin state health officials have launched an Ebola hotline.

The state Department of Health Services announced Friday that the line is for fielding questions Wisconsin residents have about the Ebola virus. The toll-free number is 844-684-1064.

+ Read More
Hulsey launches write-in candidacy for governorSubmitted: 10/24/2014

MADISON - Just 12 days before the election, state Representative Brett Hulsey says he is running for governor as an independent write-in candidate.

Hulsey lost the Democratic primary to Mary Burke, earning 16 percent of the vote.

Hulsey announced Thursday that he was mounting a last-minute write-in campaign, but if it appears the effort is helping Republican Governor Scott Walker, he will stop.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 




Click Here