MENOMINEE RESERVATION - A 2019 bill aiming to create a task force focused on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, or MMIW, failed to come up for a vote in Madison. Attorney General Kosh Kaul knows the issue is too important to public safety to do nothing.
"I think that this is too important an issue to wait for the next legislative session and then not be sure what's gonna happen so we went ahead and created this task force," says Kaul.
The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Task Force will bring together leadership from Wisconsin's 11 tribal nations, along with municipal, county, state, federal, and tribal law enforcement.
Their first priority is getting a firm grasp on just how bad this issue really is.
"Well as far as data goes, we don't have accurate data," says Rachel Fernandez, an organizer with Manikanaehkem, Community Rebuilders. Manikanaehkem is based in the Menominee Nation, advocating for a holistic approach to healing communities.
"We get lost in that shuffle of violence -- of everything that's going on," says Fernandez.
There are three ongoing investigations announced at the July press conference for the Task Force. Fernandez says there are far more, and more coming forward every day.
"The women are leading right now and we're doing this work because we honor those ancestors who endured years and years of struggle, oppression, assimilation, genocide -- now that everybody is ready, and I think that's a key word, ready, to talk about everything, it's important that we do our part in leading," says Fernandez.
Allyship is important, but the job of non-natives is to support, not lead. "Saving them" was a rallying cry for centuries of genocide, forced assimilation, and other forms of historical and ongoing violence against Indigenous people. Even well-intended, the idea carries forward the colonizer mentality.
"I tell my friends that are trying to do that. "Oh what can I do, I'm gonna come to that meeting, I'm gonna do this" and I'm like - you need to slow up, and you need to listen, and you need to understand that you're not here to save us, you're here to stand with us," says Fernandez.
MADISON - The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature on Wednesday appealed a federal court ruling that allows for absentee ballots to be counted up to six days after the Nov. 3 presidential election in the battleground state.
The appeal was expected after Monday's highly anticipated court ruling in favor of Democrats and their allies. The judge even put his ruling on hold for seven days in anticipation of a quick appeal.
CHICAGO - Chicago officials Tuesday told visitors from Wisconsin for the second time that they must remain in quarantine for two weeks if they visit the city.
The order set to take effect Friday comes as Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers declared a "new public health emergency" because of a spike in coronavirus cases in that state and extended a statewide mask mandate there until Nov. 21.
ANTIGO - The Wild Ones Northwoods Gateway Chapter created a butterfly garden in Antigo to help pollinators such as bees, birds, and butterflies. They created a space that can be enjoyed and used to teach people how they can help the environment with native plants and the sustainable landscaping movement.
The president of the Wild Ones Antigo Chapter, Christine Macklem, is an avid gardener that wanted to figure out how to make a butterfly garden for the community. She believes Wild Ones can help along with the Lumberjack Community Project Grant Program.
"The one mission we had in mind was to educate the public about native plants and pollinators and to build this butterfly garden," said Macklem.
Julie Rose, is a concerned environmentalist that hopes the garden will help sustain the native bees that are vital to our agriculture and human community. Including the birds that contribute to pollinating.
"There's been a steep decline in bird population, for the same reason as habitat degradation, pesticide use, and climate change," said Rose.
Ann Savagian studied biology with an emphasis in botany which brought her to Wild Ones.
"To encourage people to turn at least part of their property their landscape into a native habitat so that it supports plants that are needed by not just pollinators, but by the birds and the mammals and so on," said Savagian.
This garden is an educational tool for children in elementary school where they hope to teach children about the importance of bees and other pollinators.
"We want people to walk the path in Antigo. We want them to park their car and just come in and sit and meditate on the benches and learn about what we're doing right here," said Macklem.
The garden was created in July 2020 and the chapter is open to new members. If you would like to learn more or donate you can visit their Facebook group Wild Ones Northwoods Gateway Chapter.
MADISON - Faced with soaring coronavirus cases across Wisconsin, particularly on college campuses, Gov. Tony Evers on Tuesday extended a statewide mask mandate until Nov. 21.
The order, which has been in effect since August, was scheduled to expire on Monday. Evers extended the order even as his authority to issue a previous mandate is being challenged by conservatives in court.
UNITED STATES - The death toll in the U.S. from the coronavirus has topped 200,000, a figure unimaginable eight months ago when the scourge first reached the world's richest nation.
That's according to the count kept by Johns Hopkins University, based on figures from state health authorities. The real number of dead is thought be much higher, in part because many COVID-19 deaths, especially early on, were probably ascribed to other causes.
The number of dead in the U.S. is equivalent to a 9/11 attack every day for 67 days. It is roughly equal to the population of Salt Lake City or Huntsville, Alabama.
Scholl Community Impact Group in Winchester offers equine assisted therapy.
Director Lenelle Scholl, started Blazing A New Trail Autism Support Group in 2009 to increase children's physical and social skills. Student's from Rhinelander to Three Lakes travel to the facility to receive therapy and learn how to ride. According to Scholl, the connection between horse and human can build a really close bond.
"The movement of the horse stimulates connections that really no one can explain," says Scholl. The movement of the horse, and each horse is built differently like we are and we move differently and each horse makes a different connection with the students.
The program doesn't only accommodate students with disabilities but the program is bully friendly. Kids that have a difficulty communicating will walk out of here talking, kids that don't understand why bullying is not okay will build some sensitivity.
The program has about 30 volunteers and the care extended is unmatched.
"We have about 30 volunteers from all walks of life. No one in our group gets paid. My instructors don't get paid, I don't get paid, nobody gets paid," says Scholl. We're there because we want to make a difference in these kids' lives.
Anyone who is interested in the program can sign up or if you simply want to learn how to ride, they're always available.
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