"Members of the Wisconsin Legislature listened politely and applauded in the proper places Tuesday when Arlyn Ackley presented the fifth annual State of the Tribes address. Time will tell if the speech made any difference.
Ackley, the chairman of the Sokaogon Chippewa Tribe, was most effective when he departed from the prepared remarks to emphasize his point, and he did that frequently.
On matters of infrastructure and the federal stimulus package, for example, he spoke with passion about a clinic his Mole Lake tribe would like to build for its elders and said the state's help is needed. He spoke enthusiastically about the increased number of images from Indian Country in Wisconsin's tourism promotion materials.
"Visitors are saying, 'Hey, there are tribes in Wisconsin, let's go check one out,'" Ackley said, adding that the promotional efforts are "doing something for the benefit of all of us in the tourism industry."
And he said as the state considers expanding highways to four lanes, it should think about upgrading U.S. 8, a major east-west route from St. Croix Falls to Upper Michigan near Niagara: "We need your help to bring people to the northern part of the state, too." That project is not currently on the state's radar screen, but it could provide a valuable link between Minnesota — and its business and tourist dollars — and the northern third of Wisconsin."
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Editorial: Legislature needs to listen when state tribes speak
(The Green Bay Press-Gazette 2/25)
State of the Tribes Address from Sokaogon Chippewa Chairman Arlyn Ackley
(February 24, 2009)