2014 State of the Nation Address - Chairman Craig Corn
Posoh Mawanew We Yuk “Greetings Everyone.” I would like to thank you all for coming to the Annual General Council of the Menominee Nation. I want to take a moment to thank our Menominee Veterans, David “Nahwahquaw” Grignon, and the Smokeytown singers for the opening ceremony this morning. I would also like to extend my gratitude to each member of our great Nation, many of you have stepped up on behalf of your Tribe to provide input, ideas, and creative solutions to many of the critical situations we have faced and will continue to face as a Tribal nation. Your participation in your tribal government process is valuable and I encourage you to continue your engagement with us. We represent your voice.
I would like to first offer my congratulations to the victors of the 2014 Legislative General Election. I am pleased to announce the certification by the Tribal Election Commission of the winners who will retain and join the ranks of the Menominee Tribal Legislature; myself, Vyron Dixon III, and Laurie Boivin. Congratulations! I look forward to working with you all to improve and protect the Tribe and people of our great nation in the coming legislative year. A reorganizational meeting will take place on Sunday February 9, 2014 at which time your next Executive Officers will be selected.
I would like to also recognize the following outgoing legislator(s) for their service and commitment to the Tribe and people; Orman “Chief” Waukau and Myrna “Tudy” Warrington. Throughout your respective term(s) you have each brought valuable skills, experience, and expertise to the Legislative body. You undertook challenges and brought forward resolutions to critical tribal issues. On behalf of the Menominee Tribe, I commend your service to our Tribe and your people. Waewaenon.
It has been an honor serving you, the people of the Menominee Nation, as Chairman for a second consecutive year. We have faced and overcome many challenges, most importantly are those that pose impact on sovereignty and longevity of our Tribe. In 2013, the Tribal government weathered the financial crises of federal fiscal continuing resolutions that in essence reduced federal allocations across Indian Country, which eventually culminated with sequestration and federal government shut-down. During these times of economic crisis, the Tribe maintained operational levels without having to reduce hours or reduce staff. We have faced and overcome challenges of serious uncertainty. Yet, our Tribe has persevered due to the valuable input and creative solutions brought forward by the staff of the Tribe and our leaders. We will continue to make those fiscal decisions in the best interest of the Tribe and people.
While we have stared in the face of adversity, we have also enjoyed success in 2013. Here are a few highlights from this past year:
• The Tribe’s application pertaining to the Off-Reservation Casino in Kenosha was approved by the BIA, Assistant Secretary, Kevin Washburn. The application is now sitting on Governor Walker’s desk for approval.
• The Tribe was successful in obtaining support from 9 of the 11 Wisconsin Tribes, in addition to establishing a business relationship relating to our Off-Reservation Casino project.
• Menominee Kenosha Gaming Authority and Seminole Hard Rock International entered into a term agreement for development/management of the Off-Reservation Casino in Kenosha
• The Air & Water Quality Taskforce was established to address concerns voiced by Tribal members during the last General Council pertaining to mining activity within the State. I will report on the progress of this taskforce later.
• The Tribe participated in Phase I of the Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction Pilot Project with the Department of Interior and Department of Justice to address and gain expertise on the unique jurisdictional issues that impact the safety of our tribal people. Through participation with the Intertribal Technical Assistance Workgroup, we were able to determine what steps need to occur before the Tribe is able to apply for and implement practices to exercise special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction.
• 2013 Wisconsin Act 85 was signed into law, which now recognizes the Tribe’s game transport tags.
• The Tribe has lobbied for recognition of Maehnowesekiyah Wellness Center and the College of the Menominee Nation as service providers in areas related to Intoxicated Driving offenses. We continue to push for this recognition as it will provide culturally relevant treatment for OWI offenders, while also reducing the financial burden and barriers to employment through the loss of driving privileges faced by our Tribal membership affected by substance abuse.
Many issues were moved forward, albeit in committee or at the legislative level. Yet on some issues, more work still needs to be done. The momentum to protect the Tribal people and resources will not stop in the coming legislative year. We will continue to move forward to progress current initiative that address these issues and remain alert to new policy and legislation that poses impact to the Tribe and its membership.
I would like to thank you for this opportunity.