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Forest Co. Potawatomi Chair Daniels Speaks To Legislature

Forest County Potawatomi

The chairman of the Forest County Potawatomi community covered topics ranging from the opioid epidemic to environmental protection during the annual State of the Tribes address.

Chairman Ned Daniels spoke to state lawmakers Tuesday. Daniels said opioids have hit native communities especially hard, as he knows first-hand. He and his wife are helping care for some of their grandkids because of the epidemic.

“Opioids are tearing apart our communities. One by one they’re killing our people. They’re leaving our families devastated and young ones without parents. It should not be this way. We need to continue to work to stop this devastation.”

Daniels thanked lawmakers working on the “HOPE” agenda, to help combat addiction. He said for native communities, it is important to provide treatment while also healing people according to cultural beliefs. Daniels also raised the issue of human trafficking, saying native girls and women are being exploited and affected by violence at disproportionately high rates.

“This is a serious issue and something we can not afford to turn our eyes from. The harm caused by these devastating acts leave lasting impressions on not only the victims but also the families and their communities. We need to address and treat the problems posed by human trafficking.”

He thanked lawmakers who have worked to create a state task force on murdered and missing tribal women and girls. Daniels told lawmakers that ensuring clean, safe water is not a partisan issue, and that we must do more to address climate change.

“Our traditional values teach us to respect all living things. To take only what we need from Mother Earth and to preserve the air, water and soil for our children and grandchildren. There might not be anything more important than insuring the sustainability of our most precious and valuable natural resources for future generations.”

Daniels says there are many great things happening because of Wisconsin tribes. He says they own businesses that employ thousands, and are the largest employers in many communities. Comments in this story were courtesy of Wisconsin Eye.

John Burton is the WXPR Morning Edition Host.
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