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Lac du Flambeau Tribal leader accuses Joint Finance Committee of discrimination

Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa

The biennial budget passed earlier this year put aside $11 million in tribal gaming revenue to be used as grant money for the Tribes.

The Department of Administration requested the Joint Finance Committee award each of the 11 federally recognized tribes in Wisconsin $1 million dollars from this fund to be used to pay for expenses not related to gaming.

Instead, the Republican-controlled committee voted to award $1 million to 9 of the 11 tribes, keeping $2 million reserved in the supplemental program revenue appropriation.

The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa were excluded.

The committee didn’t say why they excluded those two tribes when voting on the funding.

In joint-letters sent to the JFC Chairs and Governor Evers, the tribe’s elected leaders called it a “discriminatory act”.

The letters states, “Our Tribal members, who are also residents of Wisconsin, deserve an explanation as to why they are being singled out for such discriminatory treatment.”

It calls on the state to “rectify the situation” and award each Bad River and Lac du Flambeau Tribes $1 million dollars, the same amount given to the other tribes in the state.

Lac du Flambeau Tribal President John Johnson Sr. also sent a separate letter to the tribes that received the funding.

In it, Johnson speculates his Tribe was not awarded the funding as a response to the Tribe’s ongoing dispute with private landowners and the Town of Lac du Flambeau over road easements.

He calls on the other tribes to either reject the funding or accept them under “outspoken protest of the unequal treatment.”

The Lac du Flambeau Tribe is in Sen. Mary Felzkowski’s District.

She’s also on the Joint Finance Committee.

WXPR emailed one of her staff members for comment. We will update you if we hear back.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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