Oneida chairman warns of climate change, CWD in speech

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The chairman of the Oneida Nation is calling on Wisconsin lawmakers to eliminate remaining American Indian high school mascots, protect the environment and aggressively fight chronic wasting disease.

Tehassi Hill spoke Tuesday during the annual State of the Tribes address before the Legislature and Gov. Tony Evers.

"On behalf of Native American students in public school systems, I ask this team to introduce new legislation which shares the Wisconsin Indian Education Association motto, 'Teach respect, not racism,'" Hill said.

Hill said 31 Wisconsin schools still use American Indian mascots, which he says encourages racist behavior.

He warned about the effects of climate change and how shorter winters are threatening Wisconsin recreation dollars. He called chronic wasting disease an unprecedented threat to deer and asked the state to tighten deer farm regulations and devote more funding to research.

Hill also lamented tribal drug addiction, poverty and health care costs. He said Wisconsin tribes support Evers' proposal to expand Medicaid coverage.

Statements on the 15th annual State of the Tribes address

"I would like to thank Chairman Tehassi Hill of the Oneida Nation and the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council for participating in the annual State of the Tribes address in the Wisconsin State Assembly. It’s important that our governments continue to work together to address shared priorities and areas of concern." - Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester)

"I was honored to have the Assembly host a strong voice from northeast Wisconsin to deliver the State of the Tribes address this afternoon. The Oneida Nation is an incredibly important asset to our communities and state. I look forward to continuing to collaborate with Chairman Tehassi Hill and other tribal leaders to ensure our state and tribes can keep thriving." Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna).

"I thought Chairman Tehassi Hill did a good job of continuing the discussions and the relationships between the State Legislature and Wisconsin’s tribal nations. The Oneida Nation plays a pivotal role in the culture, community, and economy of Northeast Wisconsin. It’s only fitting that their contributions to our region and our state were highlighted by a strong advocate such as Chairman Hill.... I especially would like to thank Chairman Hill for his focus on clean water during the address and for the Oneida Nation’s continued efforts to safeguard water quality for Northeast Wisconsin residents." - Sen. Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay).

"The Oneida Nation has been – and continues to be – an integral part of our Green Bay-area community. They have been an active supporter of the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, which is located in the 88th Assembly District, by generating over $240,000 for joint programming.... I am pleased that Chairman Hill was selected to give the Wisconsin State of the Tribes address to the legislature. I look forward to continuing to work with him and his colleagues in the future." - Rep. John Macco (R-Ledgeview)

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