Feingold Questioned by Tribal College Students

Aug 15th, 2004 | By | Category: 16-1: Sovereignty in Indian Country, Tribal College News
By Lela Schwitzer

It’s not everyday that you have a U.S. senator on campus, especially at a tribal college. So when U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) held what he called “a listening session” at the College of Menominee Nationin Keshena, WI, he got an earful.

Attendees bombarded the Wisconsin senator with questions — and opinions — about veterans’ benefits, the war in Iraq, tribal gaming, prescription drug prices, Indian health care, fish and wildlife policies, adoptive adults’ rights to their records, loss of jobs to foreign countries, federal anti-littering initiatives, and tribal college funding.

Feingold, who holds open meetings in each of Wisconsin’s 72 counties every year, came to the tribal college at the invitation of Dr. Verna Fowler, the college president.

More than 70 people attended the hour-long session Feb. 18, making it one of the largest such meetings in Menominee County since Feingold began holding them 12 years ago. Joan Delabreau, the Menominee tribal chairperson, said she was glad that the listening session was held at the college because it gave it an educational focus.

“It showed Senator Feingold how much education benefits our tribal membership and how it has propelled them into the forefront,” Delabreau said.

Fowler said she was encouraged by the turnout because she said it’s important for Native Americans to participate in the political process. “There are two major things in our lives that affect us daily: Politics affects your daily life just as much as your spiritual beliefs do, whether or not you’re paying taxes, getting your student grant money, or need prescription drugs that you can’t afford,” Fowler said.

Lela Schwitzer ( Menominee) is a student at Silver Lake College in Manitowoc, WI, and a graduate of the College of Menominee Nation. This article is reprinted with permission from reznet.

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