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On Fair Maps and Redistricting - from Mary Kay Baum and WDC




BUILD UPON RECENT YEARS


We can now be glad with the changes made in redistricting this year. Much of this improvement started in past years of working intensely for fair maps for all.

WNPJ and its members were very active for Fair Maps in 2021-2022 cooperating along with many other organizations. These included events, testimonies and YouTubes involving Justice Peche, Dan Folkman, Dan Russler, Joe Miller, Paddy Brzezinski, Paul DeMain, Sarah Hinkley, WI Progress North, etc. Our emphasis was front line communities. This brought us to study and understand and encourage dozens of maps being submitted to the People's Maps Commission emphasizing fairness for indigenous populations.  


TODAY'S IMPROVEMENT AND ITS CHALLENGE

The 2023-24 year benefited from the new map leadership of  the Midwest Alliance of Sovereign Tribes (M.A.I.N.) and the Lac du Flambeau Tribe. If nothing else, let us follow the fairness presented by their briefs, a court that “strives to preserve and keep intact local governments and political subdivisions such as counties and municipalities surely should pay the same respect to Tribal governments and their American Indian reservations. “   


Like the Wright Map, endorsed by Native groups, the Governor's Map kept the reservations whole and united as much as humanly possible. 

The far North is also much more fair than before. The older Northern districts were typically cut vertically separating tribes. But now there is much more connecting across the North horizontally in or near wild rice country.


But to this day, the regular media and the public in general were not yet covering or emphasizing this principle. Our job is to continue to work for this requirement in future maps. Many states have formally required redistricting to preserve reservations as legitimate, long-standing sovereign communities recognized federally that should be kept whole within assembly and senate districts. We can work now so our policies become legal requirements.


EXAMPLES OF RECENT WRONGDOING

Ten Wisconsin Tribes  through the Midwest Alliance of Sovereign Tribes and Lac du Flambeau Tribe Amicus Brief remind us that,"the map that the Wisconsin Legislature proposed in 2021 and that this Court adopted in 2022 divided and broke apart Wisconsin’s Indian reservations, disrespecting Tribal communities of interest. For example, the Forest County Potawatomi Community was split across two assembly districts; the Lac du Flambeau Reservation was, too. The Oneida Nation was fractured across three assembly districts, as was the St. Croix Chippewa Indians’ reservation. And the reservations of the St. Croix Chippewa and amicus curiae the Lac du Flambeau Tribe were each needlessly sliced by senate-district boundaries, as well." 


EXAMPLES OF ANCIENT BEGINNINGS

Much farther back in the 1820s, the Stockbridge-Munsee, pushed west from New York, asked to obtain some land for their use. The Menominee agreed to a US treaty that shared some of their land which adjoined what is now the Menominee Middle Village in Red Springs township of Shawano County.  All the Stockbridge Munsee are within Red Springs or Bartelme Townships of Shawano County.  So redistricting to also include some more of Shawano County into the same Assembly District honors the significant Community of Interest around these two reservations and their Shawano neighbors. Interestingly,  our work on restoring Stockbridge Munsee and all Menominee reservations was satisfied in 2022.  Still some of the 2023 maps (Legislature and Clarke) kept thiem separated. The possibility of  flipping back and forth is terrible. 


SPECIAL CELEBRATION FOR THREE TRIBES

Joe Miller of the Stockbridge Munsee, Michael Fish, Jr of the Menominee, and George Swamp of the Oneida are pictured here with Governor Evers above. These three recognized how their respective Reservations will, for the first time, be each whole and yet together within one Senate District! 

They look forward to their voices and values being heard more strongly in the Legislature due to the Governor's Map just adopted.


Mary Kay Baum

608/935-5834

821 W Browning, Appleton, WI 54914

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From the WI Democracy Campaign:


Dear Friend,

This week, we made history because of you.


After years of our collective hard work and our organization’s leadership within the Wisconsin Fair Maps Coalition, we have ended the partisan gerrymander that has disenfranchised Wisconsin voters for years [Pictured: Gov. Evers proudly displays 2023 Wisconsin Act 94 with Fair Maps Coalition partners and WDC Executive Director Nick Ramos jubilantly at his side.]


We couldn't have achieved this without your support and dedication to our organization.


For the first time in years, Wisconsinites will have the opportunity to have their voices heard at the ballot box through representation that is reflective of the will of the people.


We made it clear: Politicians shouldn't pick their voters; it should be the other way around. Even though we have made a HUGE step in the right direction, our work is not finished. Our next step? Wisconsin must adopt a nonpartisan, independent redistricting process so that we can avoid political power grabs.


You can support our work going forward: https://www.wisdc.org/get-involved/donate

Nick Ramos, Executive Director ramos@wisdc.org




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