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First Lady Jill Biden and Secretary Deb Haaland highlight Indigenous communities in Wisconsin visit

First Lady Jill Biden touring a Menominee Nation sawmill
Posted at 5:29 PM, Oct 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-10 19:53:41-04
  • First Lady Jill Biden and Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland toured the Menominee Reservation in northeast Wisconsin.
  • The group stopped at a sawmill, a middle school, a college, and the College of Menominee Nation's Women's Empowerment Summit.
  • The visit was to show the Biden administration is focusing on sustainable agriculture and the needs of indigenous communities.

First Lady Jill Biden and Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland visited northeast Wisconsin with a few distinct goals: in addition to speaking to a women’s empowerment summit, they hoped to bring attention to the needs of indigenous people in the area—like broadband internet, improved infrastructure and sustainable agriculture.
“I saw how the Menominee people and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are working together to bring federal resources here so that the tribe can continue to sustainably manage the forest using knowledge that has passed down from generation to generation,” Biden said during her visit.

The Menominee Tribe owns and operates a sawmill on the reservation, to which Biden and Haaland paid a visit. They met with tribal leaders and sought to show that the Biden administration is focused on sustainable agriculture and economic development.

The group also had a few unplanned stops, like one to a school, where children held signs in support of Biden and Haaland. Haaland is herself a Native American and citizen of the Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico.

“Indigenous peoples, and indigenous women in particular, are at the forefront of our fight to protect the lands, waters, and wildlife that give us everything we need to live and thrive,” Haaland said during her visit.

They also made a stop at the College of Menominee Nation, where the two women spoke to instructors and students about sustainable agriculture.

The visit concluded with the College of Menominee Nation’s Women’s Empowerment Summit and Training, where both guests spoke about the role of women in leadership.

“We are determined to ensure that women like you, and future generations of leaders who will shape our communities for the better, have the resources we all need to thrive,” Haaland said.

Biden echoed the sentiment.

“Your leadership and wisdom will inspire the girls who will inherit this earth,” she told the crowd.

The visit focused on the ways the Menominee Nation will most immediately and directly see the work the administration is doing, like in building this schoolyard at Menominee Tribal School.

This move comes as both political parties eye the state of Wisconsin, which could be pivotal in shaping the 2024 election.