MADISON, Wis. (WFRV) – Today members of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin rallied in Madison to try and change the Governor’s mind on a casino project. Several of them walked 155 miles from Keshena to the capitol.
The Menominee Tribe wants to build an $800 million casino complex in Kenosha.
However, Governor Scott Walker has repeatedly denied the project.
With a deadline looming tomorrow, the tribe took to the streets to make their voices heard.
“I excused my two [kids] out of the Oneida Turtle School today because it is a part of history” says Jennifer Barnes from Green Bay.
The turnout stirred emotions for Gary Besaw, Chairman of the Menominee Tribe. “It makes my heart sing. It shows that we as Menominee people still care for each other”.
Marching in wind chills 15 below zero, several hundred casino supporters made a last ditch effort to change the Governor’s mind.
For about a dozen members of the Menominee Tribe it was the final leg of a long, bitter cold walk from Keshena to the capitol.
“The governor has known and his staff has known for a long time. We did not sneak up on him with this march” Besaw explains.
Governor Walker has repeatedly closed the door on this issue, and his door stayed closed at the capitol today as well.
“Nobody is available at all today” a police officer told the Chairman.
“I am dismayed. This is too big of an opportunity” Besaw says. “It very much would have helped out all of the taxpayers in Wisconsin. The Governor gave up a once in a lifetime opportunity”.
The tribe says the project would bring more than 10,000 new jobs to the state.
“It is important says Charlotte Menore from Keshena. “We need this. Not just a casino. It is a livelihood. We are struggling”.
While the rally in the rotunda did not generate a face to face meeting with the Governor, it did have an impact on members of the tribe.
“Casino or no casino we will always be Menominee strong” says Menore.
Several communities outside of Wisconsin have approached the tribe with interest in the casino project.
They are waiting until tomorrow’s approval deadlines passes before exploring those options.