The issues of opioid addiction and missing and murdered indigenous women were raised at the Capitol, during Tuesday’s 16th annual State of the Tribes Address, presented by Forest County Potawatomi Community Chairman Ned Daniels, Jr. He spoke of the toll opioid addiction has taken on the state. “It has likely impacted many of you sitting here today. Unfortunately I know firsthand the pain and suffering this epidemic is causing families.

Daniels said he and his wife are now raising some of their own grandchildren. “We need to continue to work to stop this devastation,” he said. Daniels thanked Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) and other lawmakers who he said had been “tenacious” in advancing the HOPE agenda to combat opioid addiction.

Daniels also brought up the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women. “Native women and girls are being exploited, trafficked and subjected to violence at disproportionately high rates,” he said. “We encourage you to include missing, murdered Native women and girls when advancing any human trafficking legislation.”

Wisconsin is home to 11 Native American tribes, and the address has been delivered annually since 2005. This was the first time a Chairman from the Potawatomi has delivered the speech, according to a release from Assembly Speaker Robin Vos. “It’s through increased communications and an understanding of our mutual concerns that we can better address the issues together,” Vos said.

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