Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan of the White Earth Nation shoulders a uniquely Native responsibility when it comes to governing. Unlike most of the United State’s elected officials, Flanagan must answer to the “auntie burden.
“My aunties will come for me if I don’t do the work,” she said.
“We’ve done quite a bit of work in these first 100 days,” said Flanagan, the first Native American woman to serve as Minnesota’s lieutenant governor. Her work with Governor Tim Walz has included hiring 24 state agency commissioners and creating a state budget.
“We met with our One Minnesota Transition Advisory Board made up of leaders across the state who helped us identify priorities for commissioners we were hiring and help in putting a budget together and helping us lay the groundwork for community engagement,” she said.
“We are doing our work while looking through a lens of equity and inclusion; we believe that people directly affected by policy should have a seat at the table,” she said.
Executive order 19-24 requires each state agency to identify a tribal liaison and create a timeline for tribal consultation. Past orders exempted some agencies.
“It is time for policy being done to Indian people to stop, and for policy to be done in partnership with Native Nations to begin and continue.
That order changes that.”
The use of traditional healers and the work being done in the Native community to provide traditional, rehabilitative, and restorative services.
Invests in training at the Minnesota Department of Transportation that support our commitment to respect treaty rights and tribal sovereignty across all levels of state government.Stabilizes and equalizes funding for American Indian tribal schools for the first time to ensure our state better serves American Indian students.
Supports culturally specific reentry programs for Indigenous people who are incarcerated, so that they have the tools they need to successfully reenter communities and reconnect with families.Funds the formation of a task force on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women to address the growing crisis facing our Indigenous communities across our state and country.
Provides full funding for investments in tribes’ child welfare delivery system to support the costs of out-of-home placements, helping to ensure more American Indian children are placed with people they know and trust.
Paid for in part by raising the state’s gas tax by .
MFIP is Minnesota’s version of the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and provides families with financial assistance for food, clothing, rent as well as job training and finding employment.
If we want to get serious about making sure everyone in the state who ne it has an opportunity to lift their families out of poverty we need to increase funding for social programming,” Flanagan said.
Now she and Walz must get buy-in for their budget from a divided state legislature.
For instance, despite Republican support, the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s bill first introduced in 2018 by Democratic Representative Mary Kunesh-Podein of the Standing Rock Nation failed to move to the Senate. The bill would create a task force that would report to the legislature about the causes and extent of victimization of Indigenous women and girls in the state as well as offer strategies to reduce and end violence.
“There is no excuse not to move forward with this bill. In the grand scheme of the overall budget, it won’t’ cost much.
“My hope is that the MMIW bill won’t be used as a bargaining chip at the end of the session.
Davids, D-Kansas is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation. Rep.
Mary Annette Pember has covered Indian Country for several years for Indian Country Today, and other publications. She has won numerous industry awards and fellowships including the Clarion, Native American Journalists Association Photographer of the Year, Medill Milestone Achievement Award, Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellowship, USC Annenberg National Health Journalism and others for her coverage of sex trafficking, missing and murdered indigenous women, sexual assault, impact of historical trauma and other topics.
She is an enrolled member of the Red Cliff Band of Wisconsin Ojibwe.
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