Faculty note: Leary publishes paper on treaty rights, Wisconsin’s Act 31

The summer issue of Mazina’igan, published by the Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission, features a lengthy article by UW-Green Bay’s JP Leary of the First Nations Studies and Humanistic Studies faculties. Leary’s paper is titled “Act 31: Issues and Origins.” It recounts how the statute mandating K-12 instruction in Indian history, culture and tribal sovereignty became law in 1989 in the wake of much-publicized conflicts at northern Wisconsin boat landings as tribal members exercised their newly reaffirmed spearfishing rights. Indian communities and educators had high hopes at the time of the bill’s passage, Leary writes, but over the years that initial optimism faded, and some began to question the commitment of local schools, districts and the state Department of Public Instruction to promoting education about Wisconsin’s Indian people. On balance, however, Act 31 has been successful, Leary concludes. He cites recent positive indicators for state-tribal relations and efforts to teach First Nations issues. Download a PDF of the magazine and article.