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Indigenous right to vote to be discussed Oct. 18 at Ripon College

The indigenous right to vote will be the focus of a discussion Oct. 18 at Ripon College. Renee Gralewicz, an elder and peacemaker for the Brothertown Nation and descendant of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans, and Maria Haskins, a regional tribal organizer in the Lac Courte Oreilles, Oneida and Stockbridge communities, will discuss strategies to expand the U.S. indigenous right to vote and put them into historical context.

“U.S. Indigenous Right to Vote: Challenges Today Reflect Those of the Past,” will begin at 6:30 p.m. in Kresge Little Theatre, East Hall, on the Ripon College campus. It will be free and open to the public.

The sponsors are the Center for Politics and the People, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion and the League of Women Voters of the Ripon Area.

Gralewicz’s journey started in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and led her across the globe, primarily through the U.S. Army. After retiring from the Army with the rank of major, she earned a Ph.D. from Washington State University and worked within the University of Wisconsin system, retiring in 2020 from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. She has since focused her work on indigenous rights, particularly on the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people.

She is a member of the Wisconsin Department of Justice Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Relatives Task Force; outreach and education coordinator for Waking Women Healing Institute; and a Brothertown representative on a Native Northeast Research Collaborative National Endowment for the Humanities grant.

Haskins works in advocacy, grassroots and social justice movements. She began working alongside Wisconsin Conservation Voices for the 2020 elections and joined Wisconsin Conservation Voices officially in July 2022 as Regional Tribal Organizer. She educates and registers voters by spreading information at community events and canvassing door-to-door with volunteers.

She is originally from the West Allis/West Milwaukee area and has lived in Shawano since she was a teenager. She and her family have advocated for Indigenous rights for decades. She holds a master’s degree in social work.