MADISON – Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes said an acknowledgement that this land was stolen from Indigenous peoples in the recently released state Climate Change Report was the first time he’s seen such a statement to start an official government report.

The report was published last month and was produced by the governor’s 32-member Task Force on Climate Change, led by Barnes.

Barnes said it’s important to recognize Indigenous people as the original stewards of this land and it was important to seek input from the 12 Native tribes in the state for the Climate Change Report.

That input is critical because it includes thousands of years of traditional knowledge of local ecology and how it has changed over time.

“It’s important to include the guidance that has already been set and not try and reinvent the wheel,” Barnes said.

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