The secretary of the Department of Interior has ordered a study to determine if there are unmarked cemeteries in any of the federally run Indian assimilation schools, including the Hayward Indian School.
The request of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, issued in June, follows the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves of indigenous children at schools in Canada.
"The Interior Department will address the inter-generational impact of Indian boarding schools to shed light on the unspoken traumas of the past, no matter how hard it will be," Haaland said. "I know that this process will be long and difficult. I know that this process will be painful. It won't undo the heartbreak and loss we feel. But only by acknowledging the past can we work toward a future that we're all proud to embrace."
Officials from the Bureau of Indian Affairs did not return phone calls from the Sawyer County Record.
The Hayward Indian School opened in 1901 and closed in 1934, when it became temporary housing for transients. Twenty years later, the 340-acre property became what is now Hayward Area Memorial Hospital.
Stories in the Sawyer County Record showed some children died at the school, particularly during the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1917.
According to the Nov. 28, 1918 Record, seven students between the ages of 8 and 18 had died from flu. Much of this was attributed to crowding at the school which had been built for 150 students but housed somewhere between 250 and 290 students.
There's no record of what happened to the bodies of the children, or of those who died of earlier outbreaks of measles and pneumonia in the crowded circumstances.
"We must shed light on what happened at federal boarding schools," said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland, who also delivered remarks outlining implementation of this effort. "As we move forward in this work, we will engage in Tribal consultation on how best to use this information, protect burial sites and respect families and communities."
Editor's note: If anyone has information about a cemetery on the grounds or other stories of the Hayward Indian School, please call Rich Jackson at (715) 718-6445 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A crowd of about 70 people attended Monday's meeting of the Hayward Board of Education, with more than a dozen speakers offering sometimes emotional testimony against or for requiring face coverings for the coming school year.
The board then voted 4-3 to require that all teachers, staff, students and volunteers wear face coverings inside school buildings through Oct. 18, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Then at its Oct. 19 meeting, the board will revisit the policy.
In accordance with a federal mandate, everyone riding on or driving school buses is required to wear a face covering. Students will have assigned seats.
The Hayward district will operate classes five days a week in 2021-22, with all students attending in person. There will not be a virtual option.
The first speaker at Monday's public comment session, Cindy Fuller, said wearing a mask "indicates fear and toxicity of the very air we breathe. There is psychological harm from covering up our faces and expressions. How are children supposed to grow emotionally if they're required to cover up how they're feeling?"
Shiloh and Kari Snider said they support making face coverings optional. "We should have a choice," Shiloh said.
Another speaker, Traci Lynn, said she supports mandatory face coverings. "Everyone must participate to make this work," she said. "If we lose one student or staff member to COVID, it will be too many. The decision to wear a mask should not be placed on our children."
Sawyer County Circuit Judge John Yackel said he has had a "front seat" to the opioid epidemic in the local community and the state. "It has killed more people and devastated more families in this community than the other crises we face," he said. One cause of this is "massive over-prescription of opioid pharmaceuticals," he said.
Yackel said that contrary to a sign on a highway stating that Hayward is a "DARE community" (Drug Awareness and Resistance Education), there is not a DARE program for students in the Hayward schools. He asked the board to either reinstate the program or take the sign down.
Parent Kris Thompson commended the board for "finding a middle ground. We were able to keep our kids safe and in school" during the 202021 school year.
Thompson said that "anger and emotion is not good for our community. We need to find a middle ground, a way to get past this." She urged the board to "follow the recommendation of our public health officer," which drew loud boos from the audience.
Board president Linda Plante pleaded with the audience to "maintain decorum. This is a discussion over an issue, not a personal vendetta against anyone."
Another speaker, a doctor, said the COVID-19 variant "is highly infectious. This is a virus that mutates and is as contagious as chicken pox." She urged the board to "listen to the experts" and require masking for the entire school year.
Aaron Halberg, a frequent speaker at board meetings, said, "Let the truth out. I haven't been seeing that. What we're being told is not really true." He added that "Dr. (Anthony) Fauci," director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is "as crooked as a snake," which drew loud applause from the audience.
Halberg asked the board to make wearing masks optional.
Parent Harold Miller said masking should be up to families and added that "there are no standards" for measuring the efficacy of masks. "Those who want vaccinations will get their shots," he added. "This is about choice. It's paramount to our freedom."
Board member Dr. Harry Malcolm moved that face coverings be required for all students, staff and volunteers inside school buildings through Oct. 18. Malcolm said the goals of his motion are "to keep student, staff and volunteers safe and to keep the schools open five days a week face to face."
Malcolm's motion provides that school be closed Monday, Oct. 18. Face coverings then would become optional, unless the board votes differently at its Oct. 18 meeting.
Malcolm added that school administrators will have the authority to make face coverings optional in certain school activities, such as eating lunch, speech therapy and band classes.
Malcolm added that "unfortunately, the Delta strain is real and is now showing up in our area. It seems to be affecting younger individuals with greater severity than the COVID strain we saw last year. This is a time to be cautious."
His motion will allow "other school districts (with optional face coverings) to be our guinea pigs" for the school year's first quarter, Malcolm said. "We will see how their kids do."
Board member Derek Hand said he's against mandatory masking. He cited one study that concluded that "forcing some children to wear masks amounts to child abuse."
Hand added that when kids go home, "can parents spread it (COVID 19) to them. We can't protect them 24 hours a day. Most of them probably are safer in school three to six feet apart without wearing a mask than they are at home."
Board member Jim Ahrens said medical staff have told him that in the past 18 months, they have not seen any children or anybody else hurt by wearing a mask. "I believe an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," he said. "I think this (mask wearing) is a good option for us to do for six weeks and see where we're at."
Lynell Swenson said WIAA is not requiring student athletes to wear masks at this point.
Malcolm said making masking optional now would be "taking a a big risk."
Linda Plante said she is voting for the six-week mandate.
Stacey Hessel said kids' mental health is better without a mask and there were no cases of COVID during summer school (when masks were not required).
Voting in favor of Malcolm's motion were Jim Ahrens, Mike Kelsey, Dr. Malcolm and Linda Plante. Voting against the motion were Lynell Swenson, Derek Hand and Stacey Hessel.
Following the vote, dozens of disgruntled people left the auditorium.
The board then voted 4-3 to approve the entire instructional plan for the coming school year.
In other actions Monday, the board:
• Approved free lunch and breakfast prices for all students in 2021-22. Adults will pay full price, which is $2.35 for breakfast and $3.90 for lunch.
• Accepted donations to the schools, including: Hand-knitted hats and scarves from Tammy Farley for to students; $375 from the Mullally family to purchase running shoes for participants in cross-country and track, in memory of Patrick Mullally; $1,800 from the Hayward Lions Club for the purchase of two new audiometers; $3,000 from Brian and Sibley (last name not listed) for the Hurricane girls golf team; $250 from Bates Plumbing and Heating for the Hurricane girls golf team.
• Authorized Supt. Olson to sign the closing documents for the school district to purchase 13.4 acres of land from the Hayward Sports Center.
• Accepted the resignations of high school special education teacher Ryan Dunnigan and high school English teacher Megan Kauffman.
• Approved new hires: Kip Olson as high school custodian, Lisa Krueger as intermediate school custodian, Dale Johnson as high special education teacher, Madelyn Krivinchuk as earely childhood special education aide, Leslie Lambert as one on-one special education support staff and Paula Schirmer as third grade teacher.
• Approved the transfer of Joseph Chucka from intermediate school to high school special education teacher.
Olson said there are 28 new teachers and other support staff this fall. They will have an inservice this Thursday. The first day of talent development for all staff will be Monday, Aug. 23.
Wisconsin continued to make national news when on Aug. 11 the Natural Resources Board (NRB) set a quota of 300 wolves for the coming wolf hunt, starting Nov. 6, while the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) had recommended a quota of 130 wolves.
Those opposed to hunting wolves roundly criticized the 300 quota, especially after this year's hastily organized hunt in February that resulted in taking 216 wolves in less than 60 hours, a culling that was nearly 100 more than the 119 set for non-tribal members and 16 over the 200 total quota.
"The DNR Natural Resources Board made clear that its decision to set the wolf quota at 300 has nothing to do with science or stewardship," said Michael Isham, Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission executive administrator. "This reckless approach to maiingan (Ojibwe for timber wolves) management is why tribes have filed a brief in support of lawsuits that seek the restoration of federal protection of wolves."
A Field and Streams magazine article noted that Luke Hilgemann of the Hunter Nation "lauded the quota increase" because the high rate of success of the February hunt revealed the wolf population was far greater than DNR's projections.
When timber wolves are not listed on either the federal endangered or threatened species lists Wisconsin state law requires the DNR to hold a wolf hunt between November and the end of February. In early January, the Trump administration removed the wolf from endangered species protection, but the DNR announced it would not hold a hunting season in February.
That prompted a hunting group from Kansas to challenge the DNR decision and a judge agreed, ruling against the DNR, which was required to quickly arrange for a wolf hunt at the end of February.
This year in advance of the Aug. 11 NRB meeting, the DNR had recommended a quota of 130 wolves as a compromise of between zero and the 260 it projected could be culled from wolf numbers and maintain the existing population.
Concerns were raised that because wolves were taken in February, during their breeding season, the actual size of the wolf population could have been negatively impacted with a low pup count in the spring. At last week's NRB meeting, several members argued the DNR management goal for the wolf population had consistently been 350 and the board was obligated to move in that direction.
However, representatives of the DNR, including Secretary Preston Cole, said 350 was a threshold number, or minimum number of wolves, for conducting a wolf season. But NRB members William Bruins and Terry Hilgenberg argued the 350 number had consistently been used in previous discussions for setting wolf quotas in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Cole accused the members of using the 350 for "spin" and had called on a "spin doctor."
Cole was accused by Dr. Frederick Prehn, chair of the NRB, for "editorializing," and Cole shot back that Prehn continued to preside on the board and influence the count even though his term had expired on May 1. Prehn contends he has the right to stay on the board because the Wisconsin Senate has not approved Gov. Tony Evers appointee, Sandra Naas, an Ashland High School agriculture teacher.
The DNR contends the 130 recommendation was based on the best science in the nation. It was a conservative number that addressed concerns about the impact of the February hunt on the breeding population.
Vice Chair Gregory Kazmierski asked, if the 350 population is not the management goal, why has the DNR consistently mentioned 1,000 wolves in its presentation, which is also not a management goal.
Several board members also noted the tribes would eventually be allocated a percentage of the quota, nearly half, and because the tribes historically have opposed taking wolves, the real number of animals to be culled would be closer to 70 — under the DNR's proposed 130.
However, the board was advised it shouldn't "presumptively" decide on what the tribe's allocation or position will be. Member Bill Smith urged the board to use the best science and recommendations in its decision to be "legally defensible."
The board then considered quotas of 504, 275 and 350, all of which failed in 3-4 votes. The quota of 300 was approved with Prehn, Kazmierski, Bruins and Hilgenberg voting for and Smith, Sharon Adams and Marcy West voted against.
This Monday evening the Cable Natural History Museum offered a Zoom meeting with Adrian Wydeven, a retired wolf expert with the DNR and chair of the Timber Wolf Alliance. He appeared at the Aug. 11 NRB meeting on behalf of Wisconsin Green Fire, which recommended a hunt quota of 30.
Wydeven noted the majority of the 55 persons who spoke at the Aug. 11 meeting suggested a quotas ranging from zero to fewer than 130. Others advocated for a much higher quota, including the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, which sought a quota of 420,
Wydeven raised concerns that the current wolf population estimate the DNR presented to the NRB was based on what he called "occupancy modeling" which, he said, typically yields a count that is 14% higher than another method of counting populations called the "minimum count."
He contended the 918 wolves the DNR believes are in the state, based on a population of over 1,000 minus 218 wolves (mostly taken in February), could actually be in the 700 range. And he further contended that if the spring breeding was in fact affected because of the February hunt and the number of pups born is low and if the quota of 300 is fully exercised, the resulting wolf population might end up near 400.
And like the DNR representatives at the Aug. 11 meeting, Wydeven also said the 350 number is a "threshold" for holding a hunting season and not the management goal for the state's wolf population.
Wydeven projected that were the tribes to exercise their right to hunt wolves in the ceded territory, then roughly 126 would be set aside for them, leaving a total of 174 for non-native hunters, or 34 more than the 130 suggested by the DNR.
Addressing the politics of the NRB, he said, if Naas had been on the board instead of Prehn, then he believed the 300 quota vote likely would have failed.
Wydeven spent an hour taking questions. During the discussion he noted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service retains authority to intervene over wolf hunts if the population in any state drops 25% in one year.
The Record also asked its Facebook friends for their reaction to the 300 quota.
Responses were mixed.
Joan Jacobowski called it "unconscionable," but Brien Gindt said the quota should have been closer to 1,500 because of the "many wolves," a sentiment shared by Don Monson who said it should be 600.
Anthony Moyer also said he believes the DNR wolf population estimate is lower than it actually is in the state.
"It used to be rare to see one," Moyer said of wolves. "Now I see them multiple times a week in many different locations."
However, Christie Carbine contended that many who have said they had seen a wolf had actually observed a coyote or a large dog, not a wolf.
Sawyer County Public Health Officer Julia Lyons said the county has not experienced a sharp rise in COVID-19 numbers since the arrival of the Delta variant, the virulent version of the coronavirus.
She credits the level of vaccinations in the county for helping to keep the impact of the variant in check.
As of Monday, Aug. 16, the county reported 1,822 confirmed cases of COVID, up 18 from Monday, Aug. 9, when 1,804 were reported
On the county's website, public health also reports the total of confirmed and probable cases (those who have symptoms but have not been tested). As of Aug. 16, public health reported 1,929 (1,822 confirmed and 107 probable) and on Aug. 9 it reported 1,907 (1,804 confirmed and 103 probable).
Lyons said on Tuesday, Aug. 17, the seven-day average per 100,000 for the county is 19.2, down from 22.4 reported Aug. 10.
"Our numbers are staying pretty constant," she said. "We are starting to drop down just a little bit. I was hoping that would happen."
She said the important observation is the county's numbers are not spiking as they have in other areas of the country when the Delta variant arrived. She credits the level of vaccination in the county, teetering on 50%, as probably keeping the variant in check, but she is also expects the numbers to rise further.
"We're going to see a jump because there are people that are unvaccinated," she said, "and there are going to be vaccinated people that end up getting Delta because it travels easier than other variants."
However, the percentage of vaccinated persons catching COVID-19 from Delta has proven much less, around 2%, versus those who haven't been vaccinated.
Unlike the B117 variant, the Delta variant can be shed to others by vaccinated persons even if those vaccinated persons have no symptoms.
Because of the virulent and highly transferable nature of the Delta variant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons wear a mask in indoor, public spaces with others.
Lyons has said mask wearing is more critical for those who are going to be around or are living with unvaccinated persons, such as those under age 12 who are not approved for any of the authorized vaccines: the two-shot Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Information about where to obtain a free vaccination is available by calling Sawyer County Public Health at (715) 634-4806 or online at sawyer-county-covid-19-response-sawyergis.hub. arcgis.com/.