Indian Country has plenty of stories to tell. Here's how I've grown the beat in two years.

Sheku ("hello" in Oneida) and yaw^ko ("thank you") for reading the First Nations Wisconsin newsletter.

When I started this newsletter last year it was meant to be a place where readers could find the latest Indigenous news in one place, in lieu of a special section on our website or in the newspaper.

That has worked well, and that’s how this edition is set up.

But some editions have had themes. These are usually ongoing topics in Indian Country, such as sovereignty struggles, the epidemic of violence against Indigenous people and reclaiming history.

When I started this role covering Indigenous affairs in 2020 it was the first beat of its kind for the USA TODAY network of publications in Wisconsin. It was a position made possible with the support of the nonprofit organization Report For America.

I’m what’s called a "corps member." It’s similar to the Peace Corps, but for local journalism.

Editors were surprised by how many stories we've uncovered so far on this beat.

But with 12 Indigenous nations in the land now called Wisconsin, there’s been no shortage of news.

In fact, when reporters from other beats in the company ask me if it’s OK for them to cover a story concerning Indigenous affairs, I welcome the help.

Here are links to some of my recent work. They include stories about a $175 million Ojibwe college expansion planned in northern Wisconsin, a new exhibit at the Field Museum in Chicago featuring Indigenous nations from Wisconsin and the graduation of the first class of doctors in Indigenous education from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

I’ve also included a story from my recent trip to Lac du Flambeau, where Wayne Valliere set out to spearfish at night using a torch and his handmade birchbark canoe.

I’ve also included a story by my colleague, Sarah Volpenhein, who covers Indigenous affairs for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She wrote about a recent rally at the state Capitol that called for an end to the epidemic of violence against Indigenous people.

If you like this newsletter, please invite a friend to subscribe to it. And if you have tips or suggestions for this newsletter, please email me at

About me

I'm Frank Vaisvilas, a Report For America corps member based at the Green Bay Press-Gazette covering Native American issues in Wisconsin. You can reach me at 920-228-0437 or, or on Twitter at @vaisvilas_frank. Please consider supporting journalism that informs our democracy with a tax-deductible gift to this reporting effort at

This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: First Nations newsletter: Reporter Frank Vaisvilas on growing his beat