MADISON (WITI) -- A demand, a denial and a demonstration as members of the Menominee Nation marched to the Capitol in Madison on Wednesday, February 18th -- where they asked for a meeting with Governor Scott Walker to discuss his decision to reject its proposal for a Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Kenosha. Walker refused to take that meeting, and that led to a raucous rally in the Capitol Rotunda.
The Menominee Nation arrived in Madison for a rally, and it was the end of a very long march. Members of the tribe departed from Keshena last Friday, February 13th and began their 156-mile journey.
"The main purpose was to get the Governor to listen to us," Menominee Tribal member J.J. Corn said.
Inside the Capitol, throngs of protesters crowded the Rotunda. Their speeches mixed defiance with dejection and disdain.
"This is an incredible opportunity," Rep. Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) said.
"This should have happened," Rep. Samantha Kerkman (R-Salem) said.
The Menominee Tribe wants an 11th-hour meeting with Governor Walker. This, after he rejected the $800 million Kenosha casino proposal in late January.
"That was our final decision. My decision -- the decision I made based on 14 months of review, the decision is the same today as it was then. Why meet about something that's been resolved? It's kind of like having a meeting about a bill that's been signed into law," Governor Walker said.
"I just wish he would listen," Cori Altmann said.
In the crowd at the Capitol, some wore iconic Hard Rock T-shirts with a Kenosha dateline.
"We're hoping we can get this project moving forward," Jerome Tellar said.
Menominee Tribal Chairman Gary Besaw says the fight will continue.
"I don't believe it's over with a 'no' by him. There are still legal options. There may be other options available for us also," Besaw said.
Though Governor Walker didn't take the meeting, he does have until Thursday, February 19th to finalize his decision. Officials with the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs have said they would give full consideration to a second review and determination from the Governor by that deadline.
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