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Local college student appointed to state advisory task force

Member of Jim Island Indians has big plans for her future

A local college student is one of 30 young leaders named to the Michigan Collegiate Student Advisory Task Force earlier this month.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced that Bay Mills Community College student Justin Mandosking was one of those 30 people.

The task force will determine and implement recommendations to improve voter education and engagement among young people on college and university campuses across Michigan for the 2024 election cycle.

"The new members of the Collegiate Student Advisory Task Force represent a strong base of active, informed young voters in our state,” Secretary Benson said. “I’m proud that Michigan led the nation in youth voter turnout in the 2022 election. This group of young leaders will keep up the momentum statewide and provide valuable insights on how to best engage voters on their campus. I look forward to our work together."

Mandosking plans to have an impact on the task force.

"I was recommended for the Michigan Collegiate Student Advisory Task Force by an instructor at Bay Mills Community College and had to interview for the position. To me being on the task force means that I can help uplift Indigenous trans voices, represent my community, clan and college," Mandosking said.

Being part of the task force will be one of many things that keeps Mandosking active.

"I belong to the Jim Island Indians and I’m enroled under the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. I am a proud two-spirit trans woman. In the past six years I was named a community leader, brought Wellbriety to our area, and have been active in Indian country from Michigan to Minnesota. I am the U.P. community organizer for Miigwech Inc. a native non-profit based out of Waganakising. I am the co-founder of the Baawaating two-spirit council and do much of my work in the two-spirit community. I was recently elected VP of the Zhim Minis Anishinaabeg preservation group. I attend the Montanaha two-spirit gathering this summer and hope to help create a Michigan Two-spirit society," Mandosking said.

Mandosking has big plans after college.

"My biggest future goal is to help obtain federal recognition for the Jim Island Indians. My career plans are to continue to work in and with tribal communities with a focus on language and culture preservation. I will use this MCSATF position to help further the cause of my people," Mandosking said.