tagged w/ wild rice
Menominee Tribal School students in Keshena, Wisconsin are learning valuable lessons about protecting the environment and learning their tribe’s heritage including keeping native language alive.
In April 2008 the tribal school’s 180 students participated in “Clean Up the Rez Day" by picking up garbage around the reservation. The many environment projects at the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin were part of the EPA Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day challenge. During a drum & feast to honor the students, teacher Beth Waukechon and culture teacher Dana Warrington explained the importance of taking care of Mother Earth. During a field trip to Green Bay's Pamprin Park, students climbing a replica of the Planet Earth were reminded of their reservation clean up. The 234,000-acre reservation has thick forests and 24-miles of the pristine Wolf River. Sturgeons spawned in reservation portions of the river until two dams were built blocking annual migration. Fifth grader La-Rie Corn hopes to form an Earth Club at the tribal school. After whitewashing gang graffiti at a popular skateboard park, students replaced negative symbols with American Indian art. Corn, 11, knows about 500 Menominee words thanks to teachers & elders that care about saving their native tongue. Fourth graders Tahekiah Bourdon, Raven Webster, Shae Perez, Naneque Latender, & Sherlinda Nahwahquaw learned the importance of respecting the Earth and how it fits their heritage.
Teacher Beth Waukechon said students will hopefully continue environment friendly practices as they grow older. MITW Restorative Justice Coordinator Claudette Hewson said the Menominee Teen Court Panel picked up litter & removed graffiti from roads signs in the Middle Village housing area. Tribal school students learned about the sturgeon, a vital part of Menominee heritage. Named the “People of the Wild Rice,” Menominee legend calls the sturgeon “the protector” of the grain that grows in water.
Corn said sturgeon hold a high place in Menominee culture because they're one of three gifts the creator gave to the Menominee people. Language arts instructor Joe Awonohopay said Earth Week 2008 classes were devoted to the sturgeon including the effects of pollution on life cycle, habitat, biology and more.
The College of Menominee Nation Implementing Sustainable Development Class collected electronic waste & pharmaceuticals. Students collected 23 pounds of medicines including 100 bottles of pills. The college students won 50 recycling bins in the Coca-Cola National Recycling Coalition Bin Grant. The class participated in the 10-week Recycle Mania project for the second year in a row. College Prof. Dr.William Van Lopik said the class is “actually doing something." Including curbside collections, Menominee reservation residents recycled over four tons of electronics.
Sponsors: Community Resource Center, Menominee Tribal Police, Tribal Clinic, Maehnowesekiyah Wellness Center, Probation & Parole, Recreation Department, Community Recycling Project; Menominee County Sheriff’s Department, Keshena U.S. Post Office.
The Earth Healing Initiative assisted some challenge organizers with interfaith liaisons & encouraged churches/temples to participate in Earth Day events. Videos on 2008 Challenge projects made possible ban US Environmental Protection Agency grant, EPA Region 5 office in Chicago, EPA Great Lakes National Program Office.
The EHI involves American Indian tribes, churches/synagogues, other faith traditions working to heal, protect and defend the environment.
Interfaith graphics by Justice St. Rain/Interfaith Resources/Special Ideas:
http://www.interfaithresources.comMenominee Tribal School students in Keshena, Wisconsin are learning valuable lessons... more
The Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin contributed over 4 tons of electronic and pharmaceutical waste to the EPA Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge.
This is the first of several videos explaining the tribes numerous projects that included cleaning up the reservation, replacing gang symbols with Native American art, teaching youth about the legend of the sturgeon and its place in tribal culture.
In part one, the non-profit interfaith Earth Healing Initiative looks at the many recycling projects of the College of Menominee nation.
The Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin in Keshena is being praised for its massive cleanup projects during the EPA Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge - involving over 100 projects across eight states that comprise the Great lakes basin.
The college of Menominee Nation held a pharmaceutical and electronic waste collection as part of the EPA Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge.
Other tribal projects during the challenge included the clean up of two reservation communities by tribal school students, the Menominee Teen Court Panel, and many other volunteers.
All classes at the tribal school taught the students about the sturgeon, that is a vital part of Menominee heritage.
Called the protector guardian of Menominee wild rice, the sturgeon used to spawn on the reservation until a man made dam blocked the route to ancestral spawning grounds.
The students whitewashed gang graffiti at a skateboard park replacing it with American Indian art.
"The younger students put their hands in paint and made flower hand prints on the wall," said teacher Beth Waukechon.
Adults participated in the challenge in a big way - as the tribe's Solid Waste and Recycling Department held curbside e-waste collections during Earth week 2008 - and all month accepted e-waste at the transfer station.
Native American and other students also made garbage monsters at the Keshena Public Schools with help from their parents using common every day trash from home.
More than four tons of e-waste and other recyclables were removed from the reservation during April.
At the College of Menominee Nation, over 23 pounds of medicines were turned in including 100 bottles of pills, more than 25 computers and dozens of related components like hard drives, printers, keyboards and speakers; televisions, radios, DVD players, 12 cell phones and over 100 small batteries.
Sponsors include the tribe's Community Resource Center, Menominee County Police, Menominee Tribal Police, Tribal Clinic Wellness Program (Maehnowesekiyah), Probation and Parole, Community Recycling Project, Recreation Department and the U.S. Post Office in Keshena.
While hosting the collection, the college's Implementing Sustainable Development class found out they won the National Recycling Coalition Bin Grant through Coca-Cola, said professor William Van Lopik, Ph.D.
"One of premises of the class is to do things, not just talk about what we are going to do and how the world is going to be changed, but having students do things," Dr. Van Lopik said.
The grant pays for 50 recycling bins.
The class has participated in the ten-week Recycle Mania project two years in a row that involves weighing recyclables as they leave the building. This year, the class ranked 136 out of 200 colleges and universities with 8 pounds of recyclables per person, beating out Ohio State and Georgetown, Van Lopik said.
This video on the projects connected to the Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge was made possible by a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in collaboration with the EPA Region 5 office in Chicago, and the EPA Great Lakes national Program Office in cooperation with the non-profit Interfaith Earth Healing Initiative in Marquette, MI.
The EHI involves American Indian tribes and "a coalition of churches, synagogues and other faith traditions joining together to heal, protect and defend the environment," said EHI founder Rev. Jon Magnuson of Marquette, Michigan.The Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin contributed over 4 tons of electronic and... more
(Marquette, Michigan) - The Manoomin Project is restoring wild rice to northern Michigan after the grain disappeared a century ago due to logging, pesticides and other manmade impact.
Over 100 at-risk teens are learning to respect themselves, nature and American Indian culture by planting more than one ton of wild rice during the past four summers. The teens also learn about social issues like racism against Native Americans.
The 2007 planting was delayed six weeks until November due to low water levels.
The teens first participate as part of juvenile court probation for minor crimes but many enjoy the project so much they return the next year.
Guides from several tribes volunteer to teach the teens how to take water samples, and about the historical and cultural importance of the grain that is used in many American Indian ceremonies.
The project was founded by the non-profit Cedar Tree Institute and the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC).
Guides belong to KBIC, the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa (Ottawa) Indians based in downstate Harbor Springs, Michigan, and the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa located close to International Falls, Minnesota near the Canadian border.
Rev. Jon Magnuson, project founder, praised the tribes for working with the teens, most of whom are white. The project includes classroom time, stress reduction exercises, and learning about social issues like prejudice against Native Americans.
In July 2007, the teens heard from Ojibwa elder and Vietnam War veteran Glen Bressette who explained he was the target of racism while their age and overcame problems familiar to the youth like substance abuse and scrapes with the law that included being shot at by police while stealing gas.
The teens witnessed Bressette have a dramatic flashback when a helicopter flew low and close to their meeting site along Lake Superior. He had been a gunner aboard a chopper in Vietnam.
American Indian guide Don Chosa said the teens carry hundreds of pounds of wild rice seeds for miles through thick forests and over mountains to get to seven secret remote planting sites along rivers and lakes. During the hikes, the teens have come upon bears, eagles and other wildlife.
An annual "Blessing of the Wild Rice" ceremony is held that includes American Indian food, songs, language, and prayers. If they want, the teens have the opportunity to learn about God and the environment but they are not forced to be be involved in any religious activities.
Manoomin Project volunteer media advisor Greg Peterson looks at the 2007 planting and four years of success.(Marquette, Michigan) - The Manoomin Project is restoring wild rice to northern... more
The Michigan Earth Keepers are protecting the environment with hands-on projects that prove one person can make a difference.
During 2007, the Earth Keepers:
Continued annual Earth Day clean sweeps that have removed 370 tons of hazardous waste from the environment aross a 400-mile area.
Held the the fourth planting of a wild rice restoration project that teams at-risk teens with American Indian guides teaching respect for nature and battling racism.
Sponsored an energy summit that convinced 500 businesses, churches/temples and homeowners to reduce power consumption.
Helped midwest musicians form the Boreal Chamber Symphony for a classical music concert that raised money for the Lake Superior Defense Fund.
The Earth Keepers include members and bishops/leaders of nine faith traditions with 140 participating churches/temples, American Indian tribes, several environment non-profits, university students, teenagers, a 20-member core team plus a 400 person volunteer army.
The Earth Keepers have been funded by grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Thrivent Financial for Lutherans plus donations from the public.
The Earth Keepers have broken federal hazardous waste collection records for three years in a row and the EPA says the group is an example for others on how to form an effective coalition that accomplishes its goals.
Earth Keeper volunteer media advisor Greg Peterson looks back at 2007 and four years of environment protection.
The Michigan Earth Keepers are protecting the environment with hands-on projects that... more