Friday, August 3, 2018

Positive Youth Development Workshop

On Saturday, July 22, fellow SLC Mentor, Dolly Potts, and I attended the Positive Youth Development in Indian Country Workshop in Green Bay. This workshop was put on by Susan and Dan Ninham. The purpose of this workshop was to encourage and develop programs and strategies that reduce risks and strengthen Native American children. Educators, administrators, counselors, college students and others working with youth were encouraged to attend.

Each speaker brought a wealth of knowledge to the room. The topics discussed were; the importance of spirituality, indigenous food systems as a culture based curriculum, talking circles, indigenous ways of being, mentoring programs, and engaging native youth through rigor and culture. I personally learned so much from this workshop and I was also reaffirmed about strategies that I am already using when working with youth.

After attending the workshop, we have implemented some of the strategies with our SLC group and are seeing positive reactions. I will also be bringing this knowledge back to my school year job at a local middle school to hopefully incorporate when interacting with the students. I am truly grateful to have attended this workshop and will not let the knowledge learned go to waste. 

Friday, July 27, 2018

Agricultural Research Workshop

July 16-18, 2018 – College of Menominee Nation Sustainable Development Institute

Dolly Potts

The conference was introduced by Rebecca Edler, Sustainability Coordinator who teamed the SLC (Sustainability Leadership Cohort) students with the SDI Interns. After introductions Harlan Pygman, presented a basic overview of statistics. Harlan gave us terms and overviews of presenting data. We use these statistics in the research garden measuring the results of the amendments we use on our corn. After the break we toured the gardens at the SDI and had a tour of the soil lab. This was led by the interns to the project, Adam Schulz and Dolly Potts. Jamie Patton, Senior Outreach Specialist, University of Wisconsin Madison and Dr. Francisco Arriaga provided the afternoon presentation. Soil formation and morphology presented by Jamie and Francisco soil moisture, soil probe and using a penetrometer.

We spent day two at Menīkānaehkem where we would spend the morning of our day. Adam and fellow intern Jasmine Neosh cooked hominy, when done gave a cleaning and preserving presentation. The corn from the hominy making was gifted to Menīkānaehkem. Our tour was with Tony Brown who is the chairman of the Menīkānaehkem board.  He showed us the projects the group was doing and the dreams of the members. He gave a welcome and encouraged all of the students to return. We had lunch of the hominy made along with milkweed soup another traditional food.

The second part of day two was spent with Dr. David Overstreet the archaeologist for the Menominee tribe. Dr. Overstreet gave us a tour of the agricultural beds in the forest and the garden at the museum. Solomon Jim was one of the Menominee traditionalist who had and maintained garden beds in the reservation forest.  The agricultural beds in the forest were carbon dated to 750 A.D. very ancient. Dr. Overstreet and interns from SDI are excavating the beds.  While sifting through they found what may be corn kernels.

Day three was spent at UW-Madison Research Station. There we toured the fruit fields of apples and cherries. At the facility is the United States Potato Gene Bank, Max Martin is the director. He was very surprised to learn there is a road here on the Menominee reservation with his name. He was even more surprised Cat saw a bear with a potato in his mouth running across the road! At the bank is housed the seeds and sprouts of varieties of potatoes. It was very interesting learning the process involved with maintaining a potato gene bank. At the facility is a Master Gardener garden with the most beautiful flowers and plants presented in a breath-taking display. Our tour of this garden was too short! Another fun part of our day was picking cherries from an orchard. The final part was visiting the Door Peninsula Winery for an agricultural processing tour.

Indigenous Planning Summer Institute

June 13, 2018

Written by: Marissa Vele

We started off the Indigenous Planning Summer Institute (IPSI) on June 4, at Whispering Pines. This is were all interns and others involved with our projects got together to kick off the summer. We began the morning by having Luke Besaw give a prayer on the shores of the traditional wild ricing grounds of the Menominee. After the prayer, Gary Besaw spoke to our group and reminded all of us to, “do things in a good way”. That is an important message to think about as we all go our separate ways this summer as we work on our projects.

The projects we are working on will impact and reflect our community and those around it, so we must try to do things in a good way. Throughout the week, we were able to listen to a variety of speakers that talked about topics ranging from indigenous planning to plants in the forest. We were also able to visit Stockbridge Munsee  to see their gardens and museum, as well as taking a trip into the Menominee Forest. It was a great week long experience to get to know the fellow interns and their projects better. I am excited to see what the summer will bring!

IPSI (Indigenous Planning Summer Institute) 2018

June 11, 2018

Written by Dolly Potts

The Summer Institute was more of a local type this year. New was the Visualizing Forest Future, using virtual reality technology. This is the second year for Adam and I to do the research plot of Bear Island Flint corn. There are new people on the Plant Phenology both at the two sites and the Learning Path. Everyone is looking forward to a fun and exciting summer. If you are in the area stop by for a visit.

Monday, July 23, 2018

July SLC Update

The SLC has been in full swing and we are nearing the end of our summer program. July 16th kicked off a two-day Agricultural Workshop that was sponsored by SDI. All SLC students and SDI summer interns were invited to the workshop.  On our first day we learned about the importance of statistics and research followed by introductions on soil, soil types, and ways of measuring soil. We then headed into the Agricultural Research Plot at SDI to take a look at the Bear Island Flint Corn. This is the second year of that project to revitalize the traditional corn that the Menominee had. Workshop participants also got a look at the Agricultural Research Lab inside SDI and learned about the different soil tests that can be done to help members of the community.

Day two had us traveling to Menīkānaehkem where we learned more about the organization and their plans for the community. Their mission is to help rebuild the community and focus on wellness through various activities such as teaching lodges and feasts. We also got to see the Bear Island Flint Corn from last year being made into hominy. The seeds from last year's corn was shared with Menīkānaehkem and planted, so we were able to see the growing corn when we visited. For lunch we all received a treat of hull corn soup that came from the Bear Island Flint Corn. After lunch we headed out to the Culture Museum to see Dr. Overstreet and learn more about the demonstration garden he started there. This garden is not cultivated with any modern day tools as they are trying to be as historically accurate as possible. After the museum, we actually got to go out to one of the sites Dr. Overstreet, SDI interns, and SLC students are working on. There we learned more about the raised garden beds and research behind it. It is fascinating to see this work being done right in our backyards! The mosquitoes were vicious and we all truly appreciate the whole team of people that are out there working to learn more about the traditional practices and food of the Menominee. Everyone that went into the woods safely made it out, some with more bites than others.

For the SLC students the week was just getting started. The next two days students were working with elementary teachers from Menominee Tribal School to develop lessons to implement at an upcoming STEM family night in the fall. The students have various lessons ranging from corn to stars and are very excited to put their lessons into action. They now have some understanding on how to incorporate STEAM ideas into their cultural ways of knowing. Overall, our week went very well and we are looking forward to the last exciting weeks of the summer.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

SLC Odyssey College Trip

On Thursday, May 3, members from the Sustainability Leadership Cohort (SLC) embarked on their 2018 Odyssey College Trip. After the three hour drive down, we arrived at the UW-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences. While at the School of Freshwater Science, we were given a tour of the campus and shown what work is being done there. We were able to see young sturgeon and yellow perch that are being raised for research. The yellow perch have been at the school since 2009! Another part of the tour consisted of showing how fish farming and aquaponics go hand in hand. It was explained that the fish help the plants grow without soil and that they have a mutual relationship together.

In the afternoon we visited UW-Milwaukee’s main campus and toured various locations. Students were also shown the American Indian Student Services and the Electa Quinney Institute. Many of the students reflected on how they liked that there was a spot for native students to go if they needed help. After the tour, we were lucky enough to meet with the new president of CMN, Dr. Paul Trebian and various students and AIS faculty. The students enjoyed meeting him and I thought it was a great opportunity to get to know him and other students. By the end of the day, the students were so tired from all of the days activities and traveling. We headed off to our hotel in Madison and ended up eating at a Chinese Buffet. Students then had the option of swimming or playing in the hotel’s arcade.

On Friday, students were up bright and early to head off to the F.H. King Garden in Eagle Heights.The F.H. King Students for Sustainable Agriculture is a student led organization that is helping produce food for the individuals around campus. They also help educate about gardening and food sovereignty. Even though the rain kept us fairly soggy, there was much to see and learn. We were even visited by the local group of turkeys. After our rain adventure at the garden, we headed indoors to hear about the Intertribal Maple Syrup Producers Cooperative from Sheamus Johnson. Students were able to see how various native individuals are working together to produce and sell their maple syrup. Next up came lunch at the DeJope cafeteria. Students were amazed at all of the choices available to them. Rey Morales talked next about the importance of digital media, he proposed the question, “what makes a good video”? Students had a good conversation and expressed their opinions on the topic. The next speaker was from the Native American Center for Health Professionals (NACHP) and students were able to play a jeopardy style game. In that game, students learned some interesting and unique information. For example, did you know that humans share 70% of DNA with a slug?

We then focused our attention to the importance of food sovereignty and the mission of Slow Food Turtle Island from Becca Dower. After learning more about food, we took a walk to the Law School where we met Richard Monette. He talked about the importance of relations, motion, and balance and how that played a role in government. He encouraged students to make connections about what they are currently learning about and their cultures. After the Law School, we headed back to the vans by way of the campus public transport. That was quite the experience for those who had never ridden public transport before. I can say for sure that I will never need to ride that bus again!

Overall, I enjoyed the trip and heard many good reactions from the students. Some have better ideas of what they want to do after graduation now. It was a fun-filled, action-packed two days and a good way for the cohort to bond before the summer fun starts.

Friday, April 27, 2018

WIEA Conference


Last week I was lucky enough to attend the WIEA Pre-Conference and Youth Day. I was able to take away many different teachings from both days. Thursday was centered around historical trauma and trauma informed care. Friday, I attended the Youth Day track with the SLC students and various other students from the area. The Youth Day gave me the opportunity to get to know the SLC students better.

They started off the day with a Tobacco Tying Ceremony and followed with a lunch performance by Gary D. I am very grateful to experience the Tobacco Tying Ceremony and I learned such a great deal from the various individuals that presented to the students. The students were extremely engaged and I felt it was an excellent way to start the morning. The highlight of some of the student’s day was the performance by Gary D. For those of you who do not know, he is a recording artist from the Menominee Reservation. I found his music inspiring and I think he connected with many of the students. We even received his newest CD!

In the afternoon, the students were given a campus tour of CMN and heard more about future scholarship opportunities from AICF. There were a lot of quality conversations and questions going on in both sessions. To end the day, the students had the opportunity to meet Matika Wilbur. She spoke with students about her Project 562 and the importance of storytelling and indigenous knowledge. The students were all engaged and I personally learned so much from her visit. Overall, it was a wonderful two days and am very thankful that I had the opportunity to attend the conference. It has made it even clearer that I want to become an educator within our community and make a difference in the lives of our youth.