Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Mapping with Dr. Overstreet

Dolly Potts, Agricultural Research Intern
June 28, 2017

A group of the agricultural research Interns and the student Interns from SLC (Sustainability Leadership Cohort) attended a workshop with Dr. Overstreet, archeologist with Menominee tribe. He went over mapping archeological sites on the Menominee Reservation. Dr. Overstreet gave us a brief overview of the description of a square mile of land as determined by the US Quadrangle Scale. He gave us a brief history of the mapping of the Menominee Reservation and early archeological exploration. Armed with a map of the Chief Oshkosh Settlement we went into the woods to use our map reading skills. We looked for sites of ancient storage pits and cellars. Dr. Overstreet said some of the sites were house structures.

We were accompanied by Jeff Grignon, woodsman with the MTE (Menominee Tribal Enterprises). Jeff is an expert and historian of the Menominee Forest. One of Jeff’s jobs is to relocate markers and sites that were involved in the 2007 blowdown in the forest. Jeff gave us the history of the site we investigated along with information elders had given him. He is an excellent resource when going into the Menominee Forest like he says, “I live here”.

After coming out of the woods with the same number of people we went in with, we headed to the Menominee Museum garden. Dr. Overstreet has reconstructed a Menominee settlement pre-contact. He is growing a garden with Bear Island Flint corn like the plot at SDI. He is reconstructing a bark house structure after his first attempt caved in. Dr. Overstreet is using pre-contact implements to put in and maintain his garden. So everything went in with digging sticks and bone scapula hoes. Dr. Overstreet is using the mound technique with his plants. Each plant is planted on a mound with a furrow between each row. This is the way gardens were planted in ancient gardens of the Menominee.

The trip into the beautiful Menominee Forest was energizing and spiritually fulfilling. It was so green and enchanting. As fellow intern Adam says, “It was like the energy of people who lived there was still feeding the forest.” We were so grateful for the efforts and time of Dr. Overstreet and Jeff Grignon as our guides. 

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