Menominee forest story focus of statewide fall conference

Keshena to host annual event of the Forest History Association of Wisconsin
By: 
Kevin Passon
Editor-in-chief

“The Beginning of Change: Tribal History, Tribal Treaties and the Menominee Forest Story” is the theme of the 2024 Forest History Association Of Wisconsin (FHAW) Fall Conference, slated to be held in Keshena in October.

Registration is underway and will end in September for the Oct. 11-12 conference, which will be held at the Menominee Casino Resort and Convention Center.

“We want to bring attention to and tell the story of the Menominee Forest, which is so large it can actually be seen from the space station,” said John Grossman, FHAW board president.

The Oct. 11 activities will include tours of the Menominee Logging Museum, the largest and most complete logging museum in the United States, and the Menominee Cultural Museum, the focal point of Menominee culture, history and language.

In the afternoon, there will be a forest tour followed by a visit to the College of Menominee Nation for a tour of the Applications in Sustainable Development Institute Program, Forest Gardening and Phenology Trail.

“The Friday tour will be limited to one busload of attendees, about 50 people,” Grossman said.

Jennifer Gauthier, director of the Sustainable Development Institute at the College of Menominee Nation, will be the Oct. 11 evening speaker. She will talk about “Building Connections and Relationships through the Menominee Theoretical Model of Sustainability.”

Multiple lectures are scheduled for the morning of Oct. 12.

These will include “Menominee Before European Contact” presented by David Overstreet, “Ancient Gardening” by Jeff Grignon and “Termination and Restoration of the Menominee Tribe” by Doug Cox.

The final lecture, planned for after lunch, will be “Applying Chief Oshkosh’s Vision to Modern Forest Management Practice” by Ron Waukau.

Then, a panel of speakers will provide a closing discussion about “The Beginning of Change-Tribal History, Tribal Treaties and the Menominee Forest Story.”

“We are planning to limit overall attendance to an announced 125,” Grossman said.

The goal of the FHAW is to educate residents on the history and importance of Wisconsin forests in the continued growth of the state. In that vein, the association’s website (https://www.foresthistoryassociationwi.com) has archived material about the Menominee story (click on Publications tab, then the Finding Aids link).

“Part of our mission to archive involves developing a collection of materials that K-12 kids can access for National History Day projects, and for now, we’ve picked up a few documents on the Menominee story,” Grossman said. “One is a 125-page report generated from a meeting in Neopit in 1951, prior to termination, that involves leaders from the Indian Service at the time, some USFS researchers, and MTE leadership. There’s another report generated by a nonprofit in 1958, post-termination, that poses questions about the merit of what is being proposed.”

Leading up to the conference will be a pair of webinars, one by Carol Cornelius, a professor at University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, and the other by Grignon.

Cornelius’ webinar is set for Sept. 11. She will address the removal of New York Indians to today’s lands of the Menominee. She will also discuss her book “A History in Indigenous Voices - Menominee, Ho-Chunk, Oneida, Stockbridge and Brothertown Interactions in the Removal Era.”

On Sept. 18, Grignon, the tribal historic preservation officer, will offer a review of Menominee treaty discussions with the New York tribes and the federal government.

Further details have yet to be announced.

For more information on the FHAW or to register for the conference, visit https://www.foresthistoryassociationwi.com.

kpasson@newmedia-wi.com

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