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MAZINAIGANPAGE6FALL2013NAMTRIBALHATCHERIESTribeHatcheryRearingComponentFryFgl.FryFgl.YellowPerchLakeSturgeonWhitefishBrookBrownRainbowTroutLakeTroutWhiteSuckerLakeHerringTotalBadRiver2400000391255588002850055GrandPortage15000025750050000457500KeweenawBay850000107684229950103953170LacCourteOreilles132000011511714700025000004082117LacduFlambeau13350000251046500016128400000017622174LacVieuxDesert16001600LeechLake108490504069146664911356390Menominee1000002200102200MoleLake31000003100000RedCliff30001539818398RedLake1000013500800031500SaultSte.Marie250000011170493617049St.Croix9522295222WhiteEarth18264256518731201938TOTALS34469050222059015200056558800322316166493393255010365000005000044489313WalleyeMuskellungeTribalhatcheriesreleaseover44millionfishintobothonoff-reservationwatersin2012OdanahWis.Whentheearthhadonlyonelandmassdinosaursroamedandtheonlymammalsweresmallrodentsnamwaglakesturgeonsswaminthewaters.Namwagareancientanimals.Todaymanynampopulationshavebeendecimatedworld-wide.InGichigamitheyarerecoveringfromyearsofabusebyhumansdur-ingthe19thand20thcenturies.OverharvestpollutedwateranddamswhichblockedaccesstospawninggroundsseverelyreducedtheirnumbersinalloftheGreatLakes.ThenampopulationinGichigamial-thoughreducedfromhistorictimesisstable.Juvenilefishcanbefoundfeedingoffrivermouthsandadultscanbefoundspawninginatleastsevenoftwenty-twohistoricsites.Theyareconsideredjuvenilefishuntiltheymatureandspawnforthefirsttime.Formalesthisisataboutage10to15andforfemalesage15to20.Thesamefishdonotspawneveryyear.Forfemalefishittakestimetoproduceupto40poundsofeggs.Theseeggsarepartofthereasonnamaresoughttheworldoverforcaviarmanytimestothedetrimentofthepopulationbecausewithouteggsbeinglaidtherearenoyoungfish.Juvenilenamhavesharpbonyplatesorscuteswhichcovermostoftheirbodyandprotectthemfrompredators.Astheyagethesharpnesswearsawaybutthehardbonyplatesremain.Namwagcanlivetobeover100yearsoldandbecausefishgrowtheirentirelivesoldnamwagcanbelargeoversevenfeetlongandover150pounds.Theygrowbyfeedingonthelakeorriverbottomus-ingsensorybarbelsandamouthwithlargethicklips.NamwagfeedmainlyonbottomdwellingcritterslikemolluskswormsandaquaticinsectlarvaealthoughtheywillfeedonsmallfishiftheopportunitypresentsitselfSurvivorsfromthestoneageLakesturgeonrecoverfromoverharvestByBillMattesGLIFWCGreatLakesSectionLeaderTotalnumberofoneorcombinationoftroutspeciesNamwaglooklikeonemightimagineashfrom100millionyearsagotolook.Bonyplatescovermostoftheirbodyfromashovellikenosetoaprimitivehetocercaltailn.Sharksalsohavethistypeoftailn.PhotobyA.FoxMaywizhawlongagotherewasatimewhenthewaterwasfreeflowingwithoutdamsordisturbanceoneverylakeriverandstream.Duringthattimethewaterwascleanbeautifulandsweettothetaste.ItwasthenthatthebeautifulNahmayorsturgeonwasconsideredtheChiefoftheFishClansfortheOjibweAnishinabepeopleparticularlythroughoutWisconsinMinnesotaandOntario.ThesturgeonwasalsocalledOgimahthekingofallfreshwaterfish.ThisnamehelpstoexplaintherelationshipthatAnishinabepeoplehavefortheirancientandsacredrelatives.Progressandtheencroachmentofcivilizationhavebroughtmanydamswhichblockandchangethenaturalmovementofthewaters.ThisfacthasalsoalteredthemigrationsofmanyspawningfishincludingthatoftheNahmay.EachyearintheearlyspringwhenboomingsoundsweremadebythemeltingandcrackingofthickiceonthelakestheAnishinabepeopleknewthatthewaterwouldsoonturnitselfover.ItwasduringthistimefromthemurkydarkwatersthatNahmaywouldsoonbegintomovearoundbecomingvisibleintheshallowspringwaters.DuringthemigrationupriverNahmaycouldbeseenswimmingsidebysideinnumberssogreatthattheriverslookedlikeasolidpurpleblueandblackmassfrombanktobank.ElderssaythatthesoundoftheirmovementwaslikeamurmurripplingacrossthewaterontothelandandthroughtreeslikealullabyintheAnishinabeway.Whentheicebegantobreakupthesturgeonwouldramtheirbacksandbelliesontheundersideoftheicechunksasitbeganfloatingfreelythroughthewater.SomeoftheyoungerandbraverAnishinabewouldjumpontoanicechunkinordertogetarideasitwasbeingpushedalongonthebackofabigNahmay.InthattimeoflongagoetchedinthememoriesofAnishinabeeldersthemagnificentsturgeonNahmaywasplayfulwiththehumanbeings.MyfatherAwkewaynzeejingoGezhikalsoknownasJoeBentonandothersoftheLacCourteOreillesReserveofWisconsinrecalledridingonthebackofasturgeon.ThatshowbigtheywereontheNamekagonandFlambeauRiversatonetime...hewouldsaysadly.Todaytherearenolongermanysturgeonintheserivers.Historicallythelumberindustryfirsttooktheirfreedomduringhugelogdriveswhengreatpinelogswerefloateddownstreamtosawmillsinordertobecutsawnanddressedforlumber.Thelumberindustrybroughtmanyhomesfactoriesbarnsandschoolsallinthenameofcivilizationandprogress.Todaymanyriversandwaterwayshavebeenblockedanddammedupforthesakeofindustryanddevelopment.Inmanywayswearemuchtoocivilizedandforthatthelandthewatersandouranimalrelativespaythehighestprice.ThesightthesoundthemurmurandlullabymadebyNahmaymayneverbeheardbyusorourgrandchildren.Buthopeisaliveandwell.WhenpeopleshowcareforthewaterthroughtobaccoofferingsandprayerswehelptostrengthenthespiritofthewaterandthecreaturesthatlivethereincludingNahmaythebeautifulsturgeon.HopeisaliveMiigwechthankstoEddieBenton-Banaiforallowingtheuseofthisstory.Theabovestoryiscopyrightedandthestoryorsegmentsofitmaynotbereproducedwithouttheauthorspermission.TheorthographyforOjibwemowinisdifferentfromGLIFWCspreferredorthographythatisbasedonthedouble-vowelsystem.NahmaysturgeonTheKingofFishByEddieBenton-BanaiexcerptedfromAnishinabeAlmanacLivingthroughtheseasonsNamwaghavesensorybarbelsandlargethicklipswhichtheyusetoforageforfoodonthelakeorriverbottom.PhotobyH.Fiorio