MAZINA’IGAN PAGE 22 FALL 2017 At its July meeting, the Voigt Intertribal Task Force (VITF) recognized John Gozdzialski on the occasion of his retirement from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Gozdzialski served the DNR since 1982, acting as the Northern Region’s Director since 2004. He worked closely with the VITF and its member Tribes on a variety of issues, and was instrumental in developing a consultation process to ensure tribal input when the State considers permits that have potential to impact manoomin in the Ceded Territory. Voigt representatives described Gozdzialski as acting with “integrity and honesty in his dealings with the Task Force, seeking to fully understand the Tribes’ perspectives and to generate effective, open dialogue on matters of mutual concern.” (PM photo) • SANDY LAKE/WIIGWAAS • run and Camp Onji-Akiing. Megan said her favorite part about her internship is the hands-on experience that she has been given in this division. Her future goal is to become a game warden with GLIFWC. Planning and Development Thisyear’splanninganddevelopmentinternisJordanTabobondung,agradu- ate student at the University of Winnipeg. She is in the Masters of Development Practice: Indigenous Development program. She is a member of the Wasauksing and Sawanaga First Nations. This summer her focus was on the traditional foods program and the Nenda-Gikendamang Ningo-Biboonagak language project. She says that her favorite part has been having the chance to visit with community members and youth through the construction of the wiigwaasi-jiimaan (Birch bark canoe) in Bad River. She says, “It gives her the opportunity to learn more skills that I haven’t had the chance to be involved with and hear songs, stories, and laughter from the community members who have visited.” This fall she will be returning to Manitoba to begin her second year of studies at the University of Winnipeg. Public Information Office As for me, I am a Bad River tribal member, in my second year as public infor- mation office’s intern. This fall I will be a senior at the University of Wisconsin- Superior majoring in Elementary Education and minoring in early childhood. This summer I have been working on a lot of different things, writing articles, invoices, packing slips, and taking intern pictures. I had the pleasure of attending the Wisconsin American Indian Summer Institute in Crandon, WI during the first week ofAugust.After finishing my schooling, I hope to come back home and teach in the elementary school. My favorite part about my internship has been helping Marvin Defoe build a canoe with Bad River youth. According to one forestry industry source: “One problem is thatasbirchtreesage,theybecome a‘risktree’fromatimberperspec- tive.Aforestermightask:‘willthis 12-14”diameterbirchtreedecline invalueifIdon’tmarkitforharvest now?’ Whereas a tribal member might say ‘this tree is growing nicely,I’llcomebackin5-10years and check on it again.’In general, birchtreeswithinmixedstandsare often marked for removal because they are usually seen as being at risk of losing their value.” In recent years the market for wiigwaasaatigoog in the special forest products industry has skyrocketed. Used primarily for home and business décor, young size classes (≤5 inches diameter) of birch are being targeted before they reach maturity. Birch saplings, twigs and even some larger trees are being harvested across the Ceded Territories. Because this has become a significant issue with widespread implications, a committee has formed, comprised of GLIFWC, the tribes, the WDNR, county foresters, the USFS, forest product business owners, as well as enforcement offi- cers, to research the issue further and begin to help protect the already struggling small size classes of birch. Given that wiigwaasaatig is already at a disadvantage (with low recruitment, high harvest pressures), one would hope that the trees that do survive would grow into the larger diameter size classes. However, wiigwaasaatig is relatively short- lived when compared to other tree species. “Across most of their range, mature paper birch trees average 10-12 inches (23-30 cm) in trunk diameter (dbh) and 70 feet (21 m) in height. On the best sites occasional trees may reach 30 inches (75 cm) in diameter and 100 feet (30 m) in height” (Safford et al. 1990). A changing climate provides additional pressures to wiigwaasaatig. Birch is considereda“highrisk”speciesinvariousassessmentsmeaningitishighlyvulner- able to environmental stressors that come with a changing climate. Stressed trees also become more susceptible to disease and forest pest infestations. For example, the bronze birch borer, a beetle that targets already stressed or dying trees. What’s next? Within the Ceded Territories there is a need to research wiigwaasaatig regeneration, to identify locations with ideal environmental conditions to support wiigwaasaatig,andtoimplementharvestpracticesthatfacilitatebirchregeneration. For example, it may be a good idea to target the clay plain around Lake Superior. A boreal forest, this landscape historically supported healthy wiigwaasaatig and may potentially be more resistant to a changing climate than other locations. If these “ideal locations” can be identified then we can work toward promoting large healthy birch on sites where they have a greater chance of survival. Currently, GLIFWC has begun to learn more about what environmental conditions these “ideal locations” exhibit. In a project report titled: “Character- istics of Sites Supporting Large Paper Birch in the 1836, 1837 and 1842 Ceded Territories,” GLIFWC Specialist Steve Garske collected TEK, potential canoe- birch locations and environmental characteristics to understand more about large birch site qualities. Project goals centered on learning more about the quantity, quality and dis- tribution of wiigwaasaatigoog in the Ceded Territories and learning more about environmentalconditionsthatarelikelytosupportlarge,healthytrees.Anexample of the findings in this project include: “the largest birch trees in several of the sampled locations occurred on the edge of the woods and open areas such as road or power line corridors.” Using this type of information we are continuing to work toward identifying more locations that contain the “ideal ecological characteristics” to support large diameterbirch,managingthewiigwaasaatigoogthatoccurwithintheseareasaswell as offering silvicultural recommendations to preserve large “legacy birch trees.” Other Considerations: Under the best case scenario where we fully understand how to reduce limit- ing factors and manage for the most “desirable” birch, there are other questions worth considering: How many wiigwaasaatigoog should we manage for in the Ceded Territories? As mentioned before, the Ojibwe have been described as the “first forest managers” because they understood ecological processes needed to regenerate the resources they harvested. This includes respectful harvest practices that didn’t compromise the resource as well as management techniques (such as fire) to help promote desired forest composition. Do we manage for pre-settlement amounts of wiigwaasaatigoog? Was this enough to fulfill the traditional needs of the Ojibwe? David J. Mladenoff with the Department of Forest Ecology and Management at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in a project titled: “Pre-European Settle- mentVegetationofWisconsin”foundthatpre-settlementdataactuallydemonstrates that there was much less birch on the landscape, but that it existed in small patches where fire was more prevalent. Eventually, following European settlement, cutover, and many fires, the acreage of birch forests dramatically increased. Is the post-settlement acreage of birch more desirable? For the tribes and other forest management partners, it’s an important question worthy of thorough consideration. For more information or a list of referenced material, feel free to contact me at Wiigwaas (continued from page 7) A load of confiscated birch poles. GLIFWC interns (continued from page 17) Canoers prepare their boats for launch during the 2017 Mikwendaagoziwag Memorial ceremony. Over 400 people attended the ceremony, which included a four-mile paddle across Sandy Lake, a feast, and traditional Ojibwe observances in honor of the 1850 Ojibwe band members who suffered and died traveling to Sandy Lake, Minnesota to receive annuity distributions in 1850-51. Visitors came from as far as southern Wisconsin, California, even Puerto Rico to join tribal members and friends in remembering and reflecting on the sacrifices of Ojibwe ancestors. (P. Maday photo) Mikwendaagoziwag ceremony