Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24Published by the Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission Winter 2016-17 Tree of life in trouble Harvest of twigs, branches and logs adds to paper birch’s woes Breathing new life into Indian education The Lac Courte Oreilles Veteran Color Guard and drum group Badger Singers (right) got the Act 31 Celebration off to a good start August 18. In the background, Dennis White delivers an invocation. White is a longtime educator and 2016 WIEA Educator of the Year. (COR photo) (see Act 31, page 8) By Charlie Otto Rasmussen, Editor Reserve, Wis.—Despite all the bitter seeds anti-Indian protestors worked to sew at northern boat landings in the late 1980s, the era did produce some healthy outgrowth. Among the fruits, state legislation known as Act 31 (1989/1991), requiringallpublicschooldistrictstoteachstudentsabouttreatyrights,tribalculture and sovereignty. Representatives from Wisconsin Indian Education Association (WIEA) gathered at Lac Courte Oreilles (LCO) August 18 to celebrate the statute and discuss strategies to improve its implementation. “Thiscelebrationisagoodthing,”saidJasonSchlender,masterofceremonies and LCO tribal governing board member. “But we recognize that we have more work to do.” That theme cut to the heart of Act 31 today, a quarter century after the bipar- tisan effort designed to bring a better understanding of Wisconsin’s 12 tribes into mainstream education. While some school districts and individual teachers are effectivelyincorporatingnativeeducationintoclassrooms,manyWisconsineduca- tors are failing. So why a celebration? Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Consultant David O’Connor explained that Act 31 proponents wanted to change the tone of the discussion surrounding Indian education. “AroundthreeyearsagowedecidedtotalkaboutwhatAct31wasgettingdone, notjustfocusonthenegative,ofwhat’snothappening,”O’Connorsaid.WIEAfirst sponsored the event in Madison, then Bad River, and now most recently at LCO. While the volume of quality materials about tribes has certainly grown over the last 25 years, making educators aware of what’s available, and how to present it, is an ongoing challenge. O’Connorandothersconductworkshopsaroundthestate,sharingeducational resources with K-12 teachers and school administrators. Another strategy to con- nect educators with Act 31 program materials centers on reaching teachers before they are certified by the state. From Act 31 legislation The state superintendent shall develop a curriculum for grades 4 to 12 on the Chippewa Indians’ treaty-based, off-reservation rights to hunt, fish and gather. 115.28(17)(d), Wis Stats The Ojibwe people have used wiigwaasaatig (the paper or white birch tree, alsoknownaswiigwaasi-mitig)forthousandsofyears.Fromwiigwaasaatigcomes makakoon (baskets) to store things in, jiimaanan (canoes) to efficiently travel the lake country, and roofs for wiigiwaaman (wiigwaams). Wiigwaas (birch bark) is traditionally used as paper for drawing images. Containers made of wiigwaas can be used to boil water and even maple sap over a fire—as long as liquid remains in the container, it won’t burn. The starchy inner bark of wiigwaasaatig can provide a nutritious emergency food. In spring, wiigwaasaatig provides sap that can be consumed as a medicine or boiled down to syrup. One Anishinaabe dibaajimowin (story) (as told by Anishinaabe elder Kee- waydinoquay in the book, “Our Knowledge is Not Primitive” by Wendy Makoons Geniusz) relates how, along with Grandmother cedar (Nookomis giizhik), Grand- father wiigwaasaatig is a tree of life, because together these two trees can provide a person with everything they need to survive. For years tribal elders have expressed concern at the decline of wiigwaasaati- goog (birch trees) across the Ceded Territory. Then last year, a report by GLIFWC staff and the US Forest Service (USFS) entitled, Paper Birch (Wiigwaas) of the Lake States, 1980-2010, examined USFS Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data and found the same thing. The reasons for this decline are many. Many elders remember the time when the trees that got their start after widespread clearcutting in the late 1800s and early 1900s were common and reaching their prime. Wiigwaasaatig is not very shade-tolerant, and the seedlings have difficulty surviving under a dense canopy of aninaatig (sugar maple) and other shade-tolerant trees. It regenerates well after By Steve Garske, GLIFWC Plant Specialist Illegal wiigwaasaatig harvest on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, April 2016. (Steve Garske photo) (see Tree of life, page 21) In order to legally harvest birch poles tribal members must obtain a small-scale lodgepole permit from their tribal conservation department. Lodgepoles are any tree that are less than 5” diameter at breast height. Any tree larger than this is considered timber and requires a different permit. This permit is valid for up to 75 trees per year. Tribal members who wish to harvest more than 75 trees must work with their tribal conservation department and GLIFWC to determine suitable areas for this harvest to occur. PAGE 1 MAZINA’IGAN WINTER 2016-17