- Free Essays, Term Papers & Book Notes

About the Menominee Tribe

Page 1 of 5

Jennifer Ortiz

Professor Cathy Caldwell

Native American Literature

16 October 2016

Menominee Tribe

        Posoh! That’s “hello” in the language of the Menominee tribe. The Menominee tribe is a wonderful tribe in Wisconsin. Menominee means “people of the wild rice”. But they like to call themselves “Kiash Matchitiwuk” which means “the ancient people”. They call themselves the ancient people because they have no migration story. The Menominee tribe values nature, wildlife, ecology, their culture, and their language,  The Menominee have a fighting spirit which has saved them from losing land and saved the land around them too. They’ve signed many treaties and continued to fight to keep their land, traditions, and people.

        It’s interesting to hear the way that the Menominee treasure the land. They are so connected to earth and wildlife that their clans have even been named after animals. There are five clans: The ancestral bear, the eagle, Wolf clan, Moose, and Crane. One of the Menominee descendants put it this way: “We are the forest” (Loew 23). Proof of their love of the land is found in their struggle to protect their timber. In 1871 they insisted on cutting their own timber and selling it on their own terms because they were selective on which trees were cut. Only mature trees and trees affected by the blow-down were cut to prevent a large scale assault by lumber barons. This was display of the tribe’s string moral value. Although they did the most they could, large sections of the Menominee forest were unfortunately cut down. However, they did not keep quiet (Loew 28).  In 1934 the Menominee filed a law suit against the forest service for mismanaging their resource. The court awarded the Menominee nation 8.5 million dollars (Loew 30). Another environmental success took place in 1986 when the energy department wanted to dump nuclear waste in the Wolf River near the Menominee reservation. The tribe was so disappointed and enraged that Menominee tribal chair Gordon Dickie started a community opposing to this outrageous idea. Even children wrote letters to Washington, one of them stated:

        “Dear Sirs,

                I am writing to tell you how I feel about a nuclear waste dump on our reservation.         

                It could kill us, and kill our animals.

                                Sincerely, Cheryl Maho” (Loew 40).

These were cries for help, and notice how the children were not only worried about themselves, but their animals too. More proof of how much Menominee care for nature and wildlife. They did not care for money, but for their forest. The deep spiritual connection the Menominee have to the Wolf River extends to their forest. They could have planted and sold their Red Oak and made lots of money, but instead they let the soil determine which trees they would plant (Loew 41). Because they have loved and protected their land, the Menominee forest has become one of the most beautiful and healthy forests on earth, so beautiful in fact that it has even been called a “jewel” by an astronaut.

        The Menominee tribe values culture as well. Part of their culture is their spiritual connection to earth. They make sure they only take what they need, and when they do, they thank their giver by performing ceremonies (Menominee History). The Menominee tribe is also known for their warrior spirit. They have had to fight not only to keep their land, but to keep their traditions and culture alive as well In 1896 there was “the Browning Ruling” which was a policy revoking rights of Indian parents to choose where their child went to school. Children were shipped off to boarding schools, far away from their parents. The schools the children were sent to prohibited them from showing their true identity; they were not allowed to speak their language or engage in the Menominee cultural practices (Loew 29). This contributed to a cultural loss in the Menominee children. This would explain why they are very concerned about losing their language. In order to keep their culture alive, they hold a culture camp each summer to refresh their language skills and participate in traditional activities.

Download as (for upgraded members)
Citation Generator

(2016, 12). About the Menominee Tribe. Retrieved 12, 2016, from

"About the Menominee Tribe" 12 2016. 2016. 12 2016 <>.

"About the Menominee Tribe.", 12 2016. Web. 12 2016. <>.

"About the Menominee Tribe." 12, 2016. Accessed 12, 2016.