Celebrating Native American Tradition
Restoring and Recovering Native Plants
On September 13-14, 2012, representatives from four American Indian tribes in the Upper Great Lakes Basin met with US National Forest Service staff to continue sharing skills and experiences for use in collaborative efforts to restore and preserve native plants and protect pollinators.
The Lac View Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians (LVD) hosted the event in Watersmeet, Michigan with the second day of the workshop held at the Old Village Round House, a traditional ceremonial and gathering place for the LVD tribal community. Key presenters included Scott Herron, PhD, ethno-botanist and Odawa tribal member, Giiwegiizhigookway (Giiwe) Martin, Director of LVD Historic Preservation, and Roger LaBine, LVD tribal Conversation committee and an oversight supervisor for wild rice harvesting. Hands-on sessions for the 39 participants involved practical sessions on seed cleaning, seed storage, invasive species, and native seed harvesting. Sue Rabitaille provided technical insights from her role as greenhouse manager for the Hiawatha National Forest.
Tribes represented at the event included the Sault Ste Marie Band of Chippewa Indians, the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC), the Forest County Potawatomi Community, and the Lac View Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians. Evelyn Rivandren, KBIC tribal member and Kelly Constantino, Director of Youth Activities and Education for the Sault Ste Indian Community were designated as key leaders for this ongoing native plants initiative.
The 4th such gathering since 2010, the event was coordinated by The Cedar Tree Institute and Jan Schultz, USDAFS Botanist, Eastern Region of the USDAFS. The title for these workshops, rooted in the language of the Anishinaabe, is Kinomaage meaning “teachings from the earth.” The intention of these workshops is to assist indigenous leaders in affirming and reclaiming key roles as traditional caretakers and protectors of the Great Lakes botanical ecosystem. The next workshop is scheduled for April 2013.
The Kinomaage series is part of the Wings and Seeds Project (Zaagkii) first launched in 2008 by the Cedar Tree Institute, the USDA Forest Service, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Northern Michigan University’s Center for Native American Studies, and Michigan’s Marquette County Juvenile Court.