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Today's program focuses on one of the state's most unusual counties. Since it is in the period of transition or perhaps we should say return to reservation status. The Menominee Indian tribe is Wisconsin's oldest continuously resident tri. Residing in the Wisconsin Michigan area for over 5000 years. There are two hundred thirty five thousand acres richly endowed with vast stands of virgin timber and
recreational water is the home of the Menominee Indian. 976 has witnessed the transfer of Menominee County from a county to reservation status. Unsettled conditions are naturally part of the transition to self-determination for the nominee Indian as a homeland for future generations of the nominees is built up. However reasoned minds of leadership in both the shadow and Menominee communities continue to work quietly yet with enthusiastic energy to develop communications and human understanding within the communities which will be sincere and permanent. The single University of Wisconsin Extension staff member in Menominee County is Edna Cornelius better known as Eddie who is the youth and nutrition agent she and a guest talk about their programs and the return to reservation status. First some explanations of numbers which are used. Fifty one forty two refers to a state statute concerned with community mental health mental retardation and
alcohol and drug abuse services. The term forty nine means a party which might be held after a powwow. The series producer Ralph Johnson asks a few questions toward the close of the program and our apologies for some unavoidable typing sounds in the background. Now Eddie Cornelius begins this conversation which was recorded in the fall of 976 by describing her work 50 percent of my time and I slotted schedule time you're supposed to be working with nutrition and have a few because you feel like you however much of the strength combined I guess was a very traditional thing like computer programming and so I would say about 75 percent of my time is for youth programming. My name is Can I Get A FISH I AM a drug also from an army colony and also involved in coordinating community education programs alternative programs. Right now
we're involved in working in within the school system developing alternative programs and this is where Eddie comes in and we work together is constructing programs and how we make them become a reality. The nominees are somewhat of a drug and alcohol problem. What did you breed a problem is you know we don't know but it's primarily were interested in the youth and creating these alternate programs. Currently there is a new school system here and we have the opportunity to go into the school and I'm set up a program so that we can work with the students and developing community action kinds of things recreational things that they want to do a lot of it is geared to keeping the culture alive wearing a lot of the traditional techniques that kind of thing. We did a survey in the school and came up with. 70 suggested activities made by the kids by the students
and were developing programs around what they suggested right now. A lot of them are community action projects like recycling I'm cleaning up the environment and a lot of them are not community developmental things they are just personal kinds of things like maybe having something on gun safety or learning how to make a we want more arts and crafts jewelry making whatever but we're going to combine these efforts and try to get groups not only in the schools but on after school or evening basis. I like to touch on Manami Kalima nominee Indian reservation. I'm very known as i got a controversial thing on the reservation. It's a political battle and it's an effect it's affecting everyone down to the youth primarily with I guess it's an identity problem that young people are going through today. And it stems from a lot of factors such
as government and government boarding and Christian boarding schools. And through these programs that we're developing is to develop a sense of identity within the student so they later on don't turn to the adult world or alchol world or whatever. And at the same time they structure their lives around survival learning proper food and whatnot. I think more often than not to the Indian student as we see them are as we have been I guess in the past even have to have to live between two worlds. Partly we have to adapt to the white man's world and live and and try to maintain and partly we want to still be in the middle. And. Find ourselves and keep some of what our ancestors appearance. But are still all
about and if we don't learn it now it's going to be lost forever. And so on I think it's extremely hard for that because the Indian student and adolescence has a really hard time anyway and I think that's we're trying to do with our youth programs right now is to instill some kind of self identity. I don't know I should be proud for this and still at the same time that's what a slut. And so at the same time. Try to live in both worlds and between two worlds the stress on that point more is that. Young younger people younger Manami people feel that we are unique to the world. By that I mean we're more nominees and there is no other Menominee nation or a group of people within the world. We look upon ourselves as a nation looking at our past nominees have signed treaties as other Indian reservations have signed treaties with the
United States government pointing out through treaties that we are a nation. We should have the right to govern and make policy for our people present in any Indian reservation. It was terminated 20 years ago making us all citizens of the United States the same right taking away our policy decision making and put it up into a small group of body. But in that group accepting all of the state and governmental laws now supposedly returning to our reservation. Status and US supposedly to have solved determination and sovereignty. We have to adopt organization Act of 1934 which takes in federal and state jurisdiction by adopting this it puts our youth young people
in federal control for committing small crimes are crimes under of nine major crimes act automatically be they become. Subject to federal criminals are they go to federal institutions and institutional as we're looking at our youth. I think with these programs like Eddie said we got to live between two worlds and get this identity as Indians and be proud to be and still be able to cope or live with outside the outside world. Our economy here we have a single industry an omni tribal enterprise which operates operates under sustained yield where we have many natural resources here which have been haven't been developed in no manner at all. And through these programs and getting youth oriented into doing things but still having respect for nature.
And developing things we don't fully use up all our natural resources such as on the outside of this reservation nowheres in Wisconsin can you come to an area which is wooded in so beautiful but on the outside all it is is just planes and whatnot. Right now they have a bilingual program as a lot of the other reservations and the kids are getting it and the younger ages. They had a summer program where you know there isn't a lot of it that is I don't think fluently. So this is this is the thing that I question. You know it's it's fine and dandy to have our own school system and being able to to have somewhat of our own curriculum. But then again our tribe as we see it isn't a nation self-determination sovereignty and what not. I still have to follow the Public Instruction mandates and wear bilingual classes are not being taught in within the school. Where
in the Manami way are tradition cultural enough. Our religion our way of life is within the language. In the process of being well I would say it's in the process of being lost. But it's going to be up to the younger people to go to the elderly people that still hold this knowledge to gain this language are a way of life again. Manami language has always been verbal language an unwritten language but up until within the last two three years it has become a written language and being unwritten has less chance of getting mixed up by words just disoriented. But now being written and I don't know it's going to come to dislike the English language has one word meaning many things.
As far as the economy system goes like again the single industry and only travel enterprises as a working force of approximately. Two hundred forty people. But it's in my opinion again it's poor management. Of our operation which is causing that a decrease in jobs what kind of a token jobs might say we have we're receiving a lot of federal and state aids for various different programs and we as a tribe with all our natural resources could develop our own natural uses. We wouldn't have to depend on a state and federal government for aid. We can be like we were at one time border nation self-sufficient self-supporting. Our lumber mill supported a lot of the people here are different electrical services telephone services. We all owned everything we had our own
economy system within us in the system. I think we're going to have to come back to these programs that Eddie and myself is involved with and many many other younger people is trying to get constructive programs to instill a consciousness within the individual consciousness of us trust and honesty. Somewhat intimacy responsibility self-worth and that these are the future leaders of the tribe. And by instilling all these different aspects within individual it we can come to our tribalism once again. Really would you like to comment on the programs all you see coming.
OK we've had the cooperation of 51 42 and our office has a 4-H agent. We've done a lot of things together. Last year we sponsored a youth fair held in the Kachina with Limbaugh a beautiful outdoor theater. The kids in the ethnic classes which is the expanded food and nutrition education program which by the way as a federally funded program and we were lucky enough to have it on our reservation for the time being this past year and number of counties were excluded from that program but we maintain and will be having a program again in the fiscal year 77 within that program. The youth learn about nutrition eating the right kinds of foods how to plan and prepare meals and to stay within a fixed budget. This kind of thing we also have a few home makers involved but the majority of the people involved are youth and in cooperation with the program in the foreach program which has cooperated with 51 42.
We had the youth fair and it was a pretty big success. We had a display of everything the kids made throughout the year we had the nutrition students sell some of their goods and moccasins were displayed Scholls were displayed ribbon shirts that the kids had made and a power always how to be and and all the people that allow and tear their services for all of your local leaders the drummers that teachers of the groups that we had were given a small gift that the kids had either made or together had gotten together to purchase and this year as I said before our goals are aimed at starting similar kinds of community action themes within the schools because we do have access to the students there. And hopefully next summer we'll have a similar kind of thing displaying things that the kids made throughout the year. And I guess more than anything else we
want to emphasize this year respecting the old people and their ways and understanding a lot of the traditional values that we've somehow lost our Never. Had access to but we wish to learn about them. And maybe next something that can be there and this is for the fair kind of an appreciation to die and to what what she's saying is that I guess it's just getting people together and working together as a whole and making decisions for themselves. But in the same way the same token is our tribal government. For instance traditionally our tribal government decided the policies of the tribe in general council forms a government where every one of the tribe got together and made decisions where now was supposed to be a democratic process of all. Democratic process of the election electing individuals to make decisions for you or not in private is in a trad this transitional period. Returning to resit vision status
reservation control but again through the proposed constitution that's being developed for the Manami people is putting the power within a small group of people. A tribal legislative body which they are going to be making the decisions in the policies of the tribe administering monies and what not. In my opinion it should be to the people in a general council like we have 5200 people within a tribe and it's very feasible to operate under a general council form a government in general council form a government policy such as that no member be a part of the board of directors of our single industry and be a member of our tribal government. Because when you start getting political control political manipulation are trival judges through Constitution as it is being appointed by the tribal legislature which in my opinion
are responsive not to the people responsible to the tribal legislators many ongoing thing as land sales provisions within the Constitution. That Indian people hold two things very very sacred the land and human life as it is in my opinion the two most ignorant things there is but when you open the door for exploitation of land which the secret is sacred then you start getting the deflation to political manipulation. I think I have to mention the dreamers which our place that that was put on and sponsored by fifty one or two rather than all this is our play is our. All things were are brought across to people was through pageants are a place where people would act out parts and whatnot. Like any
Euro he would play in Europe and you know what did you feel about the expression and how things were brought out. Point brought through. OK first I think in the past pageants were. A very popular thing where they were held and in the world I'm ball that I mentioned earlier on a very regular basis and many people came from miles around to just sit and watch movies and enjoy them. Not only because of the beautiful scenery but because of the content of that. The. Particular player pageant that was being put on and this was kind of a revival of what had been done in the past. And I think the idea that that I got from it was kind of what I mentioned earlier living between two worlds and being able to accept what our environment was and how we had to survive in it. And it dealt a little bit with are we going to take the path of drugs and alcohol or are we going to be ourselves and and be proud and be free. Or are we going to let someone else run our lives in the Indian boarding schools or in the Christian world
or there were a lot of different alternatives and decisions that had to be made by the people in the plane and they were realistic alternatives and decisions that we do make every day. And I think the play was a nice nice. I don't know how to say it was a it was a good a good thing that it started again but it was also very fat stimulating it was a I. I can't know what word to use but it was it was like a revival of what what had been done in the past and I think should be an ongoing thing in the future and I would like to see some of our youth groups take up on this and make it an ongoing thing again. We're going to have to you know go with what Traditionalism is you know what an army tradition guards a way of expressing one's point of view. Are the tribes point of view through personal experiences or what not and in this foundational state. I think Leslie Walker was instrumental in writing the play
and it will be available to university systems and throughout the United States to play because it as been a movie has been made of it. And I think. It takes one to see it really get the effect of it. It takes in today's in young people what they stereotype in as because not really experiencing one Indian is through the parents haven't really been brought across because they've never been taught it because they have went to boarding schools government and Christian boarding schools. But what young people see like for instance a forty nine forty nine app and a bar closes in on everybody drinking and whatnot and they go to get a case of beer and a drum on a case of beer drumming in the drum on a car horn. This is the scene you know the first like scene one
where what is this drone was hustling each other's girlfriend stabbing each other in the back as far as taking a girl friends I guess and it's this whole. Chaos when one drunken party erupts and we're trying to display was when armies were dreamers dreamers dream dream or people. This dream achieved came across and wanted to give this couple that was not drinking a dream and it went into how awful all tribalism of the village scene and how it used to be where people were just working together and doing different activities arts and crafts and commuting communicating to get a sense and respect and love. Using Mother Earth also and scene three is when Christianity Christian people missionaries first came to me saying they are going to do this and do that for Indian people. But they want to build a big church for them and Milla big
rectory for them to live in this and in and things and where the first division of the mommy people seem to first erupt is when they disassociated the social group of people by saying calling non-Christian believers pagans and added add other. Those Indian people calling other Indian people pagans. And where at. It caused the whole development of another community Christian community pagan community and it turned on Christian people are second biggest land on Earth on our reservation. They went into relocation government. Civil unions are sending in years to government schools and sending them to cities of their choice to be relocated. But it all in every almost every instant that same inin of individuals back on their own land again because they couldn't handle a city they do this can handle the idea of living in
a dog eat dog or rat race situation. You talk of either a book or you go to school or administrator during this transitional period. Right now we have a new school and it just started to spot 76 and here is K through 12. Well so what if. A controversial issue last spring where half of the people prior to this time students were bussed in to show to high school and it was very controversial because half of the parents wanted this to continue and happy and the people that wanted their own school won out and the school went into effect. I don't think people are physically ready for or mentally ready for it but it was here nonetheless and I think it's ironing
itself out. The problems and I think it's better in the long run that it did. Happen way. And I think this year is going to be a lot of experiments. It's going to be a lot of getting things straightened out and settled but I think in the long run I'm glad that it happened and now I have to agree with you. We can. Go myself again and I'm glad it happened because we have to get back into this in our own school and not being a minority within a school. I have to come back to like how many people wanted to school system opposed to the other segment but we have a lot of things on the reservation because of the legend they project through terminations we're forced to sell some of our land to create a tax base to support state and federal taxes which at the same time these people have voting privileges and have
voting privileges. There's something like two thousand nine Indian landowners on our reservation border turnouts in county elections for instance has the most there's ever been as 800. You take the 2000 land many landowners put them here as permanent residents. They can outvote the Menominee on their own land. And I totally disagree with that I have to look over to other countries in knowing that large US corporations own land in other areas and I think there are similarities there but I don't I want to have a get right back to our own turf. Two to school system referendum the first year was shot down and we blame it on many voters that voted against it because their children would be the minority within the school rather
than with them as our That is in China where that any other community. The majority could your group is going to be going to vote it will know the languages not being taught in any to schools it was at one time as I think it was a Johnson O'Malley program I'm not sure on that but it was some kind of program that was being in to but because of funding or lack of funding to our tribal leadership again I did not deny and proposals set forth to them to have my language classes on what our tribal leadership is I would say traditional. In there I can guess I have to say that we take upon assimilation practices and a lot of ways undone by a life or merely a fact of life. Perfect example is who is guys who is adopting US policy our
policies governing Indian people reorganization ad Major Crimes that. Different policies that are set forth governing Indians and so on and that's why I have to think that they have still this Assimilation orientation and it's affecting our people. Menominee a county in transition was the subject of this program in the
series. The counties of Wisconsin. Heard were for each agent Eddie Cornelius and Kenneth Fish. The series is produced at WHL radio a service of the University of Wisconsin Extension.
Counties of Wisconsin
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Menominee County
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Chicago: “Counties of Wisconsin; 64; Menominee County,” 1975-06-17, Wisconsin Public Radio, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 19, 2024,
MLA: “Counties of Wisconsin; 64; Menominee County.” 1975-06-17. Wisconsin Public Radio, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 19, 2024. <>.
APA: Counties of Wisconsin; 64; Menominee County. Boston, MA: Wisconsin Public Radio, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from