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<v Host>In 1953, the federal government began a new Indian policy, <v Host>termination. The Menominee Indians of Wisconsin were the first to lose <v Host>almost all of their tribal rights and privileges. <v Host>But the Menominee people would take up the challenge to save their tribe, their <v Host>heritage and their land. [music] <v Host>A long time ago, when we used to go to the councils, the general councils, <v Host>when any time they talked about the land, the old people always asked. <v Host>'What's in it for our young people?
<v Host>What is our young people going to do? <v Host>Where are they going to go if we sell this land?' A white man <v Host>always wanted- wanted this Menominee land. <v Host>One time they said the Menomenees had too much land. <v Host>And the old fellow said, 'We don't have too much land. <v Host>That's all we got.' Save your land, <v Host>don't sell it, because this is all you got. <v Host>Well, that's just a little bit I want to tell you about all this land here <v Host>that you're enjoying right now. <v Host>A long time ago, Nicolet was the first white man that came <v Host>here when he passed through. <v Host>He discovered the Menominee Indians and I think that in 1634. <v Host>[sound of gunfire] <v Host>John Nicolet, dressed like a Chinese Mandarin, leaped to shore with a flourish <v Host>of pistol fire. He'd canoed over 2,000 miles through the Great Lakes <v Host>to find a trade route to the Indies.
<v Host>Now he stood ready to meet the rulers of the Orient. <v Host>To his chagrin, and the shock of those unsure, Nicolet came face to <v Host>face with the natives of northeastern Wisconsin. <v Host>This was the land of the Menominees. <v Host>For centuries they'd lived in villages, moving with the changing seasons. <v Host>To hunt, to fish, to harvest the wild rice from their lakes and rivers. <v Host>Nicolet's encounter with the Menominees was brief. <v Host>He was soon off again in search of China, but this meeting marked <v Host>the beginning of a cultural encounter that would challenge the entire lifestyle <v Host>of the Menominee Indians. <v Host>The first French came to explore. <v Host>The second wave came to exploit. <v Host>French trappers pushed inland, shipping fur pelts back to the European fashion <v Host>market. A period of intense trading began. <v Host>In exchange for pelts, the Menomenees received beads, pots, <v Host>tools, weapons. Traditional skills fell before the ready-made, ready-to-use
<v Host>trade goods. The rifle would soon replace the bow. <v Host>And like other tribes, many Menominees left their villages to settle closer to <v Host>the forts, closer to their supply of trade goods. <v Host>Within two generations, the Indian culture had changed dramatically from <v Host>a subsistence life of hunting and gathering to a fur trading economy. <v Host>But the fur industry began to decline and with it the supply of trade <v Host>goods. The Menominee tribe, now dependent on the fur trade, <v Host>faced a bleak future. <v Host>Then, in 1794, the United States government claimed possession <v Host>of the Menominee land and by the turn of the century, settlement began <v Host>in the years between 1830 and 1850. <v Host>The white population of the newly organized territory of Wisconsin exploded from 4,000 <v Host>to over 300,000. <v Host>The homeland of the Menominees became the land of promise for homeless immigrants.
<v Host>The country was cleared, fenced and claimed in the name of individual <v Host>landownership. In the first half of the 19th century, the U.S. <v Host>government pressured the Menominees into 4 major land sessions. <v Speaker>How much land did the Menominees own when the <v Speaker>white man first discovered him? <v Speaker>He owned 9 million acres. <v Speaker>You know, 9 million acres of Menominee's own. <v Speaker>Now, how much do we have? <v Speaker>Round 230,000 acres we have. <v Speaker>They sold all- I think- I forgot how many thousands of acres <v Speaker>they sold the U.S. <v Speaker>government and they sold it for 6 cents an acre. <v Speaker>Finally, they sold most of their reservation for 17 <v Speaker>cents an acre. <v Speaker>The Menominees were a little nation, and they couldn't argue with the- <v Speaker>what the U.S. government because they'd wipe them out.
<v Host>The American Indian had lost power. <v Host>Now he would lose his land. <v Host>The Indian Removal Act of 1830 was designed to force all tribes <v Host>west of the Mississippi. <v Host>The Menominees were slated for resettlement in Minnesota. <v Host>Chief Reginald Oshkosh carried their plea to Washington. <v Host>His people, he said, had already suffered so much they had harmed no <v Host>one. And all they wanted was to be left in peace. <v Host>In 1858, the final treaty was signed. <v Host>The 2,000 remaining Menominees would take up a sedentary reservation life <v Host>on a small, isolated fragment of their ancestral homeland. <v Host>But the Menominees were not isolated from a new government policy to Americanize <v Host>the Indian and put him on a sound economic base, farming. <v Host>Thousands of settlers were successful as farmers. <v Host>The Menominees could certainly learn.
<v Host>Every treaty contained provisions for the teaching of farming. <v Host>And every effort was made by the Indian and the Indian agents to <v Host>bring about the success of this great cultural experiment. <v Host>Even in the Menominee Indian Fair was organized to stimulate farming through <v Host>competition in the annual exhibits. <v Host>But Menominee farming declined and the fair became largely a carnival. <v Host>[music] <v Host>The experiment designed in Washington was a failure.
<v Host>By 1863, economic conditions were tragic. <v Host>That year, the commissioner of Indian affairs pictured the plight of the Menominees as <v Host>one of abject misery and almost hopeless poverty. <v Host>The land was worthless for farming. <v Host>A forest of pine and hardwood stood against the Menominee farmer. <v Host>But from these same dense woods, the Menominees were to find their future. <v Host>A rapidly growing country needed lumber for homes for cities. <v Host>In 1872, a tribal lumber camp was organized and the harvest of pine <v Host>began. Where farming had failed, logging succeeded. <v Host>The tribal economy began to stabilize and the future looked good. <v Host>But on the horizon came another threat to the Menominees. <v Host>Powerful lumber barons pressured the tribe to sell their land. <v Host>Chief Neopit expressed the opinion of his people. <v Host>'We accepted our present reservation when it was considered of no value by our white <v Host>friends, and all we ask is to be permitted to keep it as a home.'
<v Host>After years of bitter struggle with the lumber barons, the Menominee succeeded in <v Host>developing their own logging industry. <v Host>And by 1905, the Menominee log fund in the US Treasury <v Host>amounted to more than 2 million dollars. <v Host>Three years later, they built their own sawmill. <v Host>It became a major source of income and employment for the Menominee people. <v Host>The mill was managed by the Indian bureau, but not very well. <v Host>The situation deteriorated until 1934, when a mismanagement <v Host>suit was filed against the federal government. <v Host>The court decision finally came 17 years later. <v Sylvia Wilbur>In 1951, the Menominee tribe won a judgment from <v Sylvia Wilbur>the federal government in which we were awarded 8.5 Million dollars, <v Sylvia Wilbur>which swelled our tribal treasury to 10 million dollars. <v Sylvia Wilbur>Our forests were valued at 36 million dollars. <v Sylvia Wilbur>So as a tribe, we were rich. <v Sylvia Wilbur>But individually the Menominees were poor in that we
<v Sylvia Wilbur>were far below any normal norms <v Sylvia Wilbur>which are comparable to outside of- the- <v Sylvia Wilbur>in the white society, so to speak. <v Host>In 1953, to relieve individual poverty, the tribe requested <v Host>from its own funds per capita payments of 15000 dollars. <v Host>The government responded that payment would be granted if the tribe consented <v Host>to termination of federal responsibility on the reservation. <v Host>The Menominee General Council voted in favor of the poorly understood principle <v Host>of termination. But when the implications of termination were understood, <v Host>the council reversed its decision. <v Host>The immediate effect of termination would be the loss of most of the Menominees <v Host>100 year old treaty rights, rights which had been paid for by the cession of millions <v Host>of acres of Menominee land to the federal government. <v Host>The ancient system of tribal land ownership would no longer be valid.
<v Host>Individual Menominees would be forced to buy back title to their own home sites. <v Host>Both individuals and the tribal corporation would lose the right of tax <v Host>exemption. The Board of Indian Affairs would end its health, education <v Host>and utility services, and the tribal roles would be closed. <v Host>Children born to Menominees after termination would be legally deprived <v Host>of their birthright as Menominee Indians. <v Host>They would inherit only their parents portion of the Menominee assets. <v Host>Hunting and fishing rights would be the only treaty rights allowed by the government <v Host>after termination. <v Host>In 1954, the Menominee Termination Act was signed <v Host>and after many unsuccessful attempts to halt termination in 1961, <v Host>the Menominee Indian Reservation became the smallest and poorest county <v Host>in Wisconsin. <v Sylvia Wilbur>At the time of termination, the Menominee tribe was
<v Sylvia Wilbur>one of the 4 most prosperous Indian tribes in the nation. <v Sylvia Wilbur>We were self-sustaining. We had to rely on the <v Sylvia Wilbur>federal government very little for any money to <v Sylvia Wilbur>conduct our tribal affairs. We had our hospital and we had the school. <v Sylvia Wilbur>Uh, we paid for our own services. <v Sylvia Wilbur>Termination created a complete different <v Sylvia Wilbur>situation- uh, county corporate structure, which was quite foreign to <v Sylvia Wilbur>the Menominee people. We then were faced with taxes since our tax <v Sylvia Wilbur>exemption was taken from us. <v Sylvia Wilbur>So the economic situation resulting from termination what <v Sylvia Wilbur>caused extreme economic problems for the Menominee tribe. <v Sylvia Wilbur>We were forced to close the hospital because it did not meet state <v Sylvia Wilbur>standards. We lost the schools <v Sylvia Wilbur>and had to become a part of the Shawano District 8 schools.
<v Sylvia Wilbur>But at the time of termination then, each Menominee received a <v Sylvia Wilbur>1,500 dollar per capita payment and also <v Sylvia Wilbur>100 shares in the tribal cooperation. <v Sylvia Wilbur>But the 1,500 dollars just lasted very <v Sylvia Wilbur>little because of the poor situation that the Menominees were in individually. <v Sylvia Wilbur>Their homes were in bad need of repairs and so much of this was used <v Sylvia Wilbur>up immediately. <v Sylvia Wilbur>And then they were faced with the taxes and the insurances and <v Sylvia Wilbur>the school costs and all the other costs <v Sylvia Wilbur>that we're facing, any other person. <v Host>Termination proved to be an economic and a social disaster. <v Host>The Menominees were confused, angry and afraid. <v Host>Many traditions had passed away, like the belief that the spirit comes <v Host>and goes through the opening on the old ceder graves.
<v Host>In the face of eroding conditions, they fought for their economic life and <v Host>their tribal birthright. <v Host>The Menominee tribe would not die, not by a simple law. <v Host>Menominee Pride would be handed down as long as the old would talk, and <v Host>the young would listen. <v Speaker>We find ourselves at the place where the Great Spirit has brought <v Speaker>us, at the crossroads of life. <v Speaker>Like the situation we Indian people find ourselves losing our sacred <v Speaker>land, losing our heritage, our culture and everything. <v Speaker>Uphold the culture and the heritage and the traditions <v Speaker>of our Indian people. Many of you, I believe you <v Speaker>young people have heard of the vanishing American. <v Speaker>We are not vanishing. The Indian will never vanish. <v Speaker>In fact, the Indian is rising in power. <v Speaker>And I know, the day is coming when the Indian
<v Speaker>is going to come into full power. <v Speaker>He's going to rise up and take up where our forefathers <v Speaker>left off. What they expected this generation to accomplish, <v Speaker>we couldn't accomplish it. <v Speaker>We're getting to old. We're getting to that place where we're getting at the end of the <v Speaker>trail. Now it's up to you young people to take up the way, <v Speaker>the Indian belief that he believed that everything that we see, these trees <v Speaker>they were sacred to him, even the grasses, even the flowers, the weeds, <v Speaker>everything. It's got life, it's alive. <v Speaker>We should be proud that we're Indian. We should not try to marr that Indian figure.
<v Speaker>We should not try to spoil what God has given to each one of us. <v Speaker>No, but we should uphold that and protect the Indian image that <v Speaker>the world might see that we're- they're equal. <v Speaker>I've heard people make this statement. <v Speaker>'Well, I'm a minority. I don't-Nobody will listen to me.' No. <v Speaker>We should just stick our chest out and say, look at me, I'm an Indian. <v Speaker>I'm just as good as you are. Give me a chance to say my piece. <v Host>But for a young Menominee, Indian pride was not easily learned. <v Host>For a long time, the school system did little to encourage the teaching of Menominee <v Host>traditions. Ted Boyd, now vice president of Menominee Enterprises, <v Host>remembers that system. <v Ted Boyd>Well, I think both of these school systems were white oriented <v Ted Boyd>type of, uh school systems. They effectively stripped us <v Ted Boyd>of our culture. <v Ted Boyd>Uh, in the case of the parochial schools,
<v Ted Boyd>it was kind of verboten to display anything <v Ted Boyd>that exhibited or, uh, reflected Indian-ness. <v Ted Boyd>It was more of a process of trying to assimilate the <v Ted Boyd>Indian into the white society. <v Ted Boyd>The same thing continued at the high school level. <v Ted Boyd>I think, though, it was more about, uh, <v Ted Boyd>mental hassle for the student. <v Ted Boyd>And I can say in my particular case that I had a real <v Ted Boyd>problem adjusting to the school system in Shawano and that it was even less <v Ted Boyd>suited for the needs of the Indian. <v Ted Boyd>And it simply did not seem to adjust or want <v Ted Boyd>to adjust to the needs and desires of the Indian. <v Ted Boyd>The Indian was thrown into a situation that he didn't understand. <v Ted Boyd>And he was expected to compete with students who were
<v Ted Boyd>brought up in a different type of school system and were used to the <v Ted Boyd>competition type. <v Host>Glenn Miller, a recent graduate of the school system, still sees problems. <v Glenn Miller>Like, um, the first thing that hit me in there <v Glenn Miller>was I couldn't, um, adjust to the work. <v Glenn Miller>It was kind of a rush thing. <v Glenn Miller>I wasn't used to working at a fast pace. <v Glenn Miller>I had to have my assignments on in a certain time and then plus some <v Glenn Miller>I always got the burden of being on because I'd fall behind. <v Glenn Miller>I'd have an extra amount of homework to do. <v Glenn Miller>tI couldn't catch up. <v Ted Boyd>The direct result was underperformance, demoralization, a feeling of <v Ted Boyd>inferiority. This is- there's no question- this is a direct result of it. <v Host>After termination most Menominee children attended elementary <v Host>schools within Menominee County, schools in which the vast majority of students <v Host>were Indian. But at a vulnerable age when values and methods of dealing
<v Host>with the world and itself are already in a state of flux. <v Host>The Menominee student was bussed out of the county. <v Host>In the Shawano high school, he suddenly became a member of the Indian minority. <v Host>The culture shock was evident in the high rate of Menominee failure, suspension, <v Host>and expulsion. And many Menominee students and parents believe that <v Host>the Shawano school district was doing very little to help the situation. <v Host>Resentment grew, and in 1972, charges of discrimination were <v Host>filed. The Department of Health, Education and Welfare found the <v Host>district in violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. <v Host>Everett Jensen is principal of the Lincoln Elementary School and member of the Shawano <v Host>District Committee to respond to the HEW findings. <v Everett Jensen>Well, I think, uh, the things <v Everett Jensen>that we're concerned about and the problems that we have today, we're already in <v Everett Jensen>existence. They've been with us for a long time.
<v Everett Jensen>As a result of the HEW investigation, there were two possible ways we <v Everett Jensen>could go. One would be to fight these allegations in court, and the <v Everett Jensen>other one would be to try to have someone come in and tell us what <v Everett Jensen>was wrong with our system, what we could do. <v Everett Jensen>A lawsuit would be very expensive, and many times they haven't settled anything either. <v Everett Jensen>Eventually somebody wins or somebody loses. <v Everett Jensen>But you really haven't solved the key problem. <v Everett Jensen>So our idea in District 8 was to try <v Everett Jensen>to find out and get a team in here and find out what the problems <v Everett Jensen>were, what it is that we could do about these problems. <v Everett Jensen>And we hoped that way that we maybe would have a better educational system for the <v Everett Jensen>Native American Indians attending our school. <v Host>In the summer of 1973, 35 teachers, principals <v Host>and staff members participated in a pilot program to study Menominee Culture. <v Host>Videotapes were made for use with other district date personnel.
<v Everett Jensen>During the summer, our involvement was more or less not to learn <v Everett Jensen>about minorities from a textbook, but actually to involve the Menominee <v Everett Jensen>people in our program. <v Everett Jensen>And the course more or less- the basis of the course was to have Menominee people <v Everett Jensen>come into Shawano schools and present some <v Everett Jensen>of the things about their culture. <v Everett Jensen>And so we got a by- a cross section of Menominee people- we got some of <v Everett Jensen>the older people, the family people, the younger children. <v Everett Jensen>We got people from the various groups that we have up in Menominee County <v Everett Jensen>and got some of their feelings and ideas. <v Everett Jensen>Then also, we took some trips into Menominee County. <v Everett Jensen>We visited the courthouse. We visited the visitor destination center. <v Everett Jensen>We spoke with Menominees. All of the 34 people who were in this class <v Everett Jensen>or 35, whatever it was, they actually went and walked around <v Everett Jensen>and as they met people, they discussed some of these things with the people.
<v Everett Jensen>So there was Menominee County involvement in the summer course. <v Host>The summer project was followed by a series of teacher in service programs. <v Host>In a daylong session, representatives of the Wisconsin Department of Public <v Host>Instruction raised issues that focused on the Menominee situation. <v Arnold M. Chandler>There are places where in this state where <v Arnold M. Chandler>a minority group, not Indian, but one that which has the same data drop <v Arnold M. Chandler>out, nobody going on to college- all- all the same kind of statistics where they have <v Arnold M. Chandler>gotten representation, where they do have Spanish speaking aides, <v Arnold M. Chandler>where they do have a lot of the things realized that that community <v Arnold M. Chandler>asked for, and <v Arnold M. Chandler>it can be done. <v Arnold M. Chandler>It has been done, and I think the starting point still has to be to <v Arnold M. Chandler>have you express your opinion openly.
<v Speaker>OK. We've asked for communication for a good many years. <v Speaker>We have asked to be represented on the school board for a good many years. <v Speaker>And, uh, the way the school board elections are set up <v Speaker>we do not get representation on the school boards. <v Speaker>You cannot say society decides what is going to be taught in the schools because <v Speaker>we are a part of society and we have never had input in there. <v Speaker>Now, if you're going to start with communication, even on a small group basis, then we <v Speaker>should have an equal say so and our input should be acknowledged and <v Speaker>even listen to and implemented. <v Arnold M. Chandler>Yes, sir. <v Speaker>Well, we're missing the mark on values is the toleration <v Speaker>of those values without getting into <v Speaker>the acceptance of other values that might <v Speaker>be more practical. I am American Indian and last year taught <v Speaker>in predominantly Indian populated school. <v Speaker>But one day we approach a subject like this.
<v Speaker>What is a white man? <v Speaker>A white man is different in definition in the South <v Speaker>that then he would be in the North. <v Speaker>And because of the exchange in cultural views, he <v Speaker>has accumulated a set of practices that <v Speaker>are practical in our society. <v Speaker>And this is good. <v Speaker>And as an Indian wanting to succeed in this world, <v Speaker>I have to analyze this and see <v Speaker>just what is the best for me, how I can survive and make <v Speaker>the best in income, the best way of living, even if <v Speaker>I have to accept some Chinese and Russia ideas which <v Speaker>are not exactly wrong, I may disagree with <v Speaker>communism, but yet there may be some things within their system <v Speaker>that may be good.
<v Arnold M. Chandler>That was in fact, what you're expressing is the original idea of the American melting <v Arnold M. Chandler>pot. That was not to fuse everybody into one model, but to <v Arnold M. Chandler>draw the best from all and try to come up- that was the original attitude <v Arnold M. Chandler>that what- what we can do is take a good idea from here, a good idea <v Arnold M. Chandler>from there. We can live together without- <v Arnold M. Chandler>without conflict if we examine- we keep communication open. <v Arnold M. Chandler>We can examine what's good here, what's bad there, and kind <v Arnold M. Chandler>of draw from the best. <v Host>Communication was the key. <v Host>The Menominees had raised the educational and cultural issue with their lawsuit. <v Host>The Shawano district had made a positive response, but there was still a long <v Host>way to go. <v Host>In the meantime, Indian students would still drop out of school. <v Host>The Menominees again took up the challenge, developing their own community school <v Host>with over 50 former high school dropouts. <v Host>They turned the visitor destination center at Keshena into classrooms.
<v Host>The destination center was originally built with another purpose in mind, as was <v Host>the shopping center that stood nearby. <v Host>They were to be support areas for a grand scheme of tourism and land development <v Host>that was to pull the Menominee people out of the economic disaster <v Host>of termination in Shanno only seven miles away. <v Host>Business was good. There was industrial development and a stable population <v Host>large enough to form a sound economic base. <v Host>In newly formed Menominee County the opposite was true. <v Host>A few small businesses scattered along the main roads, a depressed <v Host>economy, growing welfare rolls and rising unemployment, <v Host>especially among the young. <v Glenn Miller>I think one of the main reasons for the young people not being able to get a job on <v Glenn Miller>year is just that there isn't any- there isn't- just isn't any jobs here for 'em. <v Glenn Miller>There's- as far them being on welfare- going on welfare, there's
<v Glenn Miller>just no other thing you can do. You just can't let them sit out and starve to death. <v Glenn Miller>Like, the girls, I always think are quite fortunate <v Glenn Miller>because they can probably go out and get married and find someone that'll support them on <v Glenn Miller>the outside. But a lot of the young people that live here and do get married <v Glenn Miller>here, most of them end up working in the mill. <v Glenn Miller>[sounds of lumber mill] <v Host>Most of the Menominees employed in the county, worked in some part of the logging <v Host>operation. There just weren't many other jobs around. <v Host>[lumber mill sounds] <v Host>The whole lumber industry was owned and operated by Menominee Enterprises Incorporated,
<v Host>MEI. <v Host>And so was nearly everything else in the county, the land, the lakes and the forest. <v Host>[lumber mill sounds] MEI <v Host>was owned collectively by the Menominee people, at least in theory. <v Host>And the corporation, like its tribal owners, faced grave financial problems. <v Host>The process of termination had all but depleted the tribal treasury. <v Host>There was no capital for repairs, much less expansion. <v Host>Logging could not be increased to bring in more income. <v Host>The tribe had bound itself by law to a method of sustained yield cutting. <v Host>It would pay off in the long run, but not now. <v Host>MEI <v Host>was the principal industry in the county and the principal taxpayer.
<v Host>In the early years, the corporation carried 80 to 90 percent of the county tax burden <v Host>even with special federal relief funds. <v Host>The economy of the county, its people and its industry declined. <v Host>In 1967, studies were conducted by an outside management firm to <v Host>find a solution to the economic problems of the county. <v Host>Its recommendations: to develop recreational resources. <v Host>The MEI board of directors took action and the following year joined into partnership <v Host>with the land development firm. <v Host>A portion of the untouched waters and lake shores would be converted into a profit <v Host>making tourist and homesite operation, complete with a visitor destination <v Host>center. It was called Legend Lake. <v Host>The land was cleared and several lakes were artificially merged.
<v Host>Soon, the sale of land to non-Indians and the construction of seasonal homes <v Host>began at full speed. <v Host>The blessing of termination would finally set the Menominee people free from economic <v Host>depression and only at the cost of about 5,000 acres of Menominee <v Host>land divided into neat, compact individual lots. <v Host>sBut some Menominees voiced their opposition to the actions of the board. <v Host>The loss of more of their land was too great a price to pay. <v Sylvia Wilbur>Indian people entered into treaties and Menominees <v Sylvia Wilbur>did, in particular in 1854, to hold this land as Indian <v Sylvia Wilbur>lands- are held for-forever. <v Sylvia Wilbur>And this meant that as a group we held it, group <v Sylvia Wilbur>feelings that are predominant and not individual feelings <v Sylvia Wilbur>and individual land holdings. <v Sylvia Wilbur>Our land is sacred.
<v Sylvia Wilbur>We feel that this land belongs to all the Menominee and not individual <v Sylvia Wilbur>Menominee. And to see that it's- it's- it's necessary to sell it off <v Sylvia Wilbur>in order to survive. It's just no solution to any problem. <v Sylvia Wilbur>We will feel that eventually we will have no land holding <v Sylvia Wilbur>and we will have to- we'll see the eventual dispersal of all <v Sylvia Wilbur>Menominees from this area. And we will have no tribe. <v Host>To one Menominee, the days of massive land sessions were not forgotten. <v Host>He would fight for his birthright. <v Speaker>[Speaking traditional language] <v Speaker>One thing I want to tell you, Menominee Indians, you own your <v Speaker>waters. <v Speaker>And no one can take them away from you.
<v Speaker>[Speaking traditional language] <v Speaker>I'm asking you Indians to stay and help us fight for our <v Speaker>waters and get the white people off from our- near our waters. <v Host>Opposition to the land sales spread. <v Host>In the spring of 1970, a grass roots organization was formed. <v Host>DRUMS, Determination of Rights and Unity for Menominee shareholders. <v Host>Sylvia Wilbur was a charter member. <v Sylvia Wilbur>Well, I think DRUMS started to emerge <v Sylvia Wilbur>when the Legend Lake project began. <v Sylvia Wilbur>But I think we were at an advantage. <v Sylvia Wilbur>Those of us that started DRUMS or that were the charter members of DRUMS, <v Sylvia Wilbur>we were more of a had an advantage over the
<v Sylvia Wilbur>tribal leaders or those in charge of Menominee Enterprises <v Sylvia Wilbur>at that time. Because we knew we were in the majority. <v Sylvia Wilbur>We visited homes, and we knew much of this talk was going on in the homes <v Sylvia Wilbur>among our friends. <v Sylvia Wilbur>And when we tried to get to the cooperation officials and <v Sylvia Wilbur>tell them, they didn't listen. <v Sylvia Wilbur>They wouldn't hear of us. <v Sylvia Wilbur>We were treated much the same way that we were treated <v Sylvia Wilbur>in in high school, inferior. <v Sylvia Wilbur>And at this point then we were determined to do something. <v Sylvia Wilbur>We had no other choice. <v Sylvia Wilbur>We just felt we couldn't lose. There was nothing to lose. <v Sylvia Wilbur>We were losing everything the way it was. <v Ted Boyd>And I think another thing that really uh impressed <v Ted Boyd>me was the- was the fact that at first when <v Ted Boyd>DRUMS came on the scene, I felt that they were a minority group, some
<v Ted Boyd>dissenters that were not really truly representative <v Ted Boyd>of the Menominee. But after a point in time, it became apparent, <v Ted Boyd>very apparent that the DRUMS <v Ted Boyd>was the- comprised the vast majority of the Menominee people, at <v Ted Boyd>least their philosophy. The vast majority of the Menominee people were <v Ted Boyd>sympathetic. <v Host>The DRUMSs movement face to struggle on two fronts: how to stop the sale <v Host>of land and how to convince the Menominee people they have the power to do <v Host>it. <v Sylvia Wilbur>They felt there was nowhere to turn. Nothing to do. <v Sylvia Wilbur>Everything would be lost. And so this determination we had to build within our <v Sylvia Wilbur>own people, a determination and a drive to move to change the status <v Sylvia Wilbur>that we were in. And so this land, we had to convince <v Sylvia Wilbur>our people that we- we could go <v Sylvia Wilbur>against all the odds that they've always been through.
<v Sylvia Wilbur>Indian people are always pushed aside and never given any consideration <v Sylvia Wilbur>because they are a minority. But together as a group, we could achieve <v Sylvia Wilbur>what we wanted. <v Host>Rallies were held, and once again the Menominee people began to feel the strength in <v Host>unity. On October 2nd, 1971, members of DRUMS <v Host>began a march from Legend Lake to the state capital, Madison. <v Speaker>There have been numerous social welfare and educational problems that have taken place <v Speaker>in Menominee County that have never been given the proper attention of the <v Speaker>public officials and the people that are responsible for the administration of those <v Speaker>affairs in Menominee County. <v Speaker>We have been conducting a nonviolent protest and activities for the last year and a half. <v Speaker>As far as Congress is concerned, it seems to be at a standstill. <v Speaker>And we feel that with the personal intervention of the governor of the state of Wisconsin <v Speaker>into some of these problems, that this needs his attention.
<v Speaker>Our ultimate goal is for the reversal of termination. <v Speaker>However, in the meantime, there are numerous problems in Menominee <v Speaker>County that have to be taken care of. <v Governor Patrick J. Lucey>Your journey has been long and arduous. <v Governor Patrick J. Lucey>By this deed, by the attention it has generated, you <v Governor Patrick J. Lucey>have helped the citizens of the state to understand the serious problems <v Governor Patrick J. Lucey>of the Menominee people. <v Governor Patrick J. Lucey>I think it is true that the state of Wisconsin could do better in using <v Governor Patrick J. Lucey>its resources in solving the problems of its Indian citizens, <v Governor Patrick J. Lucey>including the citizens of Menominee County. <v Governor Patrick J. Lucey>And I want the state to use its full resources to assist its Indian citizens <v Governor Patrick J. Lucey>in obtaining a better life. <v Governor Patrick J. Lucey>It is my hope that this day will mark the beginning of <v Governor Patrick J. Lucey>a better relationship between the government of the state of Wisconsin <v Governor Patrick J. Lucey>and our Indian citizens. I thank you very much.
<v Governor Patrick J. Lucey>[applause, drumming] <v Host>DRUMs made an all out effort to rally the Menominee people. <v Host>There would soon be an election of the MEI board. <v Host>Each Menominee shareholder could vote, but could DRUMS unite the voters. <v Host>In a substantial victory, they took control of MEI. <v Host>It was viewed as a mandate by the Menominees. <v Host>No more land sales, no more Menominee County. <v Host>A new examination of the Legend Lake development brought to light the real economic <v Host>impact to the Menominee people and MEI. <v Ted Boyd>The intent of the Legend Lake Project was <v Ted Boyd>to try to relieve- relieve the <v Ted Boyd>tremendously heavy property tax burden on the corporation, Menominee Enterprises. <v Ted Boyd>It also was supposed to create some profits for Menominee Enterprises. <v Ted Boyd>I think these basic assumptions, at least to a great <v Ted Boyd>extent, were erroneous. What has happened is that a percentage
<v Ted Boyd>of taxes that Menominee Enterprises pay- pays of the town and county tax <v Ted Boyd>levy has gone down, but only in terms of percentage. <v Ted Boyd>The dollar amount that Menominee Enterprises pays has gone up <v Ted Boyd>consistently over this period of time. <v Ted Boyd>Really, we the profits that we did derive from <v Ted Boyd>land sales were, and I think this can be shown statistically, <v Ted Boyd>offset by the deteriorating financial <v Ted Boyd>situation in the forestry and metals operation. <v Host>The land developers and the new leaders of MEI battled in the courts for a decision <v Host>on the continued sale of land. <v Host>The non-Indian owners and residents of Legend Lake were caught in the middle. <v Host>They were confused about their rights and faced an uncertain future. <v Host>What would be their status if restoration became a real possibility? <v Host>Home construction came to a standstill.
<v Host>Many owners, afraid of the worst, tried to sell out. <v Host>But there were few buyers. <v Host>In the years before termination, the logging industry had been the major means of <v Host>self-support for the Menominee tribe. <v Host>If there were to be no more land sales, the new MEI leadership would have <v Host>to make some decisions about the future of the mill. <v Sylvia Wilbur>Well, Menominee Enterprises was- as it was formed <v Sylvia Wilbur>in 1961, we inherited much obsolete <v Sylvia Wilbur>machinery, rundown mill, and that <v Sylvia Wilbur>deteriorated again with the land sales. <v Sylvia Wilbur>So right now as the Menominees take over we are <v Sylvia Wilbur>working hard within the mill proper after we can get that functioning <v Sylvia Wilbur>properly we're going to diversify. <v Sylvia Wilbur>And it would be most logically to go into a woods related <v Sylvia Wilbur>byproduct to utilize the total lumber area or timber resources that
<v Sylvia Wilbur>we have. But I really, in my own mind, don't think we have to bring <v Sylvia Wilbur>industry in. We have the resources here, <v Sylvia Wilbur>and we can go into related areas. <v Sylvia Wilbur>If given time Menominee Enterprises can take care of <v Sylvia Wilbur>the Menominee Tribe. <v Sylvia Wilbur>At the present time, I think tourism is out.
<v Sylvia Wilbur>I think the Legend Lake episode just killed any chances. <v Sylvia Wilbur>I don't mean to imply that it never will occur, it may. <v Sylvia Wilbur>But I think it's going to take time to heal the wounds of the Menominee people in regard <v Sylvia Wilbur>to tourists and people coming into the county. <v Ted Boyd>One of the bad things about tourism is that if it becomes <v Ted Boyd>too prevalent, too many people coming in. <v Ted Boyd>Then the resources that you have today, the beauty that the Menominee reservation <v Ted Boyd>has today will no longer exist.
<v Ted Boyd>It will simply be overrun. <v Ted Boyd>I think we've done a real good job in preserving our resources. <v Speaker>It is the belief of the Menominees that the Menominee Indians came <v Speaker>from a great white bear. <v Speaker>A bear and his mate went out of the water and miraculously
<v Speaker>they changed it to the Menominee Indian. <v Speaker>That was their belief. <v Speaker>That was their belief a long time ago. <v Host>The DRUMS movement had effectively organized the Menominee people to stop the Legend Lake
<v Host>project. It was a turning point for the tribe and for the individual. <v Host>There was a change in attitude, a change in outlook. <v Sylvia Wilbur>The greatest difference I see, and I think termination helped us in this way <v Sylvia Wilbur>simply because it- it caused us to lose before <v Sylvia Wilbur>this time we were- we followed the tribal leaders. <v Sylvia Wilbur>We didn't question anything that they did. <v Sylvia Wilbur>We felt what they did, you know, was the word. <v Sylvia Wilbur>And we lived by it. <v Sylvia Wilbur>But then when we had the dissipation of our assets and we saw <v Sylvia Wilbur>this threat of no longer existing as a tribe, <v Sylvia Wilbur>we knew that if we didn't do something about it, no one else would. <v Glenn Miller>I've seen now what it was like when we weren't- when we lived- when <v Glenn Miller>we were on reservation. And then when we became a county. <v Glenn Miller>Things dropped down. <v Glenn Miller>There was no economic- no stable economic opportunities <v Glenn Miller>here for the people. The federal government I feel just
<v Glenn Miller>like, uh, dropped us right there. We didn't have no one to turn to. <v Glenn Miller>So we had to put our heads together and work for something. <v Host>Resentment toward termination grew among the Menominee, legend Lake <v Host>had been stopped. But how many more Legend Lakes could the Menominee people withstand? <v Host>The policy of termination had been established by the federal government to encourage <v Host>Indian self-government and assimilation. <v Host>It was an incentive or threat attached to the settlement of many tribal <v Host>requests. The Menominees were told they would not collect their per-capita payments <v Host>without agreeing to termination. <v Host>Other tribes had been terminated. <v Host>But in the 1970s, the policy was unofficially scrapped. <v Host>Not only had it been an economic and social disaster for the terminated tribes. <v Host>It also proved to be a bottomless pit for federal and state funds. <v Sylvia Wilbur>Within the 10 year span in federal aids and state aids, there was <v Sylvia Wilbur>an amount of almost 20 million dollars pumped into the county
<v Sylvia Wilbur>and the cooperation which previous to termination was nothing or <v Sylvia Wilbur>a very minimal amount. And I guess it wasn't the ?Rhodes? <v Sylvia Wilbur>Situation. So we- it will be an advantage money <v Sylvia Wilbur>wise, as well as easing the conscience of the American society <v Sylvia Wilbur>to restore us to being federally recognized as <v Sylvia Wilbur>an Indian tribe again and with trust status. <v Speaker>The Menominees, represented by DRUMS, were more determined than ever to bring about <v Speaker>restoration. Ada Deer was sent to Washington to lead the lobby for <v Speaker>a Menominee restoration bill. <v Speaker>In August 1973, she reported to the Menominee people on the progress <v Speaker>of the bill. <v Ada Deer>It's been a long, hard struggle. <v Ada Deer>And several years ago, people told us that nothing could be done, that <v Ada Deer>we would all have to learn to live with termination, that it was a federal law, <v Ada Deer>and that we would have to accept it.
<v Ada Deer>Several of us got together and said, no, we refuse to accept <v Ada Deer>this. We're going to change it. <v Ada Deer>Estimates as to how long our legislation would take to pass have varied <v Ada Deer>one B.I.A Bureaucrat shook his head sadly and told us it'll take <v Ada Deer>10 years to pass the legislation. <v Ada Deer>And I saw him several weeks later and he said it'll take, you know, five <v Ada Deer>years to pass the legislation. And I told him, well, at least that's a 50 percent <v Ada Deer>improvement from the last time. <v Ada Deer>This point we do not have any major opposition to our legislation. <v Ada Deer>We have our own congressmen and senators supporting this. <v Ada Deer>We have the administration supporting this. <v Ada Deer>We have major members in the Senate supporting this. <v Ada Deer>However, we still have to continue to work hard because oftentimes some <v Ada Deer>changes can be made in legislation and we don't want that to happen at this point. <v Ada Deer>Just to show you how fast things can move when there are people that are <v Ada Deer>committed and concerned enough to take action on our behalf.
<v Ada Deer>Let me remind you that our bill was introduced on May 2nd, on May <v Ada Deer>25th, 26th and 27th, we had our field hearings here. <v Ada Deer>Many of you were here. <v Ada Deer>To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time in the history of the state that <v Ada Deer>there were hearings held on Indian legislation by <v Ada Deer>a congressional committee. <v Ada Deer>Throughout our discussions here, we have emphasized that we want federal protection, <v Ada Deer>not federal domination. And the trustees at our last meeting <v Ada Deer>have not taken some steps to begin planning for this. <v Ada Deer>First of all, we set up three working committees, enrollment, a tribal <v Ada Deer>constitution, and bylaws and stocks and bonds. <v Ada Deer>Chairmen of these committees have been appointed, and they will soon be contacting people <v Ada Deer>in the community about this because there's going to be a lot of work <v Ada Deer>from now on, in all these areas. <v Ada Deer>You know once we get our restoration passed that's going to be the beginning.
<v Ada Deer>And this is where we're going to need, you know, every single person thinking and giving <v Ada Deer>ideas and suggestions and participating on these committees. <v Albert Fowler>Indians nowadays are becoming more and more educated towards this <v Albert Fowler>form of government, and, uh, if handed <v Albert Fowler>to them, I think they'd be much more able to handle now than they would <v Albert Fowler>have in the past. Because they- their language barriers <v Albert Fowler>was picking up a lot more. It's not- the language barrier doesn't hardly exist the way it <v Albert Fowler>did a while back. <v Albert Fowler>So this year was the biggest problem between government <v Albert Fowler>and Indian relationships. <v Albert Fowler>So after that, I don't believe there will be any problem. <v Albert Fowler>I mean, I don't personally have any problems with it myself. <v Albert Fowler>And I think there's a lot of other people who could also handle <v Albert Fowler>positions in tribal government. <v Speaker>Vine Deloria, nationally known author and leader of the Indian Rights Movement,
<v Speaker>spoke about the Menominee's leadership and political involvement. <v Vine Deloria>I look around in Indian country. The brightest spot I see is the Menominees <v Vine Deloria>because you people have put it together. <v Vine Deloria>You've come together in a way that I don't think any Indian tribe ever has. <v Vine Deloria>I think we've got to push not only for restoration, but you've got to now become the <v Vine Deloria>leaders of Indian country. <v Vine Deloria>You've got to help us bring some of these tribes together. <v Vine Deloria>To try and heal the wounds that are in a lot of tribal groups. <v Vine Deloria>You people have put aside small conflicts that you've had in favor <v Vine Deloria>of a greater goal. <v Vine Deloria>You become a magnificent tribe in the process. <v Vine Deloria>And this is what our other tribes across the country have got to do. <v Vine Deloria>I think that we can break the whole logjam of federal legislation <v Vine Deloria>if we get this Menominee restoration bill through as quickly as possible.
<v Vine Deloria>Every place that I've gone I've pushed tribes, <v Vine Deloria>Indian organizations, whatever group I'm with, to put Menominee first <v Vine Deloria>on the agenda. <v Vine Deloria>Because when the restoration bill goes through, that's going to speak more eloquently <v Vine Deloria>than any congressional resolution, any statement by Henry Jackson, <v Vine Deloria>any president's message, any other symbolic gesture <v Vine Deloria>that you could receive that the days of termination are over. <v Vine Deloria>If you look around the country, you have tribes that <v Vine Deloria>I think are really different levels of political involvement with the federal government. <v Vine Deloria>And what we- what, we need to clarify the whole Indian situation. <v Vine Deloria>And is to define one status for all Indian communities and <v Vine Deloria>a definite federal relationship between 'em. And I think the Menominee restoration is <v Vine Deloria>the most important immediate factor in- in
<v Vine Deloria>setting the fact that this is a problem. <v Vine Deloria>What we really have to do nationally is to use the <v Vine Deloria>sophistication that the Menominees have really demonstrated to create <v Vine Deloria>one- one basic relationship with the federal government that all Indian tribes are going <v Vine Deloria>to be in. This- this thing would severely limit <v Vine Deloria>the arbitrary powers the Bureau of Indian Affairs over Indian people. <v Vine Deloria>And in that way of clarify what the what the nature of the relationship is. <v Vine Deloria>I think we can do without an awful lot of things the Bureau's <v Vine Deloria>done, but ask for other things that governments failed to do. <v Vine Deloria>When the Menominee start being included in federal program, <v Vine Deloria>the federal government is going to have to deal with a group of people who really know where <v Vine Deloria>they're going. <v Vine Deloria>And these people have been through enough experiences where they're not going to be <v Vine Deloria>satisfied with a simple bureaucratic answer. <v Vine Deloria>You can't do this or you have to do that or whatever. <v Vine Deloria>They're gonna have the sophistication and knowledge that will really make the federal
<v Vine Deloria>grant program work. Now, we have a few tribes already that have that experience. <v Vine Deloria>By and large, majority tribes don't have that. <v Vine Deloria>And that's, I think, really the issue at Wounded Knee and other places is <v Vine Deloria>how the tribal governments really represent their people. <v Vine Deloria>And I would rank the Menominee situation as one of the highest, <v Vine Deloria>most sophisticated in the country. <v Vine Deloria>When the restoration bill goes through, you people will have reversed American history. <v Vine Deloria>You will have turned everything completely around. <v Vine Deloria>At that point, the Congress, the President, the courts, <v Vine Deloria>everybody is going to have to take a whole new look, not only at Menominee, but every <v Vine Deloria>other Indian tribe. <v Host>On December 22nd, 1973, the Menominee people finally <v Host>achieved restoration. [music]
Producing Organization
WPNE-TV (Television station : Green Bay, Wis.)
University of Wisconsin--Green Bay. Center for Television Production
Contributing Organization
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
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Program Description
"'MENOMINEE' is an historical narrative which places in perspective the many social and political problems faced by the Menominee Indians of northeastern Wisconsin. This documentary interprets for the non-Indian community the reasons why Menominees have sought reversal of a Federal government decision to terminate their status as an Indian reservation. At the time when this program was produced, legislation was pending in the U.S. Congress to restore tribal status to the Menominee Indians. The majority of northeastern Wisconsin citizens lacked understanding of such Menominee problems as absence of industry, need for welfare support, and conflict within schools. An historical perspective on the Menominees' plight was needed to heighten empathy with the situation afflicting these neighbors in northeastern Wisconsin, and to enable non-Indians to make an informed judgement on how their legislators should vote. Three weeks following the first telecast of MENOMINEE, the U.S. Congress granted the Indians' request for restoration to tribal status -- reversing a precedent-setting decision and affecting the destiny of all American Indians -- and President Nixon signed the bill into law." --1973 Peabody Awards Entry form. The program begins by with a member of the Menominee tribe explaining the tribe's past attitudes towards their lands. The narrator gives a brief history of the Menominee relationship with Westerners, as Europeans traded with and exploited the tribe, and eventually how the U.S. government took and settled on their land, detailing how the culture of the tribe shifted over time. The Menominee fell into abject poverty until they began logging, but individually they remained poor. The program explains the implications of the Termination policy, where the Menominee would lose their reservation status, creating an economic and social disaster for the tribe. After termination, the Menominee fought to maintain their cultural heritage and traditions as the school systems worked to assimilate the Menominee into white society. The program discusses changes made to the school system to help the Menominee situation, and the Menominee created their own community school to educate high school drop outs. The narrator explains that the Menominee considered selling off more land in order to help alleviate the economic struggle and that opposition against the land sale grew. New leaders of Menominee Enterprises declare no more land sales and begin to fight for restoration of reservation status. The rest of the program details the road to reversal of termination.
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Director: Wessel, Fred
Director: Stoner, Barry
Narrator: Schmidlin, Brian
Producer: Stoner, Barry
Producer: O'Brien, Lee
Producing Organization: WPNE-TV (Television station : Green Bay, Wis.)
Producing Organization: University of Wisconsin--Green Bay. Center for Television Production
Speaker: Wilber, Sylvia
Speaker: Boyd, Ted
Speaker: Fowler, Albert
Speaker: Deloria, Vine
Speaker: Chandler, Arnold M.
Speaker: Lucey, Patrick J.
Speaker: Jensen, Everett
Speaker: Deer, Ada
AAPB Contributor Holdings
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
Identifier: cpb-aacip-cd4fbc0632a (Filename)
Format: U-matic
Duration: 1:02:22
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Chicago: “Menominee,” 1973, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 19, 2024,
MLA: “Menominee.” 1973. The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 19, 2024. <>.
APA: Menominee. Boston, MA: The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from