thumbnail of Realities; 29; And the Meek Shall Inherit the Earth
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WAIT They were a tribe that liked to wander back and forth throughout the state of Wisconsin. They traveled with the seasons. We had sturgeon in Kishina Falls, early this spring, the sturgeon was literally by the thousands that came up to spawn and the people were more asked to just reach in with their hands, get them and smoke them and preserve for the years. The same way with the deer and the people migrated with these animals and each little group had what we'd call a chief.
But gradually these white settlers were demanding this as their property. The government was buying this land. The UNITERS were moved over here. They were originally New York Indians. They were going to move the monomies west. The monomies said no. They said, we'll take the poorest land and swamp on them. The white man doesn't want on that sort of level. We are hunting and fishing. Then there were two or three bills that had reduced in Congress to establish national parks or national forts on the Columbia Reservation. And again the tribe strongly opposed these moves. Then of course came the Alotmanag passed by Congress and put the monomies again resisted that. To perpetuate the forest they adopted a proposal which eventually became law of only selective logging. Cutting only the fully ripen in the toward timber.
The old pine ring back in the lumberjack days was very much interested in getting in here and cutting the pine sort of. It's been a constant fight to hang onto the land at the timber and the resources. The emotional part of the Indian, his whole, his cultures, everything is tied to that land and everywhere I've been in this United States among Indians, their feel is that they have no land, they no longer exist. This is very deep rooted. There are several tribes that believe that the Indian came from the earth and from the earth came to corn and his teeth was made of the corn and his legs were given strength from the lightning of the skies. That his hair was the grass of the earth and his voice was made from the thunder and that his eyes came from the stars.
In 1854 the monomies signed their seventh treaty with the United States government. It established this forest area as their reservation, their permanent homeland. During the next 100 years they developed a successful lumber operation with a sawmill that gave them employment and made enough profit to provide schools, a hospital, welfare and paid the costs of the local Indian agency. In 1953 Congress passed House Concurrent Resolution 108 which established as Congressional policy the termination of certain Indian tribes from federal supervision and control as rapidly as possible. The following year 1954 the monomony Indians were terminated.
Jerry Greenow was a monomony delegate to Congressional termination hearings. It was the Congress's Senate especially their objective to start getting out of the Indian business as they termed it. The interior committee on Indian affairs has the commissioner of Indian affairs to pick out the tribe and their order that he thought could be terminated. Of course I think the climates were first and the monomies were second. When the termination came on why you had to say 800 adults yet you only had about 300 jobs. So a lot of people had to leave the reservation to get work. Of course they left with insufficient amount of education and very very few finished college and very few had a trade. So it was my heart for a big majority of them to try to make a living. The protection at the monomony tribe and head under a trust status with the federal government were by all the lens and the assets of the monomies were held in trust.
Consequently this kept the tribal assets within the state of Wisconsin confines out of the tax structure. Richard Dodge was chairman of the first county welfare board. There were no taxes imposed upon the monomony Indians or their assets. Prior to termination if a wrong decision was made we always had a backup so to speak. Where a final decision was reached in Washington into BIA. Termination meant that there no longer would be this arrangement that the monomies would be responsible for their own assets. They would be responsible to pay the taxes within the confines of the state of Wisconsin, the county structure, the town structure. All tribal assets, all lens of the tribal became the assets of monomony corporation ink, monomony enterprises ink. Instead of mine being a tribal member post termination I became a 100 share stock holder in monomony enterprises ink.
Everybody had kind of emotional feelings about this what's going to happen, what's going to occur next week, what's going to happen tomorrow morning. So that final night of reservation status I went to bed and the next morning I got up and jumped in my car and drove downtown and looked around it. I said well nothing has really changed and the thing that really struck me I think was that I felt I had education and had been outside working in and come home and been able to look at this total picture objectively. And here I was you know emotionally disturbed over the whole thing and I've been in a field my gosh what's going to happen to the rest of the people who haven't, who have never been away from you or who didn't have the education. It's a boy growing up here my attitude about the mill was if I went to the open saw a lot of logs piled up. I knew we were making money I didn't know how it was made where it came from or how dollars wound up where. But if I saw a lot of logs we were making money if I saw no logs I got concerned.
When the government terminated the nominees they talked in terms of nominees not existing anymore because the way they define an Indian is you have to be a forest Indian blood. You have to be on a travel role and you have to be under the BIA and see the only criteria that the nominees don't come up to is being under BIA but this is a big one. So they just say nominees are no longer Indians. What we're trying to do is thousands and thousands of years as a lifestyle to change that with termination. We have our lifestyle that was maintained to live with the land and not to tear down trees and put up a industry. I think a good example is before termination here on the reservation. The mill employed a lot of the manor on here and I know my father worked at the mill quite a few times and he'd quit to go trapping for a certain number of months. He'd come back and he'd get a job.
Now this is the Indian lifestyle not to work until you're 65 and then die but to enjoy life while you're young. They were never trained to punch a clock. You were trained to hunt and fish and the necessity was there. If you had killed two or three deer and there was plenty of meat you didn't have to go out. So you did something else. So you had to shift from that whole approach and then this reservation status with the subsistence and the helps and this type of thing. Handouts coming down from the great white father never necessitated having to be at a certain place at a certain time so this was never developed. Right here at prior terminations we used to have tremendous problems in terms of fellas. Either missing Monday and Tuesday and coming Wednesday and being fired and then walking around the mill yard to round to another form and say you got any openings and the guy says yeah I just fired two guys. So he starts there and it took a real lot of training and I think they're not over it yet. And I should not be seen.
So I don't
have to be We lived with the monomones for several months they told us about their culture their history their termination from federal control and the current divisions within the tribe overland sales to support the county except for mine the voices you hear are the monomones telling you their story. The monomones have been more fortunate than many Indian tribes.
Their leaders were able to negotiate a reservation within the boundaries of their original homeland according to their sacred folklore they came from a great bear which emerged from the monomony river less than 100 miles from their present county. For centuries they lived in their wigwom villages in the heart of the wild rice region around Green Bay, Wisconsin. Their name Manomen is an Algonquin word for wild rice. 20,000 other Indians were forced into the monomony area by European migrations in the 1600s with these Indians came the French who brought guns liquor knives utensils ribbons and beads. The transition to a new lifestyle that would replace thousands of years of Indian traditions began. Their villages dissolved into small bans of fur trappers. Their chiefs who traced their ancestry to the great bear were replaced by leaders who could make the best deals with the French fur traitors. Fur traitors, soldiers and government officials entered into tribal life and intermarried.
Today the old monomony culture with a secret medicine large religion, the shaman or medicine man and an elaborate system of root medicine is gone. Few speak the language anymore and Zor the last village of monomones who preferred to live the traditional Indian way is disappearing. They migrated over there solely for the purpose of getting away from civilization. Busses would come in and load the kids up and take them to the different government schools where they were taught English and they were brought back again during vacation. Zor nothing but monomony was spoken when they went back to school in September that I learned to speak English all over again. There the people followed the tradition, the rituals, the dances, the different feasts that were a part of the tribal heritage. There were burial ceremonies are different than the old ciders you might say because they have the little huts that they build the little shelters with the opening where you can feed or bring a gift to that person.
That gift will enable them in our tradition to make the crossing from here to the other side and once he gets to the other side he has his offering of tobacco to make to the great spirit. Now the religious part just the members are wanted in. They call the medicine dance. We don't have that anymore because all the old times that new rules and regulations are passed away. As far as my generation is concerned most of the time I was always a school and I didn't have the time with my father so that he could tell me different things, learn me. The soft wind dance, the 49, the squad dance, those are old, old, old or they're not religious dances. People would get together and they would backly dance all night. Just to be showable they give someone another, some old gentleman or lady would come because it was awkward or something, you know, kept.
When you get that one, you're going to get up and dance. Well, someone would give ponies away. Of course, nowadays most of this noise is just for show business, you know. The French came to exploit the fur trade and not to colonize. For 90 years they secured Indian loyalty and cooperation through a steady flow of presence but the Americans wanted the land and they established a system of control that developed into the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The BIA. At first they recognized the tribes as independent nations. The first monomony treated in 1817 said, there shall be perpetual peace and friendship between all the citizens of the United States and all individuals of the monomony nation. 40 years later, still proclaiming perpetual peace and friendship, the United States government bought the last of the monomony nation's aboriginal homeland. Over 300,000 settlers had moved into Wisconsin. The monomony's were to be moved to Minnesota but when their chiefs surveyed the area, they realized they would not survive among the more powerful planes tribes and they negotiated this reservation.
One third decides, but with the emotional ties of home. Indians always did live in this area, a group that was down around Lake Quagon, Oshkosh into that area, Appleton, Fox River Valley. The Army made a move up here. These Indians were forced to paddle their way up Old River. Paul Reins and all that had already settled in making a water quite high and these people done that with their families and old people, grandparents and that. A lot of older people, they couldn't make it. A lot of people drowned it. A lot of Indian people drowned it along the way. Both stepped over and they couldn't save some of the children. When they landed at Kashina, the Catholic Convert landed on the North Bank of Kashina at the present village of Kashina and that priest that was along with a missionary, opened a mission there and got a village started that way.
Today, Kashina, 50 miles west of Green Bay, Wisconsin, is the county seat of Menominee County. For the last 150 years, missionaries have lived with the Menominees. They opened the first schools and the hospital paid for by the tribe and free to all Menominees. At termination, this hospital had to be closed. It could not meet the rigid state standards and the costs as a private hospital would be too high. Today, the Menominees are 80% Catholic. But, Catholic influence with the Menominees dates back to the French. The first whites to live with them were the French Jesuits who arrived in 1669. It was also the French who first involved the Menominees in the white man's wars. They encouraged the tribes to live at peace with each other and fight with them against the British. Both the French and the Menominees joined the British against the Americans in the war of 1812.
20 years later, the Menominees had switched their allegiance to the American government. They have fought in every major American war since. They sent two companies to fight with the Union forces in the Civil War. And like other Americans, they have honored their war dead with Memorial Day services since the establishment of this national holiday in 1868. Every time we look at the flag, there's 50 stars in there, and then the 13 stripes. Now, I think of all the men that are dying now in Vietnam, all the Indian men. And then I think back to when my ancestors, my forefathers fought against the flag, when we were issuing those men that died centuries ago, that have died in inter-tribal wars, where is that staff of evil feathers that belongs up there alongside of the United States flag? Yeah, I just can't understand how our people can forget about it.
After 100 years of Indian Affairs supervision, Congress gave the Menominees three years to take over the administration of their own affairs. The few Menominees who had finished high school had little management experience, and even smaller number who had gone to college had found jobs elsewhere. The average educational level for all Indians under federal supervision is only eight school years. Indian dropout rates are twice the national average. On national tests, Indian children score lower than white children at every grade level.
Most Indian schools are elementary schools. Children wanting to go to high school travel 10 to 50 miles to a local public school, or several hundred miles to an Indian boarding school where they stay for nine months. Few of their parents can afford to bring them home for the Christmas holidays. Only since termination have programs begun to attack the Menominee educational problems, a community action summer program concentrates on reading difficulties. Two Head Start programs help preschool and kindergarten children adjust to school. And a Title III program under the supervision of the University of Wisconsin is studying learning difficulties. They attribute much of the problem to the Indian child's lack of identity. He is in a vacuum. His own culture has been destroyed and the new culture in which he finds himself does not include him. Carol Dodge is the only Menominee teacher in the county. She set up the Head Start program and has worked with the Title III program. She talked to us about the problems they have found and the changes they are making in the curriculum.
One of the reasons for bringing in the Title III program to locate specific learning problems are difficulties of the children in Menominee county. For a way below even the district norms, I think it's mostly the materials they have hold. In some of it was the teachers, the attitudes. What they are doing now is working up a curriculum using different types of materials. And then they are trying to incorporate the Indian culture into as many phases of the curriculum as possible. Some of it has been instrumental in getting some of these children to read. For instance, a unit on transportation. We start out with what the old time Indians used. Are why they used the canoe and the snow shoe. And then we're contrasting that with present day Indians, what they are using.
We're not just staying with the old culture. We're bringing them up to today. The program uses local Indians to teach their language and to talk about the culture. Catch Kim and Al means our forefathers. Use these boats. Catch Kim and Al, your face open. And in the history books, it's always focused totally on what the Europeans, how great it was for them to come over. I think it's not putting the Indian in today's society. In fact, they don't do this with any of the minorities. They don't put them in today's society. When we're here in the community, nothing is said to them about being Indian. When all your friends are Indian, your relatives are Indians. So you never really think about it. And when you're in the grade schools, they don't prepare you.
They teach the old time Indians. And they teach that they were savages and how the bad things they did to the white people and the little children and all this sort of thing. But when they cut these units off, they don't bring the Indian up to today. They know their ancestors were Indians, but then they don't see themselves as being this type of an Indian. The child is a product of his environment. These children here come from an Indian community. And they are different than what you would find in a child from the white community. Ripon College in Ashkash and Wisconsin State University at Stevens Point have summer and winter upward bound programs to help menominee high school students with academic and cultural problems. We're going to have to go through that kind of fast because we're going to have to get done by Friday.
Upward bound is a federally funded program to work with disadvantaged youth. The group that there is a chance that they could go on to higher education. We try to take 10% of your best students, 10% of your worst students, and then the rest from in between. Ten and less than the sum of four times a number and two times a number. What's the sum of four times a number and two times a number? When we find out where they're weak and where they're strong, and one of the main purposes I think of upward bound is to see that these kids become aware of these other alternatives when they leave high school. Especially with your college, to get them into your college education and the college system. It's knowing that you can go on to college and you don't have to be a welder. You don't have to be on a machine. You don't have to be a laborer. Think like this. One thing we were really mad about was there was 18 Indians on the University of Wisconsin campus. 36,000 students there. They tried to recruit, but they couldn't find any.
We had a conference last year and we found 500 Indian kids, high school kids that are interested in coming down for an educational and cultural awareness program. They couldn't leave, but we found 500 of them. But it's becoming more and more apparent that Indian study programs are becoming feasible. Like there's one at Minnesota. There's one at Berkeley. Albuquerque, Missoula, Denver. In a language that's required to get degree with, to say like a Missoula is Chifua. Albuquerque, it's whatever tribe you might be, navel with things like this. And these kids are finally out that they can go on a college and they can compete on it. Once you're brought up to that level. In their earlier Algonquin culture, the monomonees hunted, fished, gathered berries and maple sugar, and raised small gardens. But their principal food was wild rice. When the government moved them to their reservation, they were confined to a much smaller area and the wild rice lakes were owned by whites. The government's intention was to stop their roving by making the monomonees a tribe of farmers. Under the terms of the monomony treaty, the Indian agency supplied tools, seed, stock, and a farm advisor.
But the government settled them in sandy soil and within 15 years, the soil was depleted. Monomonees who wanted to farm had to move to new areas, clear new fields, and begin again. Today there are two farms in Monomony County. We own 225 acres. And how much of that did you and your husband clear yourself? Well, I would say about 70 acres. And how did you clear it? He chopped the trees down and I helped him pile them up and burn them, burn the brush. Do you raise most of the food and can it and everything from here? Yes. I freeze enough a lot now. I used to can and awful lot. I imagine I've had about 900 quarts of vegetables and fruit like berries and rasp and applesauce and jams. When the family was smaller, then we could really go pick the berries.
Now it's only Mr. and I have little big berries. So this year all I got was eight quarts of raspberries. How big was your family altogether? We had 20 children, 20 children, and with the grandchildren now it adds up to quite a few. We have 65 now. We have maybe two, I got three grandchildren staying with me now so it's like that every summer we always have a house for. Years ago when my father was young, the government tried to encourage him into farming. And practically every, there must have been about 50 or 60 farms right here in South Branch area. And they all had about 15, 20 acres. I know my father had about 25 acres. But he used to raise mostly hay and oats because he loved a lot in the winter times. That time it was really different logging than they do now. You know it was all teamwork and when he was logging well they used to give out everybody could get a contract for about 10,000 feet of logs to a log out.
The monomones were not allowed to cut or sell their timber until 1872. Then they were permitted to log in winter if they farmed in summer. Within 40 years they had more than two million dollars in their tribal account. But the monomones had a constant battle to protect their forest from white lumbermen. In 1908 a congressional bill forbid bureau contracts with white loggers. This bill, introduced by Senator Robert LaFallet, established sustained yield cutting. No more than 20 million board feet and only fully grown timber. It also approved a sawmill to be built with monomony money. Because of bureau mismanagement of their forest, the monomones in 1935 brought five lawsuits against the federal government. In 1951 they won eight and one half million dollars in settlement of these claims. This brought their tribal account to ten and a half million and made them a candidate for termination.
Monomony delegates told Congress their mill was old and the forest would not grow as much timber as government studies indicated. Jerry Greenow explains. When the government was basing their justification for terminating the monomones was the fact that they said their stage showed that the forest on a sustained yield would yield around 30 million. That's not true, it's down to 22 and 24 million. So it's lost, well, it would be six million or eight million feet that you'd figure out and you could help sustain local government, which we lost. I haven't changed my opinion and I testified before the Senator Interior Committee that if we had to carry the full responsibilities of a county, it would just be impossible. It would just be a few people in a small area. It's fortunate that we're integrated with Shownel for education, law and order and so forth. All you got here is an old mill and that was one of the things we said and which is proven right that you were limited to what you could make with this old mill.
I would say it's built in 1926. That's probably a few years old. Instead of the mill itself trying to put some money what they earn and become modern, why all that went for those taxes. People need to try to get industry in here. It's to build a tax base. I see you're competing with all the other towns that they want to be a business to come in there and they give them a break on taxes. They don't have pay tax. They put up buildings for them and so forth. And testifying before they joined Committee of the House and Senate on Indian Affairs, we pointed out that our gravest concern was the economy that we needed new sources of income, new opportunities of employment. We needed diversification of our industry and better utilization of our materials. While Congress required tribes to make termination plans, they frequently ignored tribal suggestions. In some cases, they neglected to notify state governments where the tribes were located. Gordon Dickie was on the Menominee Planning Commission.
We organized the Planning Commission in 1953 and we were extremely concerned and worried about this situation. We didn't know what it turned. We turned to the governor of the state of Wisconsin in the form of Governor Walter Kohler. And to our amazement, we found at that time that the state government, none of its agencies had any idea of what was going on on this termination that the federal government had had no time contacted them to bring them up to date as to what was taking place. Even our proposals as they finally were adopted by the tribe were not followed out completely by the Congress. Originally, we had proposed taking over just certain parts of the operation, a step at a time in an orderly manner so that the secretary would still be in the picture to check periodically as to how we were doing and what mistakes were making and how he could be of assistance to us. But this was not done.
The Menominee Termination Act called for the termination of the tribe from federal supervision by 1956. But the Menominees managed to get two extensions. On May 15, 1960, the delegation seeking the final extension arrived on Capitol Hill. Irene Mack Kehano was a member of the delegation. We went to every senator, every congressman, to try to bring our problem to them to tell them about the termination. It was going to mean to our people we were trying to get an extension of time. We thought we could get a two or three year extension, which we believe was the most feasible thing. But as a result, we had to settle for only six months and then we had some good friends who had to do some horse trading to get that for us. We had our own hospital system. We had our own welfare system for our old people, our sick and needy. We had our own police department. Here we were, a group of Indian people that was able to provide all these community services for ourselves. And we paid for them. They were not paid as some people understand on the outside by the taxpayers. We sued the government for eight and a half million dollars and we beat them. And when we beat Uncle Sam, that was more or less our own fault.
They said, oh, terminate these guys. He got enough money. I seen the hospital close down. I seen the courthouse close down. I seen the jail close down. The dental medical services, they're gone. And then we have no ambulance, which we always did have before termination. And I have to pay anywhere from four dollars to six dollars and travel 20 miles to see my doctor. We can't do anything because I wrote to senators and congressmen and sent those petition to the president thinking they would help nothing. The concept of termination, remove government restrictions only when Indians believe they can manage their own affairs. In the 50s, the policy shifted to pressuring tribes to accept termination. 11 major tribes were terminated before this policy was dropped. Untrained in managing their own assets, some were told by Congress to put their land in trusts controlled by private banks, more restrictive than the Bureau.
Others sold their land and some were on local welfare within a few years. In an attempt to hold onto their land, the monomones incorporated their reservation. But they knew they were inexperienced and their own termination plan called for a non-Indian president and a board of directors with a non-Indian majority. 42% of the monomones were under 21. As guardian of these miners, the first Wisconsin Trust Company in Milwaukee voted 42% of the stock. The motivating force behind termination was Senator Arthur Watkins of Utah. Elected in a Republican sweep of 1946, this junior senator became chairman of the Indian Subcommittee. The committee promptly began termination hearings, but the Democrats soon regained control of Congress and the issue was dropped. In 1953, there was again a Republican majority. It now took the Indian Subcommittee only two months to get House Concurrent Resolution 108, that termination policy through both houses of Congress. In 1953, a simple recap of Bill was reduced by Congressman Mel Laird, asking for a distribution of tribal funds.
In the Senate under the chairmanship of former Senator Arthur Watkins, there were 13 amendments to that simple Bill that provided for termination in the tribe by 1956. When I was acting chairman of the tribal council, I called an open meeting in the village of Neoport. And the tribe and their largest vote in my memory voted 197 as nothing, not to accept the per capita payment as long as these termination provisions had been inserted into the original Bill. Despite their vote against termination, monomone leaders suspected that any plan to use their ten and a half million dollars would be blocked until they agreed to termination. All Indians must get the approval of Congress before they can spend their tribal funds. The monomonees wanted to spend their claim settlement in three ways. Mill improvements and new business, investments, a $1,500 payment to each tribal member.
In 1952, the proposal was rejected by the Bureau of Indian Affairs because it did not include a termination plan. In 1953, the same Bill was stopped by the Indian Subcommittee for the same reason. Tribal leaders invited Senator Watkins to explain termination to a general council at the reservation. At the end of the senators to our visit, not only the leaders, but individual tribal members believed that they would not get the $1,500 until they voted for termination. They voted 169 to 5 in favor of termination. Over 90% of these people made less than $1,000 a year. In addition to $1,500, each monomone at termination received 100 shares of stock in monomone enterprises and a $3,000 bond.
Under the plan, ownership of all monomony lands now passed to monomony enterprises. Many individual monomonees only realized later that they no longer owned any land. They had to buy back the land on which they had built their homes, land where their families had lived for generations. The Indians are going to lose the land. They lost their land. When they got $1,500 and they had to buy back their property. I guess my parents got $1,500 and then it costed $2,000 to $1,000 by back their property. So they were $700 on a debt party. My life either they took their bonds and then they sold them their equipment off, things like this. You know, they had to get money to pay their taxes, they had to pay taxes now. They never had to pay before. The hospital is gone. So then they had to go to Shanghai at the termination. And then you know, a lot of them couldn't pay. They're not used to paying a doctor's bill. And then they couldn't pay it. They couldn't go back. The only way they saw a lot of them paid was that they gave them their bonds.
One even is one lawyer. It's got a quarter of a million dollars worth of bonds now. I don't know. It's for legal fees. And he collects $120 for every one of them bonds. Not the union. Over 70% of the people still make less than the $3,000 poverty level. Manpower training and community action programs provide training. But there are a few jobs in the county. And most of the factories are 50 to 60 miles away. Like most poverty people, the monomonees can't depend on their old cars to make this daily trip. For over a hundred years, the monomone Indians had cost the federal government practically nothing. Since 1954, the monomonees have received nearly $10 million in special grants for housing, schools, sewers, roads, health and welfare. In 1970, the welfare costs were nearly $700,000. The unemployment rate still averaged 20%.
Since 1911, the monomonees had held a summer homecoming for members working off the reservation. Today, it is the Monomonee County Fair. The Monomonee County Fair, which is the city of the Monomonee County Fair, is the city of the Monomonee County Fair.
The Monomonee County Fair, which is the city of the Monomonee County Fair, is the city of the Monomonee County Fair. The Monomonee County Fair, which is the city of the Monomonee County Fair, is the city of the Monomonee County Fair. The Indian's cultural attitude toward nature is a combination of affinity and necessity. To him, nature is a brother as well as a provider. The forest provides shelter for the animals and without clear streams, the fish cannot survive. The Indian kills only what he needs for food.
And while he thanks the great spirit for providing the deer, he apologizes to the deer for needing the food. Non-Indian Americans have polluted their streams and clear-cut their forests. They now find that what they set aside for national parks can no longer accommodate their exploding population. Both the state of Wisconsin and the federal government want to buy the land along the Wolf River. The federal government has designated it a wild and scenic river and the National Park Service is negotiating with the Monomonees for its purchase. The state of Wisconsin pays them $250,000 a year for public fishing and camping rights. Monomonee County has no capital to develop this recreational potential. The Economic Development Administration and the Upper Great Lakes Regional Commission granted $1 million for tourist facilities. The motel and restaurant, representing the greatest potential for jobs and income, are still in the planning stage. But nature and cultural buildings were opened in October of 1970. Monomonee County became the 72nd county in Wisconsin and the first Indian county in the United States on May 1, 1961, of their ten and a half million dollars less than two million was left.
Monomonee enterprises paid over 90% of the taxes for the support of the county. They had no money left for expansion. They could not pay dividends on their stock. If they did not become a viable economy, they could not continue as a county. If they did not pay dividends, the shareholders would sell when the stock became negotiable. If the corporation could not buy the shares, the state had the second option. With 51% of the shares, the state could turn Monomonee County into a state park. Four independent studies recommended the development of a summer home project around the lakes in the southern part of the county. The lots would be sold to non-monomonee taxpayers. In partnership with a Wisconsin developer, Monomonee enterprises combined several small lakes to make legend-lake. Ted Boyd, Vice President of Business Development, talked to us about the corporation's dilemma and the development of the lake project.
Monomonee enterprises would be on the brink of bankruptcy right now if we had not gone into this program. The legend-lake development wasn't necessary in the respect that it will relieve our tax burden. The project involves 2600 properties. It will add at least $25 million to our tax base. It is estimated that it will take us down to around 40% perhaps less. But this will be 40% again of an increasing tax levy. Now this is not because of services so much as it is because of school costs. The people who are buying the legend-lake properties will not add appreciably to the cost of school operation because they are a seasonal type resident. We formed a joint venture named Lakes of the Monomonees. Lakes of the Monomonees owns and operates our legend-lake. The joint venture is a 50-50 arrangement. In the first years when we talked about developing the lakes, we wanted to do it on a lease basis. Most of the people that were interested also wanted to acquire the land was absolutely opposed to issuing a deed to the property to other than a Monomonee Indian.
So I challenged them and told them that if the board of directors would call the council of the shareholders and we brought just for this one purpose. James Frischette has been a tribal leader for 40 years. I would be willing to buy by any decision that they made. The people who attended the council, which was a good-sized council, decided to issue the deed along with the property. A deed to the property. The way we decided to go was to try and keep the property private and kind of appeal to people that could pay taxes and let them share our heritage or our land. The situation is unique. You don't find a private enterprise supporting a whole county with the amount of people that are coming into Wisconsin. This is an ideal recreation area.
When Monomonee County was a reservation, all of the Monomonees owned all of the land. They were the only people allowed to fish or canoe on Wolf River. They were free to go to any lake at any time and to build there if they wished. Today Monomonee enterprises owns the land and the Monomonees are shareholders in a complicated legal entity called a corporation which they don't understand and over which many feel they have no control. They have received no dividends on their shares. The first lake to be ringed by lots owned by non-monomonees was Lake Meshakwit, their most beautiful lake and their favorite spot. There are only 500 Monomonee families living in the county. There will be 2,600 homes at Legend Lake. Few Monomonees can afford the five to $7,000 for the lake plots. Within two years, 1,200 lots had been sold. As the Monomonees watched the homes being built, many feared that the outsiders were building retirement homes.
If only 25% of the lake families became permanent residents, they will outnumber the Monomonees. As permanent residents, they will be able to vote and to run for office. By fellow Monomonees, let me just ask you a few questions. Are you really satisfied with what's happening today? Are you satisfied? Their fear of losing their land erupted in 1970. In a summer of weekend demonstrations, emotional meetings and renewed bitterness over termination. On the 4th of July, a group of Indian children who were swimming near the sales office were chased off by a salesman. Within an hour, they were back to pick it. I've been picked off the lake. I used to go swimming there whenever I wanted to. Any time. And there weren't any people there to tell me that I couldn't. The reason is to go hunting there, ducks and fishing. And there isn't a person out there that can't say that he hasn't changed. I want my land back. And I don't want all those people around. And I have a right to do this.
The reason that many of my people voted to remain a separate colony is because they wanted to maintain their separateness and their identity. But now we are being beset and besieged by white settlers. We are the minority. We are going to become second class citizens in our own backyard. These are some of my feelings on the Termination Act, which was designed to supposedly free the Indian from federal supervision to make him equal to other U.S. citizens. In actual practice, all that it amounted to us to force the Indian to pay taxes on his land. U.S. a monomy should be that proud monomy who owns a hundred shares of stock, whether you feel that it's a worthless piece of paper or not. But it titles me to 100 votes. I know that some of you have either sold your bond or put it in pond. And this is a necessity. I realize this. But remember one thing. You do not lose that vote. But you sell that bond. The votes lie in the stocks that you own, which there can't be sold yet.
So you own that vote. And you're entitled to that vote regardless of what the status of your bond is. Namni Enterprise. That's the only place I ever worked. And I want to keep working here. Continue. Now we'll bring up the lakeshare. Some of you people are out there last Sunday, demonstrating. You don't get you any place. Look at it this way. I was just a scrub walk over in a territory. A lot of little lakes. So what they did is made one big lake and bring it in money. Now is our holiday. I didn't give this land up. This land belongs to the monomy and people. I don't believe they have a right to sell our land. We want to keep our land. We love our homeland here. It's valuable to us. This is all we have. And we don't want anybody selling it. And Louis, what I had to say, I would like to sing a song. It's all right with this about the way I look at it.
In the land of azure waters, where virgin pines go tall, it is said God made a garden most wonderful of all. For the red man he created it, on earth when time began, why it was so serene and beautiful and truth paradesian. A land of sparkling waters, where hills were ever green. I'll place a purest happiness in slow roll. Why was never seen. Here for goo and abundance, no lack of fissure game. Burt's warbled in the tree tops and praised their makers name. We gave five million acres for a promise for a home to be held as Indian land is held tax-free. It took five million acres to do that. If the federal government did not violate any of our treaties, why should we be selling that land in order to pay our taxes? I think monomony enterprises was saddled with an unusual responsibility. We were told to go out and make a profit. From a pure business standpoint, the lakes of the monomony was the logical and the only way to go.
There's 5,170 acres included in the lakes of the monomony's project. But this 2% of our land will benefit the remaining lands. It will enable us to pay our taxes, enable the county government to function as it should. But from a social standpoint, no matter what success is achieved in lakes of the monomony, it's not going to be accepted. It just seems so impossible that a land so rich can't support 2,700 people. There must be some way and I think it's almost crazy for an Indian to buy his own land. We're discussing what aboriginal rights were and I feel that land is definitely aboriginal right for the Indian. Obviously, the 100 and some odd years that the recent innovations have existed under the federal government.
Certainly, it's not been a success when we look at the problems that exist today, the unemployment, the housing, the drinking, the lack of job opportunities. If this is what a reservation has to be, then I think it's been a complete failure. We should be looking in terms of another direction. Whether termination is a success for the monomalies, we're at least another 10 years away from that answer. If it means having to sell more land and we presently have sold, then I would say it's a failure. It's an absolute failure. Anyone in business today will tell you you don't sell your assets and stay in business. You retain your assets and you build your assets, you don't sell them. As I say, the feeling of the Indian for the land and if that goes, then everything we've worked for is gone. The Indian for the land and if that goes, then everything we've worked for is gone.
The Indian for the land and if that goes, then everything we've worked for is gone. The Indian for the land and if that goes, then everything we've worked for is gone. The Indian for the land and if that goes, then everything we've worked for is gone. The Indian for the land and if that goes, then everything we've worked for is gone. The Indian for the land and if that goes, then everything we've worked for is gone.
The Indian for the land and if that goes, then everything we've worked for is gone.
Series
Realities
Episode Number
29
Episode
And the Meek Shall Inherit the Earth
Producing Organization
Educational Broadcasting Corporation. NET Division
Contributing Organization
Library of Congress (Washington, District of Columbia)
AAPB ID
cpb-aacip/512-wd3pv6c890
NOLA Code
RLTS
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Description
Episode Description
EG Marshall narrates this film study of the Menominees, a tribe of American Indians who maintain the only Indian governed county in the nation Menominee County, locate west of Green Bay, Wisconsin. The ENT program focuses primarily on the Menominees struggle to preserve their way of life. Essentially, this means they want clear title to their land and the economic means for survival. Until two decades ago the Menominees were largely self-sufficient due to the century old logging and lumber mill operation on their land which they worked under the management of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. In 1951 the Menominees won a large claims settlement from the US, increasing their tribal treasure to 10.5 million dollars. And that was their undoing. The federal government decided that the Menominees were ready for termination, that is, they were ready to become independent taxpayers instead of a tribe under the management of the BIA. In 1961 Menominee County was formed and the logging operations became Menominee Enterprises, Inc. Each tribal member received $1500, plus 100 shares of stock in the corporation and a $3000 bond. It sounded good except for two factors: the mill now had to pay taxes, and the individual Indians no longer owned their land (the corporation owned it and it had to be sold to the Indians in lots.) They had to buy the land on which they had built their homes, land where their families had live for generations, explains producer-writer Ann Delaney. Taxes quickly depleted the tribal treasury. Services were cut. Self-sufficiency began to disappear. And now tribal leaders are selling land to white settlers (vacationers who are putting up cottages on lakefronts) in a desperate attempt to raise the countys tax base. Twelve hundred lakeside lots have been sold so far, and because there are only 500 Menominee families, there is a pervasive fear that the Menominees eventually will lose control of their county if enough cottages become permanent residences. Realities And the Meek Shall Inherit the Earth is a production of NET Division, Educational Broadcasting Corporation. This program was made possible by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and The William H. Donor Foundation, Inc. This program is transmitted nationally by PBS, the Public Broadcasting Service. (Description adapted from documents in the NET Microfiche)
Episode Description
1 hour piece, produced by the Educational Broadcasting Corporation and initially distributed by NET in 1971.
Series Description
Realities consists of 40 episodes produced in 1970 by various producers.
Broadcast Date
1971-06-14
Asset type
Episode
Topics
Economics
Local Communities
Race and Ethnicity
Politics and Government
Media type
Moving Image
Duration
00:58:54
Embed Code
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Credits
Narrator: Marshall, E. G.
Producer: DeLaney, Ann
Producing Organization: Educational Broadcasting Corporation. NET Division
Writer: DeLaney, Ann
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Indiana University Libraries Moving Image Archive
Identifier: [request film based on title] (Indiana University)
Format: 16mm film
Library of Congress
Identifier: 1916191-2 (MAVIS Item ID)
Format: 1 inch videotape: SMPTE Type C
Generation: Master
Color: Color
Duration: 0:58:29
Library of Congress
Identifier: 1916191-3 (MAVIS Item ID)
Format: 2 inch videotape
Generation: Master
Color: Color
Duration: 0:58:29
Library of Congress
Identifier: 1916191-1 (MAVIS Item ID)
Format: U-matic
Generation: Copy: Access
Color: Color
Duration: 0:58:29
Library of Congress
Identifier: 1916191-5 (MAVIS Item ID)
Generation: Copy: Access
Color: Color
Library of Congress
Identifier: 1916191-4 (MAVIS Item ID)
Generation: Master
Color: Color
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Citations
Chicago: “Realities; 29; And the Meek Shall Inherit the Earth,” 1971-06-14, Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 21, 2024, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-512-wd3pv6c890.
MLA: “Realities; 29; And the Meek Shall Inherit the Earth.” 1971-06-14. Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 21, 2024. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-512-wd3pv6c890>.
APA: Realities; 29; And the Meek Shall Inherit the Earth. Boston, MA: Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-512-wd3pv6c890