Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin Sustainable Yield

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The Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, "Kiash Matchitiwuk" the Ancient Ones, are known for their pristine forest land and Sustainable Yield practices. The Menominee are one of the very few Indian Tribes left in the United States who still reside on their ancestral lands. Like many indigenous tribes, the Menominee have an creation story telling of their origin which starts at the mouth of the Menominee River. As part of their culture and tradition they are taught to be care takers of Mother Earth and to never take more of the resources then what nature has produced in order to remain sustainable. Through economic development and self sufficiency the Menominee began to practice Sustainable Yield during the time of logging. With this practice loggers and forestry made sure not to damage any other trees and still maintain and take care of the land and waterways without depletion.


The Menominee's ancestral land once covered a portion of Northern Wisconsin and part of Michigan's covering about 10 millions acres of land. As Europeans made their way into the Wisconsin Territory the Menominee were forced to cede millions of acres.[1]. In the Treaty of 1854 the Menominee land base was reduced to 276, 480 acres. [2].The reservation land is filled with beautiful lakes, streams, rivers which are surrounded by pristine forest land that sustains a vast array of wildlife and plant species much like a great amount of Wisconsin territory had been prior to colonization.

Sustainable Yield Practice

Sustainable Yield is the practice of harvesting mature trees while unharming the new growth, saplings and surrounding environment.

Environmental Impact

Through hundreds of years the Menominee have practiced an environmental ethic which is to take care of the land and not over harvest. As the Euro-Americans made their way into the area and began harvesting the trees Chief Oshkosh had became concerned about their logging practices and the environmental impact it had on the land and wildlife. He did not agree with their ways of clear-cutting in the surrounding areas of the reservation boundaries. He had shared with his people an idea of a harvesting plan that would generate a continues revenue for the tribe for many years but also would not deplete the resources or effect the environment. The plan started with selecting only the mature trees they chose to harvest. This selection and harvest started in the east then worked toward the west. As this practice continued and made its way toward the end of the reservation boundaries then the previous immature trees in the east will be then be grown to maturity in time to be harvested. Again, only selecting the mature trees to be harvested. [3]

Economic Impact

Within the past century and a half the forest had been harvest twice using the sustainable yield practice. The forest now has more standing saw timber now then there was since the harvesting practice began over 150 years ago.[4]Currently the Menominee reservation has about 230,713 acres of forest land which comprises about 95% of the reservation with 15 million board feet harvested annually.[5]The harvesting of the forest products is a source of employment and revenue for their tribe. In order not to deplete the resources and maintain, preserve and protect the forest the tribe used to the process of sustained yield. Since this time there has been 2.2 billion board feet harvested within the reservation boundaries.[6]. The Menominee provide to various suppliers and industries unsurpassed quality lumber. The lumber produced for customers is rough cut to high quality veneer and pulp wood. With the practice of sustainability and the Forest Management strategies the forest remains in a healthy state which contributes to the economic stability. [7]


  2. Beck, David R.M.. "The Struggle for Self-Determination History of the Menominee Indians since 1854."Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska, 2005
  3. Lowe, Patty, "Indian Nations of Wisconsin. Histories of Endurance and Renewal." p.28 State Historical Society of Wisconsin.2013
  4. http://www.mtewood/com/

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