Conserving this Nation’s fish and other aquatic resources cannot be successful without the partnership of Tribes; they manage or influence some of the most important aquatic habitats both on and off reservations. In addition, the Federal government and the Service have distinct and unique obligations toward Tribes based on trust responsibility, treaty provisions, and statutory mandates.
Restoring sturgeon, restoring ancient culture
The livelihood of Wisconsin’s oldest human inhabitants revolved around an ancient fish. But an entire generation of these indigenous people has recently lived without their “brother,” the lake sturgeon. They have lived without the ceremonies, the circumstance and tradition of harvest – without the sustenance and delicacy of the flesh – and without the clan. Fifty years after a dam was built on the Upper Wolf River, the lake sturgeon ceased to exist on the Menominee Indian Reservation. Another 50 years passed before some lake sturgeons came back to the Menominee people, and with them have come the related traditions.
Menominee tribal elders who remembered and had practiced the sturgeon traditions wanted the sturgeon back on the Reservation. Annual trap-and-transport efforts by the La Crosse Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the Menominee Indian Tribe have restored a small population of sturgeon in Reservation waters of the Wolf River. And that has restored a tradition of harvest, albeit small, and part of that tradition includes dance and smoked or baked fish as had been done for generations past. More lake sturgeon restoration work is planned. (Ann Runstrom)
Disclaimer: Resource accomplishments provided by the tribe are for informational purposes only. It does not imply endorsement of any kind by the U.S. Government.