Written by Marissa Vele, SDI Intern

The SLC has been in full swing and we are nearing the end of our summer program. July 16th kicked off a two-day Agricultural Workshop that was sponsored by SDI. All SLC students and SDI summer interns were invited to the workshop.  On our first day we learned about the importance of statistics and research followed by introductions on soil, soil types, and ways of measuring soil. We then headed into the Agricultural Research Plot at SDI to take a look at the Bear Island Flint Corn. This is the second year of that project to revitalize the traditional corn that the Menominee had. Workshop participants also got a look at the Agricultural Research Lab inside SDI and learned about the different soil tests that can be done to help members of the community.

Day two had us traveling to Menīkānaehkem where we learned more about the organization and their plans for the community. Their mission is to help rebuild the community and focus on wellness through various activities such as teaching lodges and feasts. We also got to see the Bear Island Flint Corn from last year being made into hominy. The seeds from last year’s corn was shared with Menīkānaehkem and planted, so we were able to see the growing corn when we visited.


For lunch we all received a treat of hull corn soup that came from the Bear Island Flint Corn. After lunch we headed out to the Culture Museum to see Dr. Overstreet and learn more about the demonstration garden he started there. This garden is not cultivated with any modern day tools as they are trying to be as historically accurate as possible. After the museum, we actually got to go out to one of the sites Dr. Overstreet, SDI interns, and SLC students are working on. There we learned more about the raised garden beds and research behind it. It is fascinating to see this work being done right in our backyards! The mosquitoes were vicious and we all truly appreciate the whole team of people that are out there working to learn more about the traditional practices and food of the Menominee. Everyone that went into the woods safely made it out, some with more bites than others.

For the SLC students the week was just getting started. The next two days students were working with elementary teachers from Menominee Tribal School to develop lessons to implement at an upcoming STEM family night in the fall. The students have various lessons ranging from corn to stars and are very excited to put their lessons into action. They now have some understanding on how to incorporate STEAM ideas into their cultural ways of knowing. Overall, our week went very well and we are looking forward to the last exciting weeks of the summer.