The Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) was organized in 1993 by community leaders representing a broad spectrum of institutional interests including governance, commerce, education, and natural resource management. Menominee expertise in forest management has gained widespread attention, receiving commendation by the United Nations in 1995, and designation as the first awardee of the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development in 1996. The Institute fulfills its mission through scholarship, research and demonstration projects, policy recommendations, and academic preparation in Sustainable Development and Timber Harvesting.
As in the past, present, and future, Menominee survival and sustainability depends on the land and forest that is so closely tied to Menominee culture. Menominee believe that all living things are created in the same way and that each life is to be respected. The Sustainable Development Institute applies these values, wisdom, and practices to a comprehensive approach of sustainability that supports and balances the needs of the Menominee.
Menominee approach to sustainable development is an integration of tribal wisdom, knowledge, values, understandings, and practices that views sustainability as a continual process by which Menominee affinity to place balances dimensions of community life. These dimensions illustrate inextricable linkage amongst the historical, social, cultural, and spiritual foundations of Menominee life.