March 28, 2012

Menominee wood in Final Four floor

Final Four floor makers courting perfection

By Tom WeirThe maple came from the 235,000 acres of Wisconsin forest owned by Menominee Tribal Enterprises. The Menominee Tribe has about 4,000 people living on the reservation, and about 500 work in its sawmill or as loggers.

The Menominees are the longest continual inhabitants of Wisconsin, an indigenous tribe that dates back at least 10,000 years. They were nearly forced to migrate to Minnesota in the mid-1800s, but a treaty with the U.S. government was renegotiated, and they stayed after Congress agreed they could cut lumber on a sustainable basis.

The Menominee's leader at the time, Chief Oshkosh, instilled the idea of timber preservation and rotating logging areas that the tribe still follows.

Menominee sales representative Joe Besaw, who was born on the reservation, says of Oshkosh: "He's the one who said to cut only the sick and the dead and the dying trees. You cut only the worst, and over time your forest gets better and better."
Comment:  For more on the Menominee, see Girl Punished for Speaking Menominee and Selling Beer with Chief Oshkosh.

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