The Struggle for Self-Determination: History of the Menominee Indians since 1854

By David R. M. Beck | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWELVE
Tribal Self-Determination
and Sovereignty Today

The Menominee have turned their worst modern experience, the largest single threat to the tribe since removal in the 1840s and 1850s, into an opportunity. The Menominee response to termination has led to a renewed hope in the tribal future. Restoration has seen a burst of development in the economic, political, social, and cultural realms of tribal life. The development of the tribal economy and tribal governance systems is perhaps most important, for they can provide a foundation for cultural and social revitalization. Yet all these things are occurring simultaneously, in fits and spurts. At the same time, the Menominee continue to struggle with pressures from federal and state government and local non-Indian populations, which are attempting to weaken or eliminate the hard-won gains of the restoration era.


INSTITUTION BUILDING

A series of developments in the 1980s and 1990s led to the reestablishment of old institutions and the creation of new ones. In 1980 ground was broken for an elderly housing facility in Keshena. In 1987 a “new million dollar addition to the Clinic was dedicated.” Another million-dollar addition, which included a wellness center, was added in 1993. Under Jerry Waukau’s direction beginning in the mid-1980s, the clinic made a concerted effort to professionalize its work.1

Two schools were soon under construction as well: an elementary school in Neopit and the combined junior and senior high school in Keshena. The schools opened 16 September 1982, but the district continued to face a series of ongoing problems. It was not until the 2003–4 school year that for the first time a Menominee, Wendell Waukau, took over as superintendent of schools. This was significant because Waukau, a principal of the high school, had brought Menominee dropouts back into the system and also had worked to establish

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