As a statewide organization in what is today called Wisconsin, Wisconsin’s Green Fire acknowledges that each of us is located on the ancestral lands of Indigenous people who cared for and lived on the land from time immemorial. We recognize that the Native people were forcefully removed from their land, many relocated to new places due to European colonization and genocide.
We are grateful for the ingenuity, leadership, partnership, and knowledge shared by Wisconsin’s Indigenous people in the responsible and respectful stewardship of Wisconsin’s natural resources. We will continue to strive to understand and include diverse identities, knowledge, and crucial perspectives in our work in Wisconsin conservation policy and practice.
The Tribal Nations in Wisconsin today include the Brothertown Indian Nation, the Forest County Potawatomi, the Ho-Chunk Nation, the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, the Stockbridge-Munsee Community Band of Mohican Indians, the Oneida Nation, the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, the Lac Du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, the Sokaogon Chippewa Community, and the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin. Original inhabitants also included the Kickapoo, Sauk, Meskwaki, and Dakota, who lost their lands in treatymaking before Wisconsin became a state.
Respecting Traditional Ecological Knowledge
The following is an excerpt from a reflection written by Dr. Patty Loew for WGF's Spring 2023 edition of Confluences on Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and Indigenous Knowledges (IK), and why it is important for WGF and conservation organizations to honor and respect these ways of knowing.
"Honoring Indigenous relationships to the land requires embracing Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), or Indigenous Knowledges (IK). TEK combined with scientific ecological knowledge (SEK) can play a critical role in expanding our knowledge of the land we cherish and setting strategies for protecting natural resources. Often TEK and SEK align in powerful ways; sometimes the two knowledge systems cannot be reconciled, but ultimately the goals are the same: to understand and protect our environment for ourselves, our children, and the generations to come."
Additional Resources on the role of TEK in conservation
- Resources from the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission on Traditional Ecological Knowledge and how it is used in Climate Change work.
- White House Office of Science and Policy November 2022 guidance for Federal agencies on respectfully incorporating Indigenous Knowledges into their work.
- USGS National Climate Adaptation Center Spring 2023 Webinar series "Incorporating Indigenous Knowledges into Federal Research and Management" on successful and ethical engagement with Indigenous Knowledges in conservation.
- National Park Service's informational website that includes supplemental resources, applications, and informational publications on TEK.