Schlender Reports on Trip to Peru and Other Legislative Actions
Boozhoo Indinawemaaganidog, niin sa Manidoo Noodin indizhinikaanigoo, Bizhiw indoodem. I hope you enjoy my fourth report as Vice Chairman of the Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Governing Board. Biboon (Winter) is here and the temperatures are plummeting. I hope everyone has taken the necessary precautions to check your furnace. Whether you burn wood or propane make sure that heating units are functioning properly.
In this edition I look forward to sharing relevant information regarding Lac Courte Oreilles with each of you. We have many ways in which news can be obtained. We have a weekly e-newsletter, an active tribal facebook page, monthly newspaper, and I maintain a personal facebook page as well. I hope the information shared in this article is helpful in informing you about my activities and some of the exciting things happening at Lac Courte Oreilles.
CONAP Indigenous Exchange , Iquitos and Pucallpa, Peru, December 3-9. I was one of 5 delegates from GLIFWC that were invited to attend the International Indigenous Exchange with Confederacion De Nacionalides Amazonicas Del Peru (CONAP). CONAP is organization that represents the amazonian indigenous peoples and provides them with the means to ensure the defense of the rights and sustainable development of the Amazonian Indigenous Peoples by preserving their identity, culture and biodiversity.
The Menominee Nation also sent two delegates and a group from Panama was there as well and it was very inspiring to see the Peruvians and the Menominee consult with each other about Forestry Management. The focus is on Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Forest Management.
Day 1- Introductions occurred first with the delegation that we traveled with.
Dylan Jennings, PIO Director Melonee Montano, TEK Outreach Specialist
Brad Harrington, DNR Commissioner Mille Lacs Band
Jason Schlender, Vice Chairman Lac Courte Oreilles Band
Mic Isham, Chairman GLIFWC Board of Commissioners
Chris Caldwell, College of Menominee Nation, Sustainable Development Institute
Greg Gauthier, College of Menominee Nation, Sustainable Development Institute
Diogracio Puchicama Pena, National Cacique (Chief), Wounaan Peoples of Panama Danizta Dura Quiroz,
Wounaan Community Liaison, Native Future
Hector Osorio Chiripua, Wounaan Project Coordinator, Native Future
Oseas Barbaran Sanchez, President, CONAP
Rocio Escudero Tanchiva, Technical Advisor, CONAP
Sara Mateo Centeno, Independent Consultant supporting CONAP
US Forest Service
Ashley Warriner, International Programs
Rachel Sheridan, International Programs
Monica Alvarez Correa
Enrique Sanchez Camacho
Peruvian Amazon Research Institute (IIAP) we met representatives from the Institute and they presented on research with indigenous communities and natural resource management. IIAP would like to create an agreement with GLIFWC to share methodologies on sustainable forest management and incorporate traditional ecological knowledge. GLIFWC currently has the Anishinaabe Aki Protocol agreement with Treaty 3 bands from Ontario, Canada. In that agreement, GLIFWC will provide scientific data in exchange for traditional ecological knowledge from the Treaty 3 bands.
After the meeting we went back to the city of Iquitos where we met up for dinner at Al Frio y al Fuego restaurant. We took a boat to the restaurant which had an armed guard on the front of the boat. The reason for that is because of the threat of Caymans and Anacondas.
The delegation went to another presentation at the Regional Government of Loreto in which they focused on community forest management in regional areas. Three of us (Mic, Brad, and I) missed the meeting because we had to retrieve our lost luggage. We were told by the delegation that we missed a great welcome ceremony in which high ranking representatives came out to greet the delegation as well as music was played in our honor. It was a bummer to miss this meeting as we wanted to engage with the leadership and share ideas and culture with each other.
I was glad to get my luggage so I could change my clothes and prepare myself for going into the jungle. One of the observations I had is that most of the people are short and not excessively overweight in the areas that we visited. The previous night the three of us tried to find a clothing store so we could purchase clothes. Brad was successful, but Mic and I were not which was very amusing to everybody as the local shop owners kept telling us that we were "Mucho Grande".
Day 2 continues as we traveled to the Native Bora community to meet with the Federation of Indigenous Women Artisans of Loreto. We were greeted by the community in a large dwelling with men and women dancing for us. This was followed by introductions and lunch. The lunch was very good as we were fed fish from the Amazon River. We also had some salsa and some plantains. After lunch the men of the community talked about their use of medicines in particular tobacco and coca. They shared their medicines with us and we in turn shared some stories of Asemaa (tobacco) and Wenabozho with them.
After we left the village we headed to the Reserva Nacional Allpahuayo Mishana, which is a Rainforest reserve. We signed in at the central office and when I walked outside I could see spider monkeys climbing around and jumping tree to tree. This was an awesome sight to see in the natural world and not at the zoo. The tour guide told us that the spider monkeys are curious of humans while the bigger monkeys are more fearful and don't show themselves too often.
The tour took us through a small part of the jungle. We saw huge trees and vines and heard a different variety of birds including the Macaw and the Toucan. They say when the Toucan sounds its voice that it is calling for rain. We were shown different plants and trees including one that bled. The content of the tree are used to heal open wounds and is a highly sought out commodity so the trees are guarded from poachers. It rained every day. In addition to the tour of the jungle we were able to see their holding ponds for: Manitees, Caymans, Pythons, Otters, and Turtles.
After the tour we headed back to the city of Iquitos for dinner. We had Chifa which is the equivalent to Chinese food. We had chicken fried rice and different types of noodles and we drank Coca Cola and/or Inca Cola. Coca Cola is everywhere in that part of Peru which speaks to their influence on the economy. Inca Cola is a popular drink in Peru which tastes like cream soda.
Always drink water when in Peru especially when in the rainforest where the weather is hot and humid which means a person will sweat often so hydration is important. The drinking water is purified water produced by Coca Cola and comes in two forms: Sin Gas (No gas) or Con Gas (with gas).
We flew from Iquitos to Pucallpa where we ate lunch in Yarinocha at the Restaurant Anaconda which is a floating restaurant. Fish, Chicken, and Pork are the main foods available. Some people in our group tried majas (capybara)which is a large rodent and looks like a beaver without a tail. I tried it and it wasn't that bad. The main drink besides coca cola is camu camu which is a cherry like fruit that produces a drink that is high in vitamin C and tastes very good. Some people even mix it with alcohol, but I prefer not to do that.
After lunch we headed over to visit the National Intercultural University of the Amazon (UNIA) for presentations on Institutional history, operation, progress, and achievements. I was impressed with the forestry degree programs and how they incorporated the concept of "mystics" which is equivalent to spirituality in America. The Menominee Nation signed an agreement with the university to develop internships and opportunities to study abroad. I am proud of the recognition that was received by the Menominee for their sustainable forestry methods.
It was during this time that I started to get sick. I don't know if I was dehydrated or if I had contracted some illness. My joints started to ache and I stopped sweating which meant that I started to overheat. After the meeting I retreated back to my hotel room and drank water and rested. I was able to rehydrate myself, but didn't join the rest of the crew that stayed out in the traditional lodges with the Shipibo people.
We took a boat to the Native Community of Calleria. We were greeted by the whole community and we danced together. After the dance we all congregated in the community building where we introduced ourselves and the local community also recited the national anthem of Peru. We were welcomed by community authorities. Presentations were made about the bilingual school and also the community initiatives: forest management, food security, art, and tourism. The people talked about how the forest provides everything to them: food, medicine, shelter, and revenue. I shared with them some stories of how the forests help us spiritually especially in dealing with grief.
The women of the community brought out crafts and showed us how they make different dyes that they use in their art. The interesting thing is how the ladies dream of a design and incorporate the design in every piece of art that they produce which is deeply engrained in their culture. I purchased all of my crafts, bags, and other gifts from this community. The community doesn't make a lot of money and so any opportunity they have to showcase their work and to profit from it is a great benefit to them.
We had lunch with the community again. They served us Paiche for lunch which is related to the Mashkinoozhe (Muskellunge). I showed them pictures of a musky and also some tales of fishing and how we fish in all seasons throughout the year. I began to get sick and overheat again. I had been drinking a lot of water by this time so to be sick again scared me because I felt like I was keeping myself hydrated.
An elder woman from the community told me to jump into the river and cool off. This is the Amazon River where there anacondas and Piranha in the river so I politely declined. Instead I got my t-shirt wet from the nearby well and cooled myself a little bit by doing that.
Before leaving the village they showed us their fish hatchery where they rear Paiche and other local fish. The men raised the nets on the two rearing ponds and the fish began flying out of the water. The fish we ate for lunch came from that very hatchery.
We left the village and headed back to Pucallpa to tour a lumber mill. Some local men that are charged with the responsibility of running the mill gave us a tour of the mill. They had some of the products for sale. At the end of the tour we gifted them with a birchbark basket and some wild rice.
After the tour we headed back to Pucallpa. I was getting very sick and stayed in my room for the night. I was sick for four days and only ate a little bit during my last three days in Peru. I lost 15 pounds which was all water weight. I also was victim to words being lost in translation. During the night I woke up thirsty and tried to get water from the front desk. I cannot speak Spanish so trying to communicate with someone that doesn't speak any English was difficult especially when very ill. I am thankful to the old man that spoke enough English to help me get some water and some ibuprofen. My fever didn't break until Friday morning. Muchos gracias.
The last day was reserved for us to visit the San Francisco community. Unfortunately it rained a lot and the river was so high that it washed out the bridge to the village. We took some time to rest and recuperate. We had a closing meeting with the delegation. We all exchanged gifts with each other. We brought out our ceremonial pipes to close the meeting. I gifted Oseas, President of CONAP, with a concretion from Lake Superior and some wild rice. I was gifted a small wooden bowl. It was sad to see our friends leave, but I really was missing home and couldn't wait to eat some food that I trusted. I am honored to represent Lac Courte Oreilles on an international level and feel it is a great honor to be invited to share in this historic event.
Schlender's Report continues below, but first, here is an article in the LCO E-News about the trip to Peru from Nicole Smith, LCO Communications Director;
GLIFWC Representatives Travel to Peru
In December, Vice-Chairman Schlender traveled to Peru with a group from the Great lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC). In attendance were Dylan Jennings, GILFWC, PIO Director and Bad River Council Member, Melonee Montano, TEK Outreach Specialist, Brad Harrington, DNR Commissioner Mille Lacs Band and Mic Isham, GLIFWC Board of Commissioners, Chris Caldwell and Greg Gauthier, College of Menominee Nation, Sustainable Development Institute.
The group traveled to Peru for an Indigenous exchange experience with the Confederation of Amazonian Nations of Peru (CONAP). This group is a national indigenous organization founded in May 1987, representing approximately 800 native communities from 40 federations across seven regions in the Peruvian Amazon. Their objective is to represent Amazonian indigenous peoples' organizations and to provide them the means to ensure the defense of their rights and their sustainable development.
As part of their mission and efforts toward these objectives, CONAP serves as a member of the Governing Board of the Peruvian Amazon Research Institute (IIAP), and has Inter-Institutional Cooperation Agreements with the National Intercultural University of the Peruvian Amazon Peruana (UNIA) and the Ministry of Environment. Our current programs focus on community forest management, food security, territorial rights and climate change.
The group was invited to Peru to share objectives of enriching indigenous exchange and sharing knowledge and identifying opportunities for two-way learning and collaboration. A group from the CONAP visited GLIFWC in October of 2016, they expressed that after their visit they felt it was important if representatives of GLIFWC could also meet Amazonian people in their own homeland and learn and take part in their way of life.
"I am honored to represent LCO and GLIFWC on this endeavor and to have the opportunity to share our traditional ecological knowledge with our relatives from Peru, Panama and the Menominee Nation," Schlender said.
"I also want to acknowledge the contribution of our team, the knowledge and methodology shared by the Menominee when it comes to resource management," Schlender said.
Schlender also stated that he wanted to acknowledge Rachel Sheridan and Ashley Warriner from US Forest Service and to the translation team that assisted them during the trip.
Schlender's Report continues on legislative actions...
I attended the wellbriety feast in New Post on November 28th. The keynote speaker was Trina Wolfe and she did a great job. Her story was filled with tragedy, but she endured and remains strong in her discovery of a new life. Congratulations to Trina and her family.
Miigwech to Ariana Johnson, Susie Taylor and their team for putting together the Toys for Girls and Boys event again this year which was a great success. Toys were dispersed to families on December 20th.
I attended the Jason Pero memorial walk in Bad River on December 2nd. It was an honor to stand with Bad River and the family of Jason in an act of solidarity. The incident is still under investigation and I hope for a peaceful resolution for all parties involved.
The minutes of the Tribal Governing Board meeting are always published in the newsletter. I'd like to share some of the recent legislative action of the board for the month of November & December. The new behavioral health building will be called the "Bizhiki Wellness Center". The building was named in honor of the late Harold Frogg who assisted many people with addictions and sobriety through Ain-dah-ing in Spooner. It seems only fitting that a place in Lac Courte Oreilles that will be used for similar purposes will bear his name.
The Ishpagoonikaa Camp will be held January 26-28 in Lac Courte Oreilles. Please see Patti Quaderer or Tiffiny Leach for applications for the camp. The camp will feature a variety of both indoor and outdoor cultural activities. Many people from our community will be teaching our youth during this time so please sign your children up for the camp and don't hesitate to participate yourself. Sevenwinds is the name of the casino after an intense re-branding campaign. The tribe has not sold the casino. I know many people see the new signs and some are not happy, but I tend to like the name and the logo. That may be an unpopular opinion to have, but I trust our casino marketing team to do the best they can to market our casino.
Brian Bisonette was named the new LCO Conservation Director. Brian has a wealth of knowledge and expertise. Miigwech to Dan Tyrolt for his efforts as the interim director. Jason Martin Sr. has been named the Gwayako Bimaadiziwin project coordinator. Jason will be relied upon to assist and teach men ages 18-24 about different cultural teachings, hunting, fishing, and gathering. This new program gives these young men opportunity to learn how to provide to families and a community.
Miigwech for the opportunity to serve and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Jason Schlender Manidoo Noodin Vice Chairman, LCO Tribal Governing Board