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Canku Ota
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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Partnerships Will Help Save Our Natural Resources
by Ron "Tehassi" Hill Jr. for the Green Bay (WI) Press Gazette
The Oneida Tribe of Indians has been a leader in restoration and sustainability of our natural resources. The Oneida people know their responsibilities to take care of Mother Earth are not negotiable. These are inherent duties we have been given by our Creator, and they have been passed down generationally.

In our ceremonies and in our philosophy, we teach our children to be mindful of how important it is to understand that the significance of our life begins and ends with our relationship with our environment.

On our reservation, managing our resources in a cooperative manner begins with our intergovernmental relationships. Because the Oneida Reservation is enjoined with so many other governments, we have worked to build an atmosphere of open communication, shared resources and a vision for sustaining our environment for the next seven generations.

Our ancient agricultural practices still provide the Oneida community with rich and fertile crops of our heirloom Oneida corn. This white corn has sustained Oneida people for centuries and the use of our corn to sustain ourselves was not limited to the nourishment of this precious food, but also how we used the entire plant.

The stalks were used for fire, and weaving. The corn silks and husks were used for making dolls, braiding the corn for drying and also for weaving rugs and moccasins. The use of this natural resource is one example of how the Oneida people have utilized every resource in a manner that maximized every facet of that resource to nourish, protect and to sustain ourselves.

As the Oneida Tribe established more recent environmental programs, we looked to create a division that would embrace, promote and implement our philosophy for our sustainability of the environment. We have one of the most successful and responsible environmental programs in the nation. The restoration work that has been done on our reservation over the past several decades is phenomenal.

Last spring we were joined by Brown and Outagamie counties and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in releasing more than 5,000 trout fingerlings into Trout Creek. For decades Trout Creek had been barren of any trout; it was time to restore these waters and this environment. Oneida is proud of this effort and the cooperation we experienced working with the local counties and the state.

This is one of the success stories we are happy to share. This success gives the Oneida government the incentive to continue to move forward in building partnerships that provide a hope for the future generations to enjoy our natural resources.

Officially, the mission of the Oneida Environmental, Health and Safety Division is to provide high quality services that protect and improve the health of the human and natural environment, consistent with Oneida's culture and vision. We strive to balance community, family and work.

Ron "Tehassi" Hill Jr. is serving his first term on the Oneida Nation's nine-member Business Committee

Brook Trout Alive and Well in Trout Creek
by Doug Aloisi, US Fish & Wildlife Service

Good news coming from the fall fishery assessments on Trout Creek of the Oneida Indian Reservation! Assessment results indicate good growth and survival of the brook trout fingerlings stocked from the Genoa National Fish Hatchery as 2.25 inch fingerlings this spring. The fish have grown roughly .75 inches to 1.75 inches in length this summer and this is very encouraging to see living proof that the watershed is capable of sustaining brook trout again. The Trout Creek watershed had many of its aquatic species reduced or eliminated due to degrading water quality caused by inadequate manure storage facilities in the upper watershed. Through action initiated by the Oneida tribe and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, point source pollution was reduced and habitat rehabilitation efforts were established. Brook trout were re-introduced according to the Oneida Dept. of Natural Resources Trout Creek watershed management plan, and the first of three year classes of brook trout were placed in the Creek this spring. A strain of wild brook trout from Ash Creek, Wisconsin was stocked to increase the chances that survival would be high. Brook trout eggs were carefully screened for fish pathogens by the LaCrosse (WI) Fish Health Center, and isolated from other fish populations on the Genoa hatchery to reduce the risk of disease. Human activity was also minimized during rearing at the hatchery, to maintain startle responses of the fish and preserve predator avoidance behavior after the fish were stocked. This cooperative effort between the Green Bay National Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office, the Genoa National Fish Hatchery, the Oneida tribe and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is a textbook example of how conservation agencies can work together synergistically to advance conservation efforts well into the future. Brook trout are an excellent biological indicator of watershed health, and the presence of live trout and the use of other watershed quality indices will be used as tools to ensure that Trout Creek will have its namesake as residents for generations to come.

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  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.  
Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 of Vicki Barry and Paul Barry.
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