Sokaogon Chippewa Community News

Community Roundtable Discusses Traditional Foods

By:  Richard D. Ackley, Jr.

The Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC) welcomed 17 people gathered to the Mole Lake Casino & Lodge Conference Center last Wednesday, July 24th, to learn more about the expansion of Treaty-harvested fish, game and plants for food in Tribal communities.

Through the establishment of a Traditional Food Regulatory System, there is a potential to increase Tribal self-regulatory capacity, including sovereign control over activities governing the use of Treaty-based resources. LaTisha Coffin, Project Coordinator for GLIFWC, shared, “In September 2017, GLIFWC was awarded the three-year ANA SEDS (Administration for Native Americans Social & Economic Development Strategies) grant titled “GLIFWC Chippewa Ceded Territory Traditional Food Regulatory System Project”. Our purpose in being here today is to get your input about what you feel is your most important traditional foods.”

The goal of the project is to expand the use of Treaty harvested fish, game and plants for food in the community of Mole Lake, once it establishes its own Traditional Food Regulatory System based upon Tribal Council approval. As a part of the project, staff will conduct a total of 11 Community Roundtables, one with each GLIFWC member Tribe.

The goals of the Community Roundtables are to provide an opportunity to learn about GLIFWC’s ANA SEDS project, discuss Traditional Model Food Code development, and to identify a traditional food each community would like to know more about. For example, one Tribe may note that Lake Superior whitefish is the most important traditional food to their community, while another Tribal community may identify manoomin (wild rice) as the most important to them.

Ms. Coffin also explained that in 2017-2018, over 300 respondents agreed on 12 different traditional foods that included: deer, rabbit, duck, turkey, whitefish, walleye, berries, wild rice, maple syrup, venison, animal fat and berry jams/jelly.

Ms. Coffin said that beginning in January 2020, project staff will conduct targeted workshops on a specific traditional food, based on the Community Roundtable input from that Tribal community. “Our project is multifaceted. Following the workshops in 2020, project staff will begin hosting a variety of trainings concerning food safety and GLIFWC’s Traditional Model Food Codes.”

Ms. Coffin shared a Community Roundtable presentation for reference and explained many aspects of the program from its history to implementation. “I’m excited to be able to provide this very important opportunity for the Mole Lake Tribal Membership to learn more about GLIFWC’s Traditional Food Code project!”

For more information, email LaTisha Coffin, Project Coordinator, or call 715-685-2128.