The seat of government for the Menominee Tribe is located approximately 45 miles northwest of Green Bay, Wisconsin, on the Menominee Indian Reservation, in the Village of Keshena. The Reservation shares nearly coterminous geopolitical boundaries with Menominee County, is situated on the ancestral homelands of its 8,551 tribal members, and includes 5 main communities: Keshena, Neopit, Middle Village, Zoar, and South Branch.
Forest management and timber harvest have been major components of the leading industries for the Menominee Indian Tribe since the 1800’s. Over the years, the tribe’s lumber operations have had successes and setbacks. At the present time planning is underway to make significant upgrades to their sawmill and modernize the operations to work more efficiently and effectively. The Menominee Indian Tribe make their harvest from forests with many maple trees. The forest maples include a type that is well-suited for use in basketball courts and can be found on some NBA and NCAA courts. The forests not only provide wood for the tribe’s lumber industry, but the sap is also collected from the maples to make maple syrup. A portion of the sawmill upgrades include plans for a new facility and infrastructure to start a maple syrup operation with capacity to produce over 1 million pounds of maple syrup annually. The maple syrup expansion is an example of innovation and diversification that builds capacity and makes more and better use of natural resources.
The Greater Menominee Community Network identified opportunities to explore innovation and build overall economic strength. These opportunities include support for an emerging intertribal food system, maple sugar operation, supporting a community kitchen and training lab for aspiring entrepreneurs, sawmill upgrades and modernization, integrating renewable energy systems into community facilities, and creating connections between educational institutions and local businesses.