Northwestern University honored leaders from the Menominee Nation during the Men’s Basketball opening game Friday, November 2, the day the University formally unveiled the newly renovated Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Lumber procured from the Menominee Tribal Enterprises (MTE) was used for the building of the Welsh-Ryan Arena basketball court.
The dedication event recognized the symbolic significance of using lumber from the Menominee Nation for the construction of the basketball floor in the arena. Work done by the Menominee Tribal Enterprises illustrates a deep history of using sustainable forestry practices that are ecologically viable, economically feasible and socially desirable.
“Northwestern’s recognition of our sustainable management practices and quality of our products in this significant renovation makes us very proud,” said Doug Cox, chairman of the Menominee Nation. “It is our hope that the Northwestern community enjoys the arena for many years to come and that they’ll remember the special place that it came from.”
The Welsh-Ryan Arena is the home of Northwestern’s basketball, volleyball and wrestling teams.
Northwestern University has been prioritizing efforts to act on recommendations made by the Native American Outreach and Inclusion Task Force. The recommendations aim at strengthening Northwestern’s relationship with Native American communities through recruitment efforts, academic programs and campus support services, among others.
At the University’s 2018 Commencement ceremony, Northwestern Chaplain Rev. Tim Stevens acknowledged publicly for the University for the first time that the Evanston campus sits on traditional Native American homelands.
“As we gather today in celebration, we acknowledge that the Northwestern campus sits on the traditional homelands of the people of the Council of the Three Fires- the Ojibwe, Potawatomi, and Odawa, as well as the Menominee, Ho-Chunk and Miami tribes,” Stevens said.
The traditional homelands of the Menominee stretches from Chicago to Upper Michigan. The current Menominee reservation lands are located in northeastern Wisconsin, just four hours north of Evanston. Working with MTE is part of building and strengthening relationships with tribal nations in the Great Lakes area and beyond.
Honored leaders include the chairman of the Menominee Nation, and the president of MTE. They were presented with a game ball on the court during the second half of the game.
“As a Northwestern alumnus and Menominee Tribal member, I am so pleased that the University was willing to consider, and ultimately select, Menominee product for this significant Welsh-Ryan Arena renovation,” said Sean Harte, Menominee Tribal member and 1987 graduate of Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.
Management of natural resources is an integral part of the Menominee Nation’s history. For more 160 years, tribal members engaged in sustained-yield management that focused not only on forest products but the eco-system as a whole, including wildlife and site productivity, among other functions.