Earth Healing Initiative & College of Menominee Nation: Great Lakes recycling


College of Menominee Nation: EPA Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge and a lesson in Great Lakes recycling 101


Dr. William Van Lopik, College of Menominee Nation professor of the Implementing Sustainable Development classes

The Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin  contributed over 4 tons of electronic and pharmaceutical waste to the EPA Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge.

This is the first of several vidoes explaining the tribes numerous projects that included cleaning up the reservation, replacing gang symbols with Native American art, teaching youth about the legend of the sturgeon and its place in tribal culture.

In part one, the non-profit interfaith Earth Healing Initiative looks at the many recycling projects of the College of Menominee nation.

Drum to honor tribal school students

(Keshena, WI) – The Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin in Keshena is being praised for its massive cleanup projects during the EPA Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge – involving over 100 projects across eight states that comprise the Great lakes basin.

The college of Menominee Nation held a pharmaceutical and electronic waste collection as part of the EPA Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge.

Tribal school students

Other tribal projects during the challenge included the clean up of two reservation communities by tribal school students, The Menominee Teen Court Panel, and many other volunteers.

sturgeon classes collage
All classes at the tribal school taught the students about the sturgeon, that is a vital part of Menominee legend and heritage.

Called the protector guardian of Menominee wild rice, the sturgeon used to spawn on the reservation until a man made dam blocked the route so the sturgeon could not reach their ancestral spawning grounds.

Gang wall collage

The students also whitewashed gang graffiti at a skateboard park replacing it with American Indian art.

Adults participated in the challenge in a big way – as the tribe’s Solid Waste and Recycling Department held curbside e-waste collections during Earth week 2008 – and all month accepted e-waste at the transfer station. Cardboard and other items are also recycled by the Menominee tribe.

garbage monsters collage

Native American and other students also made garbage monsters at the Keshena Public Schools with help from their parents using common every day trash from home. The students made a presentation on how to be reuse stuff they normally thrown in the trash like plastic jugs.

More than four tons of  e-waste and other recyclables  – plus litter – was removed from the reservation during April.

e-waste closeup

Faculty and students brought their old computers, cell phones and medicines to an e-waste and pharmaceutical collection site at the tribal college in Keshena, Wisconsin to help a federal Earth Day challenge to clean up the Great Lakes Basin, while younger students cleaned up the reservation and whitewashed gang graffiti.

At the College of Menominee Nation, the Earth Day 2008 e-waste and medicine collections went smoothly as people turned in hundreds of items.

e-waste and coord.

Over 23 pounds of medicines were turned in including 100 bottles of pills, more than 25 computers and dozens of related components like hard drives, printers, keyboards and speakers; televisions, radios, DVD players, 12 cell phones and over 100 small batteries.

The collection is among numerous Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin (MITW) projects that are part of the United States Environmental Protection Agency Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge that runs through the end of April.

tribal school

tribal school logo

Gang graffiti was whitewashed from a skateboard park wall near the tribal school by K-8 students. The MITW youth honored Earth Day and replaced graffiti with positive Native American symbols.

“The younger students put their hands in paint and made flower hand prints on the wall,” said teacher Beth Waukechon. “All week students have been cleaning up the reservation, and one student was so inspired she wants to start an Earth Club.”

On Friday, April 25, over 180 students cleaned up litter around the community of Neopit.

“The students are giving thanks to Mother Earth for all that she had done,” Waukechon said. “They are taking a moment each day to do that.”

“We know that Mother Earth can shake us off at any moment,” she said. “We are the ones that need her, she doesn’t need us.”

“Clean up the Rez Day” was held on Thursday, April 24 at the tribe’s Youth Development and Outreach program. The Menominee Teen Court Panel and volunteers cleaned up garbage, said Claudette Hewson, MITW Restorative Justice Coordinator.

The teen panel, ages 14 to 17, is a peer review for youthful offenders sentenced in tribal court who “need to learn healthy behaviors,” Hewson said. On May 2, at-risk teens will paint over more reservation gang graffiti.

Sponsors include the tribe’s Community Resource Center, Menominee County Police, Menominee Tribal Police, Tribal Clinic Wellness Program (Maehnowesekiyah), Probation and Parole, Community Recycling Project, Recreation Department, and the U.S. Post Office in Keshena.

Earth Week tribal school classes applied subjects like math, history and others to different aspects of the life cycle, biology and value of the sturgeon, an important fish to the Menominee tribe.

pharma photo

Overseeing the pharmaceutical collection was Heidi Cartwright, pictured on the left above, a part-time Manawa police officer and college police science instructor.


While hosting the collection, the college’s Implementing Sustainable Development class found out they won the National Recycling Coalition Bin Grant through Coca-Cola, said professor William Van Lopik, Ph.D.

“One of premises of the class is to do things, not just talk about what we are going to do and how the world is going to be changed, but having students do things,” Dr. Van Lopik said.


blue bins

The grant pays for 50 recycling bins that the college plans to share with the tribal school.


The class has participated in the ten-week Recycle Mania project two years in a row that involves weighing recyclables as they leave the building. This year, the class ranked 136 out of 200 colleges and universities with 8 pounds of recyclables per person, beating out Ohio State and Georgetown, Van Lopik said.

recycle mania schools

The MITW held curbside pickup of electronics during Earth Week. A couple thousand pounds of electronics were turned in at the MITW transfer station since April 1. The total is expected to reach several tons.

Native American students recently created “Garbage Monsters” out of bottles, paper and other items found in their trash in a project at the Keshena Public Schools, said Diana Wolf, MITW Solid Waste/Recycling Coordinator. After naming their monsters, the students explained other uses for the garbage.

tri logos

This video on the projects connected to the Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge was made possible by a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in collaboration with the EPA’s Region 5 office in Chicago, the EPA Great Lakes national Program Office, also in Chicago, in cooperation with the non-profit Interfaith Earth Healing Initiative in Marquette, MI.

EHI Logo

The EHI involves American Indian tribes and “a coalition of churches, synagogues and other faith traditions joining together to heal, protect and defend the environment,” said EHI founder Rev. Jon Magnuson of Marquette, Michigan.

I’m Greg Peterson and you’re watching Earth Healing TV

Related website about Keshena, Neopit, the College of Menominee Nation and Menominee County, WI:

Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin official website – homepage:

MITW Tribal School website:

College of Menominee Nation

Earth Healing Initiative Keshena, WI page:

Earth Healing Initiative:

MITW Maehnowesekiyah Wellness Center:

University of WI Cooperative Extention wesbsite page for Menominee tribe info like schools, college:

Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin Youth Development & Outreach

Youth Development and Outreach
W3191 Fredenberg Drive
P.O. Box 910
Keshena, WI 54135
715-799-5227 (Fax)
Director: Darwin Dick

Great Lakes Inter Tribal Council

Samuels Recycling – Green Bay, WI:

Links to sites about Samuel’s Recycling in Green Bay (Buyer Mike Zastrow – 1-920-494-3451)

From Wikipedia:
The College of the Menominee Nation (abbreviated CMN) is one of 34 tribal based community colleges in the United States. The college’s main campus is in Keshena, Wisconsin and has another campus in Oneida, Wisconsin. The college is one of two tribal based colleges in Wisconsin.
The tribal college was chartered in 1993. The college began offering classes in the 1993 Spring semester. The College of Menominee Nation was granted full accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission on August 7, 1998. The college is a member of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC).

Recycle Mania:

National Recycling Coalition Bin Grant through Coca-Cola:

About yoopernewsman

I am a news reporter, writer and investigative journalist and began my career about 40 years ago as a young teenager in Augusta, GA after moving south during the middle of high school. I'm a news reporter, writer & investigative journalist specializing in street news, plus Indigenous, civil rights & environment reporting. Currently volunteer media advisor for numerous American Indian & environment related nonprofits that include the Navajo Lutheran Mission in Rock Point, AZ & its executive director Rev. Dr. Lynn Hubbard, the nonprofit Cedar Tree Institute (CTI) in Marquette, MI & its many projects founded by Rev. Jon Magnuson, Author Joy Ibsen of Trout Creek, MI, Celtic Christianity Today (CCT) founded by Rev. Dr. George Cairns, the Turtle Island Project founded by pastors Hubbard & Cairns. In its third summer, the CTI Zaagkii Wings & Seeds Project & its volunteers built a16-foot geodesic dome solar-powered greenhouse that was built in this summer at the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) in an effort to restore native species plants to northern Michigan. It's located at the tribe's Natural Resources Department north of L'Anse along Lake Superior. During the summer of 2010, Zaagkii Project teens built & painted 25 beautiful reliquaries that are boxes made from pine & cedar that are used to store seeds for planting & included samples of Native American medicine including sweetgrass, cedar, sage & tobacco. From April-June 2009, I promoted the EarthKeeper Tree Project that planted 12,000 trees across northern Michigan. Co-edited "Unafraid," the second book by Author Joy Ibsen of Trout Creek, MI that was printed in May 2009 based on her father's handwritten sermons she found in shoebox. I edited numerous videos for nonprofit CCT. Began career 35 years ago as teenager in Augusta, GA after moving south during middle of high school. I was co-coordinator of the 1986 original James Brown Appreciation Day in Augusta, GA, where the Godfather of Soul was always trashed by local media who didn't report anything positive about the music icon. Mr. Terence Dicks was the other co-coordinator & most recently served as chair of the Augusta Human Relations Commission and serves on the Georgia Clients Council. Mr. Brown taught us to "fight the good fight" by battling all forms of racism & evil while not uttering a bad word about those who try to block justice, respect, fairness & kindness to all. As a child, I lived in the Harbert, Michigan home built by late poet Carl Sandburg, where the legendary author penned some of his greatest works including his Chicago works & Lincoln papers. The four-story home had a sundeck on the top & a cool walk-in safe in the basement. The neighborhood (Birchwood) has numerous cottages used for other purposes by Sandburg like the milk house where they milked goats. My parents remodeled fourth floor of the home that stands atop the Lake Michigan sand dunes/bluffs. They found items that belonged to Mr. Sandburg concealed in the walls including prescription bottles with his name, reading glasses, & a small, thin metal stamp with his name. I've worked for dozens of newspapers & radio & TV stations in GA & MI. I'm volunteer media advisor for several interfaith environmental projects involving Native Americans across Upper Peninsula of MI including the Turtle Island Project, The Zaagkii Project, the Interfaith Earth Healing Initiative, EarthKeeper Initiative & the Manoomin (Wild Rice) Project. The Zaagkii Wings & Seeds Project restores bee & butterfly habitat to help pollination of plants following death of billions of bees. Keweenaw Bay Indian Community youth & Marquette teens built butterfly houses, planted/distributed 26,000 native plants to help pollinators. The Earth Healing Initiative assisted EPA Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge. EHI helped organize interfaith participation across eight states for the 100 plus recycling projects (April 2008) involving recycling millions of pounds of electronic waste & proper disposal of millions of pills/pharmaceuticals. EPA goals were exceeded by 500%. Under an EPA grant, EHI provided free media services for the cities/groups/tribes including videos & press releases. The EarthKeeper environment projects include an annual Earth Day Clean Sweep (2005-2007) at 24 free drop-off sites across a 400 mile area of northern Michigan that collected over 370 tons of household hazardous waste. The 2007 EarthKeeper Pharmaceutical Clean Sweep collected over one ton of drugs plus $500,000 in narcotics in only three hours. Some 2,000 residents participated & many brought in pharmaceuticals for their family, friends & neighbors. In 2006, 10,000 people dropped off over 320 tons of old/broken computers, cell phones & other electronic waste, all of which was recycled. In 2005, residents turned in 45 tons of household poisons & vehicle batteries. The Manoomin (Wild Rice) Project teaches teens to respect nature & themselves by having American Indian guides escort them to remote lakes & streams in northern Michigan to plant/care for wild rice. The teens test water quality to determine the best conditions for the once native grain to survive. The Turtle Island Project was co-founded in July 2007 by Rev. Lynn Hubbard of Rock Point, AR (Ex. Dir. of the Navajo Lutheran Mission) & Rev. Dr. George Cairns of Chesterton, IN, United Church of Christ minister & research professor for the Chicago Theological Seminary. TIP promotes respect for culture & heritage of indigenous peoples like American Indians. TIP is a platform for American Indians to be heard unedited by whites. Rev. Hubbard says whites don't have the knowledge or right to speak on behalf of Native Americans. I specialize in civil rights, outdoor, environmental, cops & courts reporting thanks to my late mentor Jay Mann (Jan Tillman Hutchens), an investigative reporter in Augusta, who lived by the books "Illusions" & "Jonathon Livingston Seagull." Love to fish, hunt, camp & skydive. Belong to Delta Chi national fraternity. I was active in Junior Achievement, band played cornet. With my dear friend, the Rev. Terence A. Dicks, we were the co-coordinators of the 1986 original James Brown Appreciation Day in Augusta, GA, where the Godfather of Soul was always trashed by the local media who found no reasons to print or report anything positive about the music icon. I am honored to help the human rights activist Terence Dicks - with some of his projects including the nonprofit Georgia Center for Children and Education - and the economic initiative he founded titled "Claiming A Street Named King." I am the volunteer media advisor for several environmental projects across Michigan's Upper Peninsula including EarthKeeper II - an Initiative of the nonprofit Cedar Tree Institute in Marquette, MI. EarthKeepers II is an Interfaith Energy Conservation and Community Garden Initiative across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Goals: Restore Native Plants and Protect the Great Lakes from Toxins like Airborne Mercury in cooperation with the EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, U.S. Forest Service, 10 faith traditions and Native American tribes like the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Previously known as the Earth Keeper Initiative - that project included many environmental projects including an annual Earth Day Clean sweep at two dozen free drop off sites across a 400 mile area of northern Michigan. The target of the 2007 Earth Keeper Pharmaceutical Clean Sweep are all kinds of medicines. In 2006, some 10,000 people dropped off over 320 tons of old/broken computers, cell phones and other electronic waste, all of which was recycled. In 2005, residents turned in 45 tons of household poisons and vehicle batteries. The Manoomin (Wild Rice) Project taught at-risk teens (just sentenced in juvenile court) to respect nature and themselves by having American Indian guides escort them to very remote lakes and streams in northern Michigan to plant and care for wild rice. The teens conducted water quality and other tests to determine the best conditions for the once native grain to survive. I have always specialized in civil rights, outdoor, environmental, cops and courts reporting thanks to my late mentor Jay Mann (Jan Tillman Hutchens), an investigative reporter in Augusta, who lived by the book "Illusions."
This entry was posted in American Indian, climate change, drinking water, e-waste, Earth, earth day, Earth Day 2008, Earth Healing Initiative, Earth Keeper Initiative, Earth Keepers, ecology, EHI, ELCA, elders, environment, environmental, EPA, Erie, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, faith, faith traditions, faith-based, First Nations Peoples, fish, food, glacier, global warming, Great Lakes, Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge, Great Sioux Nation, Green Bay, Harlan McKosato, heritage, HHW, honor, Hoopa, household hazardous waste, Huron, Indian Country Today, indigenous, Indigenous Issues, Indigenous peoples, interfaith, KBIC, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, lake, Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, Lakota, Lakota Sioux, landfill, landfills, Lutheran, Lutheran Campus Ministry, Mahican, Maidu, Makah, Mandan, Manoomin Project, medical care, medicines, meditation, melting, Menominee, Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, Michigan, Milwaukee, Milwaukee Journal, Milwaukee Sentinel, Minnesota, Mission Indians, MITW, Modoc, Mohave, Mohawk, Name Change Organization Inc., Narragansett, Naskapi, Natchez, Native America Calling, Native American, Native American Theology, Native Plants, nature, Navajo, Navajo Times, NBC News, Neopit, newspaper, NMU 2008 Indigenous Earth Day Summit, non-profit, North American, North American Theology, northern, northern lights, Ojibwa, Ojibwe, Parliament of the World's Religions, pharmaceutical waste, pharmaceuticals, philosophy, pills, planet, pluralism, poisons, pollution, Potawatomi, Powhatan, proper disposal, Pueblo, racism, racist, radio, recycle, religion, religions, respect, Rev Jon Magnuson, river, rivers, Sioux Nation, South Dakota, species, species extinction, St. Croix, state of Michigan, stream, streams, Sturgeon, sulfide, sulfide mine, Sulfide mining, sulfuric acid, Superior, Syracuse, television, Tillie Black Bear, Tobacco Nation, Toledo, tradition, Traverse City, tree, trees, tribal, tribal school, tribe, Tribune, truth, Turtle Island, Turtle Island Project, Uncategorized, United States, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Upper Peninsula, USEAP, water, Watersmeet, wild flowers, wild rice, wildlife, Wisconsin, world, world news, Yellow Dog Plains, Yuma, Yurok and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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