The U.P. has a strong native American history. To make sure the beauty of the language and traditions of different tribes are not forgotten, a TEK Day Camp has been formed and will take place this weekend. TEK stands for Traditional Ecological Knowledge. The next few days will be filed with students learning skills necessary for survival, emphasizing traditions of the Anishinaabe culture.
“Throughout history there has been an undermining of traditional culture and because of that families lack traditional knowledge, we have to learn it from other families, other elders or books. I have been fortunate to learn it from both ways.”
And passing that knowledge to others is a priority of Reinhardt’s. Fire starting techniques, tool crafting, plant identification, shelter construction, and storytelling will all be a part of the weekend activities. “Reminding them that it is all interconnected, that stories can tell art and art can tell stories. Our stories can inspire art and art pieces can inspire stories,” said Amanda Weinert, Anishinaabe art & story telling teacher.
“I think it is very important and not just for American–Indian people for but for everyone to learn traditional ecological knowledge and concepts. Think about how sustainable things we are doing with food, most of us in the world right now, we are dependent on corporate America for feeding us, how many of us could survive a Northern Michigan winter if we were left to our own devices,” continued Reinhardt.
The camp will be held at the former McDonald Elementary School in Gwinn. You can call the NMU Center for Native American Studies at 227–1397 for more information.