Michigan Board Votes to Add Ancient Menominee Site to National Register of Historic Places

The vote follows last year’ approval by the Wisconsin Review Board


Timna Axel, taxel@earthjustice.org, (773) 828-0712

Randal Chevalier, The Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, (715) 799-5114, ext. 7057

The Michigan Historic Preservation Review Board today voted unanimously to support the nomination of Anaem Omot, a Menominee Tribe cultural landscape bisected by the Menominee River that separates Wisconsin and Michigan, to the National Register of Historic Places. The vote follows several years of advocacy by historians, scientists, and leaders of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin to recognize the cultural and historic resources in the district, including burial mounds, garden beds, and dance rings.

“We are absolutely thrilled,” said Chairman Ron Corn Sr. of the Menominee Tribe. “Today’s vote recognizes a rare and sacred Menominee heritage site that has lasted through centuries of violent dispossession and where Menominee members continue to visit and hold ceremonies today. It’s especially meaningful on Michigan Indian Day, which honors the many contributions that people of Native American descent have made in Michigan.”

Anaem Omot, translated as ‘The Dog’s Belly’, is an area located 50 miles upstream from the mouth of the Menominee River where it meets the Bay of Green Bay. It includes the famed Sixty Islands site, which is steeped in Menominee history. The origin of the Menominee Tribe takes place at the mouth of the Menominee River.

The site contains documented burial mounds, ancient raised agricultural fields, and hammered metal artifacts dating to the Old Copper period. There are also several ancient dance rings in the area, which were used for ceremonial purposes by Menominee and other neighboring tribes. These sites may help historians and researchers better understand how ancient societies were impacted by geological and social phenomena.

“The way our ancestors lived continues to shape who we are today,” said Dave Grignon, the tribal historical preservation officer for Menominee. “This special place tells us where we’ve come from and where we’re going, and there is a lot left to learn.”

The Michigan Review Board vote follows the November 2021 vote by the Wisconsin Review Board, which unanimously approved the site’s nomination. The decision to list Anaem Omot in the National Register of Historic Places — the official list of historic buildings, districts, sites, structures, and objects worthy of preservation — will now move to Michigan and Wisconsin’s State Historic Preservation Officers, the National Park Service, and finally to the keeper of the National Register.

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