Field Museum Presents Parker/Gentry Award to Gun Lake Tribe

7Wild rice “mnomen” harvest Gun Lake Tribe – Photo: Finney, K., Jijak Foundation

Published May 5, 2019

Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians bring ancestral knowledge to conservation efforts

CHICAGO — As part of its annual Conservation Celebration taking place on May 7, the Field Museum will present the 24th Annual Parker/Gentry Award to Gun Lake Tribe, also known as theMatch-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians.

Founded in 1996 in honor of late conservationists Theodore A. Parker III and Alwyn Gentry, the Parker/Gentry Award recognizes one individual, team, or organization that has made a significant contribution to the field of conservation biology, and whose actions can provide a model to others.

This year’s awardee, Gun Lake Tribe, drew from centuries’ worth of ancestral knowledge to spearhead numerous conservation initiatives in the Great Lakes region. The Tribe’s Environmental Department administers the Mnomen Conservation program, which re-establishes habitat for mnomen (wild rice).

“We are honored to receive this award from the outstanding staff at the Field Museum. Credit goes to our excellent Environmental Department staff here at the Gun Lake Tribe for their dedication to preserving our local habitat, so we can continue our tradition of being stewards of the land,” says Bob Peters, Chairman of the Gun Lake Tribe.

Similarly, the Tribe works with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to rehabilitate the lake sturgeon population in the Kalamazoo and Grand Rivers.   With efforts ranging from species preservation to environmental education and more, the Tribe’s approach to conservation emphasizes holistic, culturally focused stewardship.

Aasia Mohammad Castañeda, Environmental Social Scientist at the Field Museum, nominated Gun Lake Tribe due to their leadership in “projects that connect their community to ancestral knowledge” and “culturally relevant environmental conservation of lake sturgeon, wild rice, and turtles.”

The Parker/Gentry Award aims to shed a spotlight on crucial conservation work, and the Field Museum is honored to present this year’s award to a longtime advocate for environmental and cultural preservation in the Great Lakes region.

Those interested in attending the Field Museum’s annual Conservation Celebration and the Parker/Gentry Award ceremony can purchase tickets for $25, the funds of which contribute directly to the Field Museum’s conservation work.

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