(continued) Taking a look at the economic system of my reservation and other reservations across the United States, I see similarities. Tribal Governments run the reservations and control the majority of business on the reservations, which are casinos. This economic system defined by Microeconomics is communism. But this economic system is crumbling because it is dependable on the United States economy to sustain it. Reservations were in a recession long before the United States. Now we are in a depression and need a way out. How are tribal nations going to achieve a task so mounting? By building a Green Economy from the ground up.
In starting a Green Economy, one needs to start educating the future generations. Building an education curriculum beginning with kinder garden leading up to twelfth grade and into college composing of sustainable development, permaculture, nutrition, and renewable energy. The outcome of the curriculum is educating the future generations on how to maintain a garden, greenhouse, and compost pile; Become lead researchers, developers, and scientists in creating new sustainable ways to rebuild our world, thus creating a Green Economy. Students graduating from high school will walk away with not only a high school diploma, but also a certificate in environmental stewardship. These students will go on to continue their education.
At the College of Menominee Nation, students have the opportunity to go to school to become sustainable business owners, nurses certified in alternative medicine, sustainable development activists, green engineers, and green construction workers. Not to mention student organizations on campus that work together on rebuilding communities using sustainable practices. Students will graduate out of CMN with a holistic education on how humanity is connected to Mother Earth.
Looking from an economist perspective, opportunity cost is being used on the Menominee Reservation. We are investing our time, money and resources in our future generations to make a difference in our community and the world. We have already begun this process by building our sustainable curriculum. The time is now for leadership and the Indigenous people of North America are ready to take this daunting task of leading with integrity.
Marcus Grignon Ke Sih Pih Soh Mekek “Swift Otter"
This essay was submitted for consideration in a writing contest, the Green Economy, conducted by National Council for Science and the Environment. Determination of winners is pending.
Painting by Wendy LaTender