The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) Natural Resources Department is committed to working in partnership with others. The KBIC greatly values our sponsors, and governance and research partnerships with numerous entities across our region and beyond. Such partnerships are crucial to strengthening our collaborative relationships, and we acknowledge that our work together contributes to the resiliency of our shared communities, landscapes, and future.

The KBIC is committed to the continuation of sharing and generating knowledge together, and ongoing engagement in natural resources and environmental restoration and protection. Partnership engagement is critical to Department priorities as we continuously seek ways to honor all of our relationships, and to bridge Indigenous knowledge and science and share these understandings with others. Below are a number of partnerships that have and continue to support KBIC priorities, organized by (1) Sponsors, (2) Governance, and (3) Research.



Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC)
KBIC has provided sponsor funds to the Department since the fish hatchery facility opened for operation (1988-). Their long-term support and guidance of the fisheries program emphasizes the importance of the tribal fish harvest in who we are as Ojibwa people.

Administration for Native Americans (ANA)
Has provided sponsor funds to the Department since the fish hatchery facility opened for operation (1988-). Their long-term support and guidance of the fisheries program emphasizes the importance of the tribal fish harvest in who we are as Ojibwa people.

Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)
Has provided funds to the Department’s various programs for many years, strengthening our ongoing work and the capacity to support them. For the past several years and currently, the Department has been a recipient of Tribal Resiliency grant funds which supports management and stewardship work across KBIC government departments and the reservation.

Cedar Tree Institute
Sponsored the design, materials, and construction of the Department’s Greenhouse Biodome (2010) in Pequaming, and continues to support plant and tree restoration work with the KBIC. The Institute, established in 1995 in Marquette MI, is a nonprofit organization providing services and initiating projects in the areas of mental health, religion, and the environment

First Nations Development Institute
Has provided funds to the Department to construct a fish cleaning station on-site at the DIGs People’s Garden in L’Anse (2020) which contributes to the revitalization of food sovereignty in our community.

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI)
Has provided funds to the Department’s various programs (2010-) through the EPA and BIA, and other entities. GLRI has substantially contributed to strengthening ongoing restoration work and provided the capacity to support projects. Specific programs and staff supported through GLRI funds, such as Tribal Resiliency Grants include the Sand Point Restoration project, and the Great Lakes and Lake Superior programs.

Michigan Health Endowment Fund (MHEF)
Has provided funds to the Department as part of their Community Health Impact grant program (2019-2021). MHEF sponsorship funds our project initiative titled, Debweyendan (“believe in it”) Indigenous Gardens (DIGs): Promoting Intergenerational Learning and Access to Healthy Foods and Medicines. DIGs is a collaboration between KBIC, Michigan Tech, and Western U.P. Planning & Development Region (WUPPDR) that is working on on-site community garden utilities upgrades, garden and orchard supplies and equipment, a workshop series for shared learning experiences for gardening, landscape harvesting, and hunting and fishing, and also, the Garden for Heart volunteer program.

Michigan Humanities Council
Provided funds to the Department in 2018 as a recipient of a Third Coast Conversations: Dialogues about Water in Michigan program. Our project addressed the theme of Indigenous communities and water values and beliefs to enhance Indigenous sovereignty, identity, and healing of water-rich homelands through open dialogue and various platforms of multimedia. Collaborating with KBOCC and MTU, this project enhanced existing initiatives, such as the KBIC application to the EPA for Treatment in a Similar Manner as the State (TAS), and fostered new dialogues at major events including; a Water walk, Lake Superior Day, Geo-Cultural Heritage Field Trip by Land and by Water, Youth Water, Wetlands Survey and the first annual Tribal Water Day Event water podcast series.

Michigan Technological University
Has provided funds to KBIC Committee for Alternative and Renewable Energy (CARE) (2019-2024), which several Department staff are a part of, to ensure that CARE can advise, support and guide energy sovereignty research in our community. This project is funded by the National Science Foundation Growing Convergence Research program and titled, Michigan Community & Anishinaabe Renewable Energy Sovereignty [MICARES], a collaboration among Michigan Technological University, Michigan State University, and Tribal Nations and community organization partners across the state of Michigan focused on alternative energy transitions.

Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS)

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 
MN Sea Grant, NOAA GLRI funds, provided funding to the Department as a part of Manoomin (wild rice) management and restoration initiatives in partnership with many of our sister Great Lakes Tribes (Lac Vieux Desert, Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission), Federal and State agencies, including National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Minnesota Sea Grant. Our objectives were to document and characterize the importance of Manoomin habitat within our community and culture as well as characterize the ecological importance of Manoomin habitat as indicators of a high-quality, high-functioning, and biodiverse ecosystem around the Lake Superior Basin. The Lake Superior Manoomin Cultural and Ecosystem Characterization Study is a result of this partnership. Fond du Lac Band, Grand Portage Band, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Lac du Flambeau Band, Lac Vieux Desert Band, 1854 Treaty Authority, Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Sea Grant College Program, U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, Wisconsin Department of Administration.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Has provided sponsor funds to the Department when the Clean Water Act began funding tribal water quality programs (1990s-). EPA’s Environmental Justice grant program also awarded KBIC funds to complete the Fish Consumption Survey and Report (2016) which was a critical component to EPA approval of KBIC’s application for Treatment as a Sovereign for Water Quality. EPA currently provides ongoing funding and technical support for KBIC’s Water and Air Quality programs such as the development of water quality standards. Finally, EPA’s Great Lakes Tribal Initiative has sponsored additional KBIC priorities such as the Wild Rice Habitat Study (2016-2018) to assess the quality of wild rice habitat in the 1842 Treaty Territory.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS)

U.S. Forest Service (USFS)

GOVERNANCE PARTNERSHIPS (Stewardship, Management & Policy)



Numerous entities are responsible for governance in our region, including tribal and intertribal entities, local municipalities and organizations, grassroots organizations, educational institutions, state and federal governmental departments, and regional and binational entities. KBIC works in partnership with others at various scales in its stewardship across landscapes and water bodies, in the management of environmental and natural resources, and contributes to policy decision-making and implementation. The following list is a growing and strengthening list of our stewardship, management and policy partnerships.

Tribal & Inter-Tribal Entities

Local Municipalities & Organizations

Grassroots Organizations

  • Friends of the Land of Keweenaw (FOLK) (1989) serves the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan and is comprised of volunteer citizens to work with other tribal, regional, state, and national organizations to protect and preserve the ecological integrity of the Lake Superior Watershed.
  • Indigenous Peoples’ Day Campaign in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (IPDC) (2016-) actively supports the recognition of Indigenous Peoples worldwide, including education and dialogue on diversity and solidarity, social justice, and decolonization; and actively supports the recognition of and education about the Ojibwa Peoples’ presence and contributions to Michigan Tech and the larger community in the region.
  • The Western U.P. Food Systems Collaborative (WUPFSC) (2018-) aims to create a supportive, interconnected, and equitable food system across our region through service and stewardship for the wellbeing of our earth, air, and water, and all living beings. In partnership with Michigan Tech, Western UP Development and Planning Region (WUPPDR), Portage Health Foundation, and others, KBIC works to strengthen our communities by identifying and supporting our food systems’ unique resources, local needs, and regional priorities.

Federal and State Governmental Departments

Educational Institutions

  • Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College (KBOCC) partners with KBIC including KBOCC faculty, staff, and students from across degree programs to support Ojibwa natural resources protection, and education and outreach work with each other. The Department benefits from sharing expertise and supporting student capstone projects; and some KBOCC graduates join the Department’s staff to continue careers in environmental sciences and natural resources management.
  • Michigan Technological University partners with KBIC including Michigan Tech faculty, staff, and students from across campus to engage in stewardship work, exchanging expertise, and participating in education and outreach initiatives.  KBIC benefits from established partnerships with the Great Lakes Research Center, University Marketing and Communications, Pavlis Honors College Community Ambassadors and Engineering Senior Design programs, Engineers Without Borders, Make a Difference Day, and many others.
  • Ferris State University partners with KBIC on food sovereignty work such as the annual Manoomin camp at Lac Vieux Desert and KBIC for more than a decade.
  • Grand Valley State University 
  • Michigan State University Natural Features Inventory 
  • Oakland University

Regional and Binational Entities

  • Superior Watershed Partnership and Land Conservancy (SWP) – a 501(c)(3) is an award winning Great Lakes nonprofit organization that has set national records for pollution prevention and implements innovative, science-based programs that achieves documented, measurable results. SWP implements a variety of conservation and public education projects with partners throughout the Watershed.
  • Earth Keepers Covenant – a mobilization of faith-based communities around responsible stewardship practices such as energy conservation, community gardening, and spirituality and environment, in partnership with ten faith traditions, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US Forest Service, and the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community.
  • Cedar Tree Institute– see SPONSOR Partnerships above for description.
  • Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) – First signed in 1972, GLWQA coordinates binational actions of Canada and the United States, and is inclusive of national, tribal, intertribal, state, and local collaborations in restoring Great Lakes waters. Specifically GLWQA actions are “…to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Waters of the Great Lakes.” The Agreement is organized by ten Annexes, and each describe commitments on specific environmental issues that can affect the quality of the waters of the Great Lakes: 1) Areas of Concern, 2) Lakewide Management, 3) Chemicals of Mutual Concern, 4) Nutrients, 5) Discharges from Vessels, 6) Aquatic Invasive Species, 7) Habitats and Species, 8) Groundwater, 9) Climate Change Impacts, and 10) Science. Department staff serve on many of the Annex committees and participate in shared governance with government representatives in the U.S. and Canada.