Historic Tribal Economies

Food, Fuel and Our Future Economies?

Did you know that in 1865, the Mackinaw Indian Agency reported that Chippewa Indians at the Keeweenaw Bay Indian Reservation, Lanse, Michigan produced 453,252 pounds of Maple Sugar that was sold to east coast businessmen?

Within 20 years, the maple sugaring business was in decline both because of heavy lumbering of sugar maple groves and the acquisition of Caribbean territories, Hawaii and other sugar cane growing colonies. Cane sugar, (which has less then half the healthy nutrients and ingredients as maple), and plantations in those territories reduced the cost of sugar by 50% or more, and along with it, the demand for maple sugar for food preservation, brewing rum and making other sweet things.

In 2014 prices at $55 a gallon (in 2015 a gallon of Penokee Gold Maple Syrup was being sold for $75 to $100 a gallon) the value of the syrup sold would have been around an estimated $1,705.000. In 2014 prices for a pound of sugar at $18 a pound, the value of the sale could have been close to $4,460,000. On some Wisconsin reservations a pound of maple sugar has been selling between $22-$25 a pound in 2015.

If the sugar had been made into small candies and other Value Added Products which double or triple the value of your basic product the potential income at retail values in your store, could have produced as much as $5,115,000 in sales.

Sugar_Bush_1920sMilleLacs

Historic photo is of Ms. Mink of the Mille Lacs Ojibwe Reservation during the 1920s. Look closely at the tap which is not a carved round sumac tap, but appears to be more of a flat inserted wafer board or metal.
Advertisements
This entry was posted in In the Media and tagged by Skabewis. Bookmark the permalink.

About Skabewis

News Editor for News From Indian Country and IndianCountryTV.com - lives on the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Reservation in northern Wisconsin. Member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and of Ojibwe descent (Clan Morrison) and smidgen of Mohawk and Delaware. Involved in educational media work, training with some additional special project tasks with the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAG) and food sovereignty initiatives.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s