KESHENA - For the Menominee Indian Tribe, it has been homecoming this week at Keshena Falls.
"It's happening, it's finally happening," said Craig Corn, the Tribal Chairman.
After more than a one hundred year absence, sturgeon were seen spawning at Keshena Falls.
"For years we've just been trying to get the sturgeon here and that news came and man, it was just a beautiful day," said Corn.
"It's a big thing for our people," said Tracey Schipae of Keshena. "It's been a tradition for thousands and thousands of years."
The reason the sturgeon have been gone from Keshena Falls is because they couldn't get there. There are two damns they couldn't swim around; one of them is in Shawano.
"We don't look at them as sturgeon," said Corn. "They are brothers, part of our culture, part of our clan like the eagle, the moose, the bear."
To bring the sturgeon back, tribe members have been working with the DNR and state officials on a gradual release of the fish. The results have shown with this spring's spawn.
"The morale, the community was just uplifted to know after 100 years the sturgeon were spawning again," said Corn.
The sturgeon return has kept Schipae and others at Keshsena Falls for 48 straight hours.
"Us, ourselves, we haven't left because we are just excited to be here," said Schipae. "We are excited to partake in this. It's very thrilling. It's very much an honor to be here right now."
Schipae is helping guard the sturgeon, although, it might not be needed. The community is working together to make sure the sturgeon tradition is brought back to what it once was.
In all, the DNR has released one hundred sturgeon in the Keshena Falls area during the past year.
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