Menominee Reservation, Wisconsin — Guy Reiter was an archaeologist before he was an activist. But the two merged after a dream six years ago.
“I was in a van and when we drove by the White Rapids I looked over and saw an elder sitting on a dam, in full Indian regalia,” Reiter says. “He flagged me down, I climbed the dam, and he started talking to me in Menominee.”
Menominee is the language of Reiter’s tribe, the Menominee Indians of Wisconsin. The dam is on the Menominee River, where the history of the tribe begins.
Guy Reiter in May. (Photo: Environmental Health News)Guy Reiter in May. (Photo: Environmental Health News)”We were climbing down, and as soon as my feet hit the ground, I woke up, with tears in my eyes,” he says.
Reiter won’t say what the elder said that brought such tears. The dream was a gift, not to be shared. “Anytime I get to experience ancestors is a real profound time,” he says.
But four months later, on an archeological trip in 2010 with other researchers from the College of Menominee Nation, Reiter saw the dam: It was indeed on the White Rapids, a former settlement site for the Menominee people.