On March 15th, 2014, Indigenous Science Day participants took part in the 2nd annual Sōpomāhtek (Menominee for maple tree) Activities at the American Indian Center of Chicago. There are a total of three Maples tapped around the American Indian Center of Chicago. Last year one Sōpomāhtek produced approximately 10 gallons of sap. Once the sap was cooked down there was only a few ounces of sōpomātek-sōpomah (maple sugar, Menominee). This year, we will hope for more sōpomātek-sōpomah and we will work hard to get it. Last year’s winter produced approximately 30 inches of snow and this year’s winter has produced almost 70 inches of snow and we will see how this effects our sōpomātek-sōpomah. Stay tuned for more details and future sōpomah Activities!
“This is how it will be from now on,” Manabozho said. “No longer will syrup drip from the maple trees. Now there will only be this watery sap. When people want to make maple syrup they will have to gather many buckets full of the sap in a birch bark basket like mine. They will have to gather wood and make fires so they can heat stones to drop into the baskets. They will have to boil the water with the heated stones for a long time to make even a little maple syrup. Then my people will no longer grow fat and lazy. Then they will appreciate this maple syrup the Creator made available to them. Not only that, this sap will drip only from the trees at a certain time of the year, when the nights are cold and the days are warm. Then it will not keep people from hunting and fishing and gathering and hoeing in the fields. This is how it is going to be,” Manabozho said.
And, that is how it is to this day.