Student Spotlight: Thomas Kenote
Tom is from the Omaeqnomenewok (Menominee Nation), and the Lac Courte Oreilles band of Anishinaabe in Wisconsin. Growing up on the Menominee reservation, he spent almost every weekend in the woods, whether that was gathering firewood, saplings, traditional medicines, ricing, or fishing. These experiences, and his upbringing that blended traditional ecological knowledge and western science, have informed his passion for his work in indigenous forestry. As an undergraduate in environmental studies at University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, he was involved with various committees and student organizations including many environmental groups.
Tom is working toward a Master of Science in the Natural Resources Science and Management program, studying traditional ecological knowledge and looking at water in forested ecosystems in the Menominee Nation in northeastern Wisconsin. His advisors are Mike Dockry, of the Forest Service’s Northern Research Station and Forest Resources’ Associate Professor Rebecca Montgomery. His goal is to earn a Ph.D. and give back to tribal communities, continuing the path of Indigenous scholars teaching Indigenous students in higher education. “It is of the utmost importance that Indigenous students learn from Indigenous scholars when talking about tribal and Indigenous communities,” he says. He has the opportunity to learn from and conduct research in the NRSM program under Mike Dockry, a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.
Tom enjoys sports, spending time with friends and family, learning and teaching Menominee language and anything outdoors. He plays Pahakatwan, the Creator’s game, or what is commonly referred to as traditional wooden stick lacrosse. His advice for prospective graduate students is to be prepared for anything, maintain your support network back home, and build community here at school.