Date of Award

Summer 8-14-2020

Semester of Degree


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

M.S. in Forest and Natural Resources Management


Forest and Natural Resources Management

Major Professor

Paul Crovella

Steering Committee Member

Robin W. Kimmerer

Steering Committee Member

Neil Patterson


The inadequacy of contemporary Indigenous housing has been recognized worldwide from historical problems related to colonization, dispossession, and resettlement. Indigenous housing on reservations is often substandard which meets the minimum regulations for low-income housing, with little regard to the health or cultural values of the people that live there. This study focuses on reincorporating traditional values into tribal housing with the use of wiigwaas, the Anishinaabe Ojibwe word for Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera) and a cultural keystone species of the Anishinaabe. The traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) surrounding wiigwaas is utilized to compare it to sustainable roofing materials. The researcher used methodologies which combined autoethnography, Indigenous Research Methodology, and quantitative data collection to analyze the potential of wiigwaas for covering structures. This study concluded that the durability of wiigwaas in terms of flexibility, strength, and energy allow this to be a valid sustainable roofing material for future use on Anishinaabe lands.