Madeline Island Anishinaabeg Gathering slated For Sept. 25-26, 2009

LaPointe, Wisconsin (ICC) 9-09

A Madeline Island Anishinaabeg Gathering is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, September 25 and 26, 2009 at LaPointe, WI.  The gathering will focus on sharing and reflecting on the Island's importance to the Anishinaabeg.

Through an exchange of stories and historical information and visioning for the future, participants will consider ways to maintain cultural continuity through the next seven generations.  Key presenters include:  Winona LaDuke, Joe Rose Sr., Tobasonakwut, Dr. Rick St. Germaine, Robert VanZile, and Henry Buffalo Jr.

The sharing sessions on Friday will begin with a morning ceremony at Ojibwe Memorial Park by Leo LaFernier, outdoor presentations under the tent by tribal elders, historians and leaders, a lunch provided by the LaPointe Community, and end the day with a traditional feast and celebration dance in the evening with M.C. "Amik" Larry Smallwood. The National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Minnesota is bringing a live rehabilitated eagle to participate in the Gathering.

The Madeline Island Museum will have an open house with special programs including book signings by Dr. Thomas Vennum  and the showing of the film, "Mikwendaagoziwag - They Are Remembered,” about the Sandy Lake Tragedy. The weekend events are free and open to the public, though groups of six or more must make a reservation by contacting the information number below.  Anishinaabeg people will receive reduced passenger ferry tickets for the event, and camping is available on the Island.



Moningwanekaaning Minis (Madeline Island), one of the 22 Apostle Islands in Lake Superior near Bayfield, Wisconsin, has been the sacred center of the Anishinaabeg people for centuries.  Moningwanekaaning Minis, place of the golden-shafted flicker, is mentioned as the prophesied seventh stopping place of the long Ojibwe migration from the East in Eddie Benton Banai’s, The Mishomis Book.  

Because the Island was a major Anishinaabeg settlement, the American Government signed the 1842 and the 1854 Treaties with the Chippewa there and held annunity payments at LaPointe each summer.  Bezhike, (also known as Chief Buffalo) headman of the LaPointe Band, successfully traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with President Millard Fillmore to object to the 1850 Removal Order and the Sandy Lake Tragedy. Bezhike is buried on the Island along with

Chief Oshaga and other historic Ojibwe leaders.

Today, mostly summer residents and a few hardy year-round folks inhabit the Island.  The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa still retains title to a small amount of land (55 acres) on Amnicon Point at the far northeastern tip of the 14-mile long island.  Though tribal members mostly left the Island after the 1854 Treaty and settled on the newly established Bad River Reservation and the Red Cliff Reservation, many Anishinaabeg people return to the Island on an annual basis.  Many come on the important dates of Memorial Day and on Sept. 30, which is the anniversary of the signing of the 1854 Treaty.  These are the main dates of ceremonies at the Chippewa Memorial Park and individual visits in honor of the ancestors who walked this land.

Organizing the Gathering is a committee of Anishinaabeg community members, representatives from the Bad River and Red Cliff Bands of Ojibwe, town of LaPointe businesses, entities, and organizations like the Madeline Island Museum, MI Chamber of Commerce, St. John’s United Church of Christ, and others.  Grants have been received from the Forest County Potawatomi, the Apostle Islands Community Fund and the Wisconsin Humanities Council.  Numerous donations have been received from the Town of LaPointe, Madeline Island Museum, and many Island businesses.

The Madeline Island Anishinaabeg Gathering event will be the first time that Anishinaabeg and community members will come together to examine the significance of this sacred place in their history, present day lives, and for the future.  It is an opportunity to expand community friendships, partnerships, and connections across cultures to create a joint vision for a strong healthy future of this Island and her people. The intention is to organize an annual two-day event that welcomes Anishinaabeg people again to the Island to honor and renew their connection to this place.

For more information contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 715-747-2415.

Press: Contact Lorraine Norrgard at 218-879-2288