George Perry: Painting the Lac Courte Oreilles history mural

Produced by Nick Vander Puy
Reserve, Wisconsin (

During the early seventeen hundreds Anishinaabe Bear clan hunters, paddling their canoes from Moningwanekaaning-Minis (Madeline Island) pushed into the interior seeking maple sugar, rice, and deer meat. 

They came to hunt the hardwoods south of the present day Lac Courte Oreilles reservation (OdaawaaZaaga'iganing) between Whitefish Lake and Birchwood.                      

The name refers to the Bear clan hunters finding a dead Odaawa Indian between Lac Courte Oreilles and Whitefish Lakes.

When the French exlorers Grosellier and Radisson visited here in the late sixteen hundreds they found several dozen Odaawa Indian lodges

Another reason for the exploration and settlement in this water rich territory was trapping beaver. For more than two centuries European gentlemen desired fine hats made from beaver felt.

And the French wanted to trade it. 

For trapping fur, supplying the international fur trade, the tribes received guns, axes, beads, calico, and whisky.

George Perry is a Lac Courte Oreilles tribal member and artist, who with several others, is discussing, sketching, and eventually painting the settlement of the area and other prominent events. 

It was extremely dangerous territory because the Fox Indians were hunting the same ground and would kill any intruder. 

But a young Ojibwe couple eventually, having lost their first child, built a lodge, and despite fervent pleas to leave, stayed, fortified their lodge, and survived the winter. After their success, others followed to spread out in the territory.

"I'm trying to draw and impart the danger that surrounded us everyday."


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