• TRIBAL MUSEUMS • The passing along of Ojibwe history and stories is deeply rooted in oral tradition. But this is not the only way that culture has been imparted over generations. Consider, for instance, the wiigwaasabak—birch bark scrolls—whichhavecarriedcomplexOjibweideas,shapes,songs,maps,andother important information over hundreds of years. These pictorial representations are part of a strong visual culture that also belongs to the Ojibwe. Many history books and museums have pigeonholed NativeAmerican people and culture as a historical reference point—someones and somethings that existed somewhere other than today. In this narrative, we all become artifacts. But today, many tribes are reasserting their sovereign right to tell their own stories, in their own ways, in visual arts spaces that invite others to see just how alive this culture really is. Join us as we visit some of the Ceded Territory’s most vibrant and engag- ing museums and cultural centers. George W. Brown, Jr. Ojibwe Museum & Cultural Center 603 Peace Pipe Rd., Lac du Flambeau, WI http://ldfmuseum.com In the heart of Lac du Flambeau, in a 9,000-square foot “round house” lives the George W. Brown, Jr. Ojibwe Museum and Cultural Center. Built in 1988 as a joint venture between the Lac du Flambeau Historical and Cultural Society and the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, the center showcases the circle of life of the Ojibwe, with a four seasons exhibit occupying the main stage of the building. The museum also features areas that teach about Lac du Flambeau (LdF)originsandhistory,includingphotographsandinformationonthefurtrading and lumber eras. A visit to the museum is not complete without a viewing of the world record sturgeon that’s on display, as well as a 24-foot dugout canoe. And don’t forget to stop in the gift shop, which offers many local, tribally produced arts and crafts. Museum Director Teresa Mitchell says the museum’s collection has grown about three-fold since the opening in 1989. Prior to its current incarnation, the museumwashousedintheLacduFlambeaulibraryandwentbyadifferentname— the Lac du Flambeau Museum and Cultural Center. It outgrew that facility, which had limited space for exhibits and didn’t allow for proper storage or display of artifacts. To fund the $500,000 building the museum now occupies, stakeholders secureda$250,000communitydevelopmentblockgrantfromtheU.S.Department of Housing and Urban Development, with a 1:1 match met through funds raised by the LdF Tribe, LdF Historical and Cultural Society, and community projects, according to a December 4, 1987 article in The Lakeland Times. In 1995, the center was renamed to honor a community elder who was a life-long proponent of cultural preservation, George W. Brown, Jr. Today, the museum operates as a non-profit, fully supported by the Lac du Flambeau Tribe. Mitchell says that grants are applied for often to help maintain the collection and the building. A separate building—the boys dormitory from the old boarding school at LdF—is worth a stop as well. Recently restored, it houses additional exhibits, as well as the LdF Historic Preservation Office, language department, and cultural activities. Fond du Lac Cultural Center & Museum 1720 Big Lake Road Cloquet, MN www.fdlrez.com/museum The Fond du Lac community recognized years ago that a museum was a necessary component in telling their story. In 2000, the tribe received a grant that assisted in the funding of a cultural center and museum to house artifacts and to share their story and perspectives with visitors. Jeff Savage, Museum Director, has held the position since the creation of the building. The museum hosts many cultural events throughout the year including arts classes, beading, and moccasin making. Fond du Lac Natural Resources Manager and GLIFWC Voigt Task Force Rep Tom Howes relayed: “The museum does so many positive things for our community, including a language focused wiigwaasi- jiimaan program which taught multiple tribal members how to make birch bark canoes while incorporating Ojibwemowin into every aspect.” Mille Lacs Indian Museum & Trading Post 43411 Oodena Dr., Onamia, MN http://sites.mnhs.org/historic-sites/mille-lacs-indian- museum Down Hwy 169, around Mille Lacs Lake, a hidden gem awaits at the Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post. Open in its current location since 1996, it is one of 26 sites in the state that are managed by the Minnesota Historical Society. Telling Our Stories Tribes exhibit living culture at museums throughout Ceded Territory By Dylan Jennings & Paula Maday, Staff Writers The Four Seasons room at the Mille Lacs Indian Museum features a circular diorama depicting fall, winter, spring, and summer life of the Ojibwe. All of the mannequins used in the exhibit are cast after real Mille Lacs Band members. (P. Maday photo) The Mikwendaagoziwag “They Will Be Remembered” Heritage Center underwent a 20-year restoration and now houses the Legacy of Survival exhibit and gallery. The facility—formerly a Bureau of Indian Affairs government boarding school boys dormitory—is located at 838 White Feather St. in Lac du Flambeau. (D. Jennings photo) Mille Lacs Indian Museum has both historical and contemporary exhibits. The powwow exhibit incorporates powwow culture right into the exhibit design, using an Indian Fry Bread truck as a display case. (P. Maday photo) (See Telling our stories, page 15) MAZINA’IGAN PAGE 8 SPRING 2018