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Weaving Our History

Voices of Wisdom and Memory

The history of a people, specifically the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, should be told by the people.  Many voices should be included.

Purpose:  Weaving Our History: Voices of Wisdom and Memory Oral History Project is an effort to gather first person oral history narratives to develop and document resources for the purposes of:

    • protecting, preserving, and encouraging  history, culture, tradition, and heritage
    • developing resource papers for teaching in college courses across the curriculum, most importantly History of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and History of Michigan Tribes
    • developing  teaching materials  for K-12 education
    • supporting  academic research by qualified scholars for educational purposes
    • passing these living memories and wisdom on to future generations

Support:  The project proposal received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities through a highly competitive selection process. Also, Weaving Our History: Voices of Wisdom and Memory was awarded the prestigious designation of a We the People project, given to projects which explore significant events and themes in our nation’s history to help Americans appreciate their heritage and understand their rights.

Participants:  Both tribal and non-tribal community members have knowledge and experience in the history of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and therefore, interview participation has been encouraged by all.  Interviews are intended to gather information in living memory about KBIC history from the late twentieth, early twenty-first centuries, with a thematic focus on “Weaving Our History”.   This includes the creation of multiple Tribal institutions; landscape changes; Tribal Committees; and the preservation and revitalization of KBIC culture, language, and tradition

Please take a look at the following list of topics and themes that Weaving Our History is interested in learning more about (this is only a partial list).  What do you know about the following?  What memories of KBIC history would you like to make part of our history?

Institutions: The growth and development of government, departments, & services

  • Tribal Council; Tribal Court; Health and Human Services; Tribal Police and Conservation; Social Services; Ojibwa Community College; Even Start; Natural Resources Dept. & Hatchery; Kid’s fishing derby (and memorial); Lake Superior Day; Sand Point restoration project; Casino; New Day; BearTown Firefighters; Youth Conservation Corps.; Tribal Center (Assinins, Baraga); Senior’s Center; Seniors Organization
  • Legal & Political Issues: Sovereignty; Treaty rights; Acts of Congress (land/property/reservation policies; assimilation policies); Self-determination; Mining & Eagle Rock; and more

Businesses:  The growth and development of Tribal businesses

  • Casino (Baraga, Marquette); Print shop; Commercial fishing

Committees:  The growth and development of Tribal Committees

  • Culture Committee, Natural Resources Committee, Parks and Recreation Committee, and more

Landscape:  Structural changes, physical landscape changes, land & water use changes

  • Assinins, Baraga, L’Anse, Zeba, Ojibwa Recreation Area, and more

Tradition:  The preservation & revitalization of a culture, landscape, & environment

  • American Indian Movement (AIM); The Language Nest; Plants, wildlife, fish harvesting; Rice Camp; Sugar Camps; Fishermen’s Spring Ceremony; Women’s water walk; Blessing the four corners; PowWows (Baraga, Michigan Tech); Tribal Mining Forum 2012; Artists and artwork; Storytelling; and more

Weaving Our History Archive: The narratives collected during the project and donated by the narrators will be archived in the Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College Library.  They will be available during regular library hours.

In addition to narratives, the archive will include documents collected for the project and sample teaching materials for grades K-12 based on material in the narratives.  The teaching materials include:

Grades K-6

Health and Math lesson components for featuring Virginia Jermac and Amy St. Arnold

Grade 7 through Adult

1) Perspectives on the Oral History of KBIC featuring Jay Loonsfoot

2) Perspectives on Health and Healing featuring Kathy Mayo

3) Perspectives on Environmental Justice featuring Jessica Koski

4) Perspectives on Natural Resources: Taking a Stand Protecting the Earth featuring Charlotte Loonsfoot

5) Awaiting final approval

6) Perspectives on Casinos, Gaming, and KBIC Takeover featuring Fred Dakota

7) Perspectives on Water Resources featuring Micah Petoskey

8) Perspectives on Native American Education, KBIC Head Start, Ojibwe Language and Culture featuring Terri Denomie

9) Perspectives on Practicing Traditions: Dancing, Language, Ricing, and Crafts featuring Lori Ann Sherman

10) Perspectives on Landscape Changes Over Time featuring Curtis Menard: Changes Observed Over a Long Life

Project Contacts:  If you have any questions or are interested in being a part of history through the Weaving Our History: Voices of Wisdom and Memory Oral History Project, please contact Lynn Aho, Dean of Instruction

This Oral History Project is not intended to put any participant or the Community at risk; it does not anticipate or aim to create any physical, social, or psychological harm or discomfort; nor does it intend to retrieve sensitive information.  Participation is voluntary and participants are free to withdraw from the Project at any time. 

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