Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Ojibweg

Recently on a jaunt to the cabin Up Nort (you're only two degrees of separation [at most] from a cabin if you know somebody from Wisconsin), we had the opportunity to visit a pow wow hosted by the Waaswaaganing, otherwise known as the Lac du Flambeau Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa.  The town of Lac du Flambeau (named Waaswaagani-zaaga'igan in Anishinaabemowin language) is the heart of the Reservation established in 1854 and is still 87% Native American.  The name Lac du Flambeau (French for "Lake of the Torches") was given to the area when French fur trappers saw Ojibwe fishing on the lake at night guided by torches on their canoes.

The pow wow drew Ojibwe from all over the Upper Midwest and was an impressive sight.  The dazzling colors of the clothes; the driving, pulsing rhythm of the drums; and the hypnotic melodies of the songs were spellbinding.  The pow wow grounds were along the lake itself and took place as a sunset painted the sky with vibrant blues, purples, pinks, and oranges.  There were also vendors cooking traditional meals and selling crafts made by Ojibwe artisans.

If you ever find yourself in the summertime Mecca of the Minocqua area, be sure to visit Lac du Flambeau and experience the pow wow for yourself.  Wisconsin's first people are a rich and vibrant part of the cultural fabric of our state.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, the memories reading this post brought me back! I've gone to several pow wows, but they were all (inexplicably?) in giant warehouse/state fair barn-type places. The nature setting seems even more conducive to a transcendental experience.

    I also got the chance to see a similar performance by the Da Lat ethnic group in the Central Highlands region of Viet Nam (Da Lat province, naturally). It was startling to be able to compare and contrast with the first people of Wisconsin.

    Great post. Loved it.

    *Two degrees of separation... at MOST! SO TRUE.


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