Our final camp in our study of manoomin was a transitional time. Most of the original students and mentors had moved on allowing new students to join gidakiimanaaniwigamig teachers and staff. Throughout the week students participated in hands on learning, group work skills, individual skills and writing. We travelled to UMD where we took a guided nature walk through the Bagley nature Center as well as climbed the large indoor rock wall.
The highlight of the week was when we travelled to GLIFWC/Odanah and then the Madeline Island. We were reminded of our connection to and the importance of Madeline Island.
“According to the teachings of the Anishinaabe people it was the sacred Megis Shell that first guided the people to the rich regions of the Great Lakes. The Megis Shell was last seen near Madeline Island, which was one of the settling points for the tribal people migrating from the eastern shores of the continent.
The Anishinaabe were semi-nomadic people living in small bands. They followed seasonal paths to traditional hunting, fishing, and gathering grounds where they harvested deer, game, fish, maple sugar, berries, and wild rice. Lake Superior, or Gitchi (big) Gummi (water), and the surrounding land were bountiful sources of food. Lake Superior’s waters yielded lake trout, whitefish and sturgeon. It is no wonder that several bands established villages on the shores of the lake in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Canada. Gitchi Gummi was a bountiful source of food. (GLIFWC also supports a local fishery, visited previously by gida students. This fishery not only sells fish commercially but the waste product as organic plant food.)
As Europeans pushed into the Great Lakes region, the Anishinaabe people used fish to trade with French and
English outposts. Fish soon became one of the mainstays in the diets of the early fur traders. In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s Lake Superior’s fishery faced a growing number of non-Indian commercial fishermen who used new technology to efficiently take fish from Lake Superior in large numbers.” (http://www.glifwc.org/publications/pdf/LakeSuperiorIndianFishery.pdf)
Students were reminded of their history and encouraged to journal not only their new knowledge but discuss their concerns and ideas related to topics presented such as sulfide mining, the Sandy Lake Tragedy, treaty rights and education.
They worked in multi-age small groups on building (and flying!) rockets. They designed Ojibwe symmetrical glyphs for the journal covers and wrote in their journals through out the week. teachers/college mentors read each students journals and wrote back.
Considerable time was spent studying the water quality found in the St. Louis River at Jay Cooke State Park. “RiverWatch” water study activities taught students how to accurately collect water samples, look for bugs and identify them – specific bugs signify the health of the water. Students drew the bugs to better understand them.
A geology study of the rocks found along the St. Louis also provided students with a better understanding of our land. Keys were used to determine the rocks found. Students again were able to work individually as well as in small groups.
We visited Duluth’s Barnes & Nobles where students each chose a book to be purchased for them to read during our many “road trips” and before “lightsout”/bedtime.
The culmination of the week were groups presentations on the weeks activities given to family. Each student prepared statements based on their writing and participation. The program was excellent!
We had a wonderful time getting to know each other better as well as make new friends from across the area. We look forward to seeing each other again in September!