Gathering Stories of Bang Lake

By , November 25, 2012

 

1916 Bang Lake

Through the core a record of our history can be observed. Our study began on Friday night as Tom Howes, FDL Natural Resources introduced Bang Lake.  He shared data collected by Fond du Lac elders about the wild rice harvest back many years. We also looked at maps of the Fond du lac Reservation beginning in 1916 that demonstrated significate changes in the landscape.

Students began their own observations Saturday afternoon by cutting open the core collected that morning and making thier own observations. The two cores were noticeably different – one more dense than the other. Lowana Greensky led students through a discussion on the dating of core beginning in 1500/bottom of our core to 2012/present-top of our core.  Significant dates in history were identified along the length of the core – 1492 Columbus reaches North America;  1787 -1803 Northwest Territory; 1803 Louisiana Purchase; 1837 Michigan became a state; 1836, 1837,  1842, and 1854 Treaties between the United States and the Ojibwe bands in which  they ceded lands in northern Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota but retained the  right to hunt, fish and gather on he lands they sold; 1848 Wisconsin becomes a state; 1858 Minnesota becomes a state;  1861–65 Civil War; and  1924 The Indian Citizenship Act.

Later that afternoon Louis Wise talked about growing up near Bang Lake on Perch Lake. Educated as a biologist Mr. Wise has worked with the DNR and FDL Natural Resources. He explained the role beavers and muskrats played in the wild rice. He told stories about his Grandma controlling the water level by opening and closing the damn. He told stories about sitting on his Dad’s shoulders and seeing nearly 400 muskrat houses on Perch Lake.

He descibed how wild rice needs abrupt oxygen, temperature and nutritional changes to grow. The water levels had to be brought down in January creating an open space below the ice/above the water. Come April the ice break up and drop down, creating waves (open water), allowing oxygen into the water earlier than other lakes. Also, because the water level was tended to be lower the sun would then  could reach the bottom, warming the seeds creating a temperature change. The seeds could then germinate.

Many discussion and review of all we had heard was had between student and staff alike. We hope to continue the discussion during each gathering to better understand our history with wild rice.

Coring Bang Lake

By , November 25, 2012

This years study of manoomin will be based in the core and samples collected during November’s camp. Students observed LacCore/Natural Resources scientists as they collected two cores and  live diatoms (water) from the edge of Bang Lake.

It was an unusually warm Fall day. The sky was a mixture of overcast and sunshine. Even though the lake had frozen over, the thin ice kept students close to shore as they completed their work of gathering and bagging seeds and vegetation samples. By completing a number of prepared questions students were directed in their observation,  research and ID of trees and plants (macrofossils).  Students collected information in a variety of ways – for example, written description a species of trees, bush and grasses were identified by their GPS location, seeds collected and bagged, plant samples collected and bagged, sun-prints, drawings, and digital photographs.

 

 

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