Summer 2014

By , July 13, 2014

IMG_6432Our 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.” (

IMG_6472IMG_6549Students 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.

IMG_6611IMG_6616The 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!

April Camp

By , April 12, 2014

IMG_2995Our last camp for the school year was a one day camp. The morning Krista got us ready to study by playing “Spill the Basket”. The game requires us listening to each other as well as working together! Then we studied climate vs. weather changes with Rachel, Leslie, Wayne and AJ. After defining the differences and similarities they better understood the concept. We even went outside and talked about the different biomes.

The afternoon began with a round of Ojeopardy with Gabby and Ge-Wadum. We are learning our Ojibwe!! The balance of the day was spent designing and creating the best engineered container to hold a raw egg with Cameron and TJ – the egg drop experiment! Congratulations to Evan and Rico!!

Egg Drop Video

Summer Programs at UMD

By , April 12, 2014



By , April 8, 2014

Ge-Waden will be at camp to play another round of Ojeopardy!! Check out links below and get ready to play! See you at camp!

Vocabulary words



Ojibwe Language

By , January 19, 2014

Ojibwe Language

Marcus Ammesmaki taught students how to introduce themselves in Ojibwe. He included a greeting

“aaniin” or  “boozhoo” (Hello)

or “manidoo mahiingan in-dizh-in-ikaan-digoo.”+  (Marcus’s name is spirit wolf)

boozhoo- reference to nanaboosh (traditional character in all ojibwe stories)


“makwa nin doondem” (I am bear clan)*

“mikinakak nin doondem” (I am turtle clan)*

“migizi nin doondem”  (I am eagle clan)*

“ma’ iingan nin doondem”* (I am wolf clan)*

“waa-bizh-eshi nin doondem”* (I am martin clan)*

If a person does not know their clan they must say

“gaawiin mashi ingi-keni-maasiin indoodem.”+ ( I don’t yet know my clan.)

“niin (your name) (n)indizhinikaaz”* (My name is (your name before or after the whole phrase)).

“indigoo”# (your name or nick name)

(I am called this (your name) – this is what I go by)

He also introduced himself by his clan, which happened to be wolf.

“manidoo mahiingan in-dizh-in-ikaan-digoo.”+  (My name is spirit wolf)


If a person does not know their clan they must say

“gaawiin mashi ingikenimaasiin indoodem.”+ ( I don’t yet know my clan.)


In the Ojibwe Waasa-Inaabidaa dictionary it also says

“boozhoo” or “aaniin” (Hello)

When you introduce yourself you would say

“niin (your name) (n)indizhinikaaz”* (My name is (your name before or after the whole phrase)).


“indigoo”# (your name or nick name)

(I am called this (your name) – this is what I go by)


*Fond du Lac

+Grand Portage/Michigan

#Mille Lacs

Starting to Tell the Story with Comic Book!

By , November 24, 2013
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Mining Activity – November 2013

By , November 23, 2013

IMG_0686Non-renewable resources are limited. When it’s gone it’s gone. To better understand what a non-renewable resource is students “mined” a chocolate-chip cookie.

On an bird’s eye view picture of a landscape filled with trees, lakes, animals and plants (a mining area grid) students traced their cookie. With a toothpick  students “mined” the chocolate chips from the cookie. Students also outlined the area of the “crumbs”.

The goal was to extract the chips, not keep the cookie en tact. The strategies included: jamming the tooth pick into the cookie, crushing the cookies, chip broke, the tooth pick broke. Extracted chip totaled over 25/cookie.

Re claim the land using only the toothpick. Move chocolate chips and “cookie” back into the original circle of the cookie prior to “mining”. Do we think mining companies struggle with the same problem?

Discussion concerning the practices of mining and the financial gain to be made by the mining company vs. the affect on the landscape, water quality, plants and animals.

IMG_0682IMG_0673Reflection writing:

What was my original goal when I started mining the cookie? What difficulties did I have while mining my cookie?

If I were to mine another cookie what would my new goal be and why?

How is your experience similar or different than the goals and difficulties of reclaiming operations?

Give an example of a time you had to make a choice. What did you choose to do and what was the opportunity cost of that choice?



Wild Rice Camp

By , September 16, 2013
manoomin camp Sept 2013

manoomin camp Sept 2013

Photos from camp

Students gathered wild rice in groups at local state lake most of Saturday and Sunday. Local elders shared “how to” tips and enjoyed gathering rice with manoomin students. A wild rice camp was set up at Perch Lake. Jim Northrum Jr. shared his stories and technical information of how Ojibwe people have gathered and prepared wild rice gained from his relatives talking with him as a young one and his experiences as an adult.

April manoomin Studies Water and Presents Posters

By , April 21, 2013
Students and teacher, Mentors and Scientists Meet at April manoomin Camp

Students and teacher, Mentors and Scientists Meet at April manoomin Camp

The study of water is important for all of us. 13 Moons and the manoomin project joined together today to learn more about water quality issues as well as present manoomin and science fair student posters.


The day began with a water blessing  and song. Speakers included Nancy Schuldt from FDLRM. She spoke about the water quality issues and projects happening on the reservation. She will be heading out to Washington DC to discuss further the FDL impact studies on water quality as it pertains to the mining in northern MN as well as the health of the St. Louis River Watershed. She commended the students on their work and includes the information gathered in her presentations.

We also heard from tribal group from Louisiana that will talk about the water quality issues they are experiencing in the Gulf in particular since the Katrina and the bp oil spill. They also talked about the loss of land as it pertains to global warming and the sea water rise. Considerable study is on going.

manoomin and 2013 science fair students presented their posters to the public. Community members asked questions of the students. It is a good way to demonstrate what we have learned this past year as well as consider what we need to study in the future. Raffles were held all afternoon to encourage students and the public to talk. Students gave anyone who asked them a question a raffle ticket.

IMG_3136IMG_3128IMG_3120Engineering college mentors, Wayne and AJ, designed an engineering challenge. Our goal was to construct a tower made of raw spaghetti noodles and marshmallows.  The design of the tower was to provide the  tallest, strongest and best designed -best looking tower.  Everyone participated and did well! It was a great day for all.




Macrofossil Poster

By , March 14, 2013
Macrofossils of Bang Lake in Carlton County

Macrofossils of Bang Lake in Carlton County

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