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Friday, May 11, 2012

Dems hold Presidential Caucus, Labor Rally, support for Scott Dianda

By Michele Bourdieu

At the May 5, 2012, Presidential Caucus in Houghton, Scott Dianda tells Democrats why he is running for the Michigan 110th District Representative seat next November -- education, jobs and local control of government. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

HOUGHTON -- Saturday, May 5, was a special day for Houghton County Democrats, who held a Presidential Caucus in the morning followed by a Labor Rally in support of collective bargaining, unions, workers' rights and Scott Dianda of Calumet -- 110th District Democratic candidate for the Michigan House of Representatives.

Residents register before voting in the Houghton County May 5 presidential caucus, held in the Super 8 Motel in Houghton. Pictured, clockwise from left, are volunteers Joan Antila and Barbara Manninen and (registering) June Michaelson and Elise Matz.

"Let's get President Obama elected, let's take back Congress and let's take back the State of Michigan," Dianda said to voters at the caucus.

Dianda will run next November against his 2010 opponent for this seat, Rep. Matt Huuki (R) of Atlantic Mine.

Houghton County Democratic Party Vice-Chair Brian Rendel (standing, right) welcomes voters to the caucus and invites them to join the Houghton County Dems at their Spring Fling annual awards dinner and fundraiser to be held this Saturday, May 12, at the Bluffs in Houghton.*

Preceding the caucus vote, Houghton County Democratic Party member Rick Kasprzak, right, reads some messages from Democratic candidates in Michigan, including Gary McDowell of Rudyard, who is running for the First District U.S. Congressional seat now held by Republican Dan Benishek. In his message, McDowell said, "I'm running for Congress because no one else is looking out for the people of the UP."

At the May 5, 2012, Democratic Presidential Caucus, voters hold up cards for a show-of-hands vote for President Barack Obama as the Democratic Nominee for President in 2012. The vote of more than 40 persons was unanimous.

Janet Gregorich, Houghton County Democratic Party vice-chair, was happy with the turnout at the caucus.

"I think the turnout was great since there was really no opposition for our presidential candidate," Gregorich said. "We're all for Obama and we're united and we'll work to get all of our Democrats elected."

Ann Pace of Hancock added, "As always, engagement in the political process is energizing."

That energy was evident in the crowd that gathered near the Portage Lift Bridge for a Labor Rally to celebrate workers' rights and cheer for Dianda as he kicked off his campaign.

Terry LaJeunesse, retired teacher and Michigan Education Association (MEA) representative and a member of the Western Upper Peninsula Community Action Team that led the rally, spoke about a petition drive to place on the November ballot a proposal for a Michigan constitutional amendment that guarantees all workers the right to collective bargaining.

Terry LaJeunesse, retired teacher and MEA representative, speaks at the Labor Rally near the Portage Lift Bridge on May 5, 2012. (Video clips by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)

Scott Dianda addresses the crowd at the Labor Rally and asks for their support of his candidacy for Michigan's 110th State Representative seat.

Rally participants, many carrying signs, march across the Lift Bridge to Hancock.

More photos ...


Return to Houghton ...

At Veterans' Park ...

After the Rally, the Houghton County Democratic Party sponsored a taco social at the Super 8.

* The Houghton County Democrats' Spring Fling silent auction begins at 5:30 p.m., dinner at 6:30 p.m. and program at 7 p.m. this Saturday, May 12. Click here for tickets.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Copper Country Associated Artists to offer Flower Building Workshop for kids May 12

CALUMET -- Copper Country Associated Artists (CCAA) will be offering a class for children from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 12, the day before Mothers' Day, at the CCAA Studio, 205 Fifth St. in Calumet.

CCAA Artists will lead about five different flower-building stations, each presenting a unique design. Children ages 6-11 will be able to learn these techniques and leave with a bouquet suitable for gift giving. This is a "drop in and create" class, where the project takes about a half hour and children can stop by any time during the morning until about 11:30 a.m. if they want to complete the project.

The class will be free and open to the public. Donations will be accepted.

Stop by the Main Street Calumet Building for Artisan Bread while you're there!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Artists Sarah Kirchner, Bethany Jones to exhibit "Shade," opening May 12 in Rozsa Gallery

HOUGHTON -- The public is invited to join the Rozsa Center at a reception with painters Sarah Kirchner and Bethany Jones, as they open an exhibition of their work titled "Shade," from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 12, in the Rozsa Gallery.

"Self Portrait," by Sarah Kirchner. (Photo courtesy Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts)

Both painters work in a very "painterly" style, using acrylics and sometimes oils and even encaustics, to sketch neo-impressionist portraits, landscapes, still-lifes, and animals.

Themes important to both artists currently are their recent re-locations to this region (Kirchner from Brooklyn, New York, and Jones from Madison, Wisconsin); their roles as mothers of toddler boys; and their work to balance life as working women, new mothers and artists.

"Lake Ripley, blue sky/lake," by Bethany Jones. Lake Ripley is in Cambridge, Wisconsin. (Photo courtesy Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts)

Sarah Kirchner is a painter and theater set designer with a passion for both. She is from Boston, Mass., and moved to the Houghton area with her partner, Gary, and two-year-old son, Jonah, in March 2011. Sarah received her BA in Drama from Tufts University and her MFA in Scenic Design from Tisch school of the Arts.

Bethany Jones is a painter and marketing professional originally from Detroit, Mich., who studied in France and in New York and earned her BFA from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. She also worked on her MFA at the Graduate School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Bethany moved to Houghton in January 2011 with her partner, Jeff, and two-year-old son, Jack. 

Please visit the Rozsa Gallery to see "Shade," on display from May 12 - June 25, 2012. This exhibit is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.

This exhibit is sponsored by the James and Margaret Black Endowment.

Main Street Calumet Market Riddle for May

CALUMET -- The first 3 children 12 or under, accompanied by a parent or guardian, who give the correct answer to the Main Street Calumet Market manager on Saturday, May 12, 2012, will win a prize (your parents can help). Good Luck!

Here's the riddle:

Little Nancy Etticoat
In a white petticoat,
And a red nose.
The longer she stands
The shorter she grows.

The Main Street Calumet Market is held every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the first Friday of each month from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 200 Fifth St. (corner of Fifth and Portland Streets) in downtown Calumet, Michigan.

For information or questions about the market please contact Main Street Calumet at 906-337-6246 or

Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve fundraiser will help protect water: Contribute by May 15 deadline

The Yellow Dog River, part of which is designated a National Wild and Scenic River, is located near Lake Superior and is now threatened by the Rio Tinto-Kennecott Eagle Mine, a sulfide mine for nickel and copper. The Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting this and other streams nearby, monitors water quality and works to educate the public about the dangers of both water and air pollution from this mine. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

MARQUETTE -- Whether or not you remembered to do something for the planet on Earth Day, here's a second chance -- You can help a local group dedicated to protecting precious freshwater resources in the Upper Peninsula, through the Crowdrise Earth Day Challenge, with a contribution to the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve's important work before the deadline of 11:59 p.m. EST, May 15, 2012. Here is why the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve (YDWP) asks for your support:

"The Yellow Dog River flows pure from its origins in a federal wilderness area all the way down to its end in Lake Superior, the largest body of freshwater this nation has.

"Pressures to develop these areas are increasing as mineral exploration and extraction moves into the small rural communities of the Upper Peninsula. This type of mining, known as sulfide mining, has the potential to create Acid Mine Drainage, which can end up in our Great Lakes. Our group continues to work to prevent such a travesty.

"We use scientific methods to collect important information about the ecosystem in order to protect it from pollution. We use this information to educate the community and decision makers about the negative effects that sulfide mining can have on waterways and the communities that depend upon them. And we do it all on a very small budget."

Chuck Brumleve, geologist for the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, and Emily Whittaker, YDWP executive director, sample stream sediment in the Salmon-Trout River. The ore body sought by the Rio Tinto-Kennecott Eagle Mine is under this river. (Photo courtesy Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve. Reprinted with permission.)

Here is how the contest works: The overall goal is to raise as much money as the group can up to the deadline. Whichever of the 30 groups competing has the highest amount raised by the deadline receives $25,000 extra added to their raised amount. Second place gets $15,000 and third gets $10,000 respectively added to their amount. The rest of the groups simply keep the funds they raised.

Click here to read about YDWP's work to protect Lake Superior and its tributaries from Acid Mine Drainage. Be sure to watch the excellent video about their work or click here to view it on YouTube. Then send them a donation -- whatever you can -- here.

Learn more about the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve by visiting their Web site.

KBIC to host Tribal Mining Forum May 11-12 at Ojibwa Community College

BARAGA -- The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Mining Outreach and Education Initiative is hosting its first ever Tribal Mining Forum from 1 p.m. - 8 p.m. on Friday, May 11, and from 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 12, at the Niiwin Akeaa Center (Ojibwa Community College) Gymnasium in Baraga. On Friday, a Community Potluck Dinner will also take place at 6 p.m. Saturday includes breakfast and lunch.

Click on poster for larger version. Please note the new location. (Revised poster courtesy Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Mining Outreach and Education Initiative)

The purpose of this forum is to educate the community on mining in order to increase awareness of its historical and contemporary impacts within the Lake Superior basin and Ojibwa ceded territory.

An informed community will have more capacity for protecting the environment and envisioning sustainable solutions for the future.

The Keynote Speaker will be Bad River Tribal Chairman Mike Wiggins Jr., whose community recently succeeded in preventing rollbacks to Wisconsin mining law that would have permitted a large taconite mine upstream from their community.

Bad River Tribal Chairman Mike Wiggins Jr. speaks at the March 23, 2012, Lake Superior Binational Forum on "Mining Impacts and Lake Superior: A Basinwide Approach" in Ashland, Wisconsin. Wiggins spoke about the Anishinaabe connection to land and water with the perspective of seven generations. Wiggins will be the Keynote Speaker at the Tribal Mining Forum in Baraga this Friday, May 11. (Photo by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)

The event will also include guest speakers from the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Mole Lake Sokaogon Chippewa Community, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, Chippewa-Ottawa Resource Authority, National Wildlife Federation and the U.S. Department of Interior.

Anyone who is curious or concerned about the new wave of mining interest throughout much of the western U.P. and the Lake Superior watershed should definitely come to this event to learn more.

There is no registration fee. It is still possible to register by signing in at the door.

Click here for the schedule of speakers and activities.

For the Sunrise Water Ceremony on Saturday: Meet just before sunrise at the Lighthouse at the Ojibwa Campground, off US 41. Watch for signs posted. Women need to bring and wear long skirts. Bring water from where you are coming from.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Film about Tar Creek Superfund site to be shown in Baraga May 9

Tar Creek poster copyright, property and courtesy of Jump the Fence Productions.

BARAGA -- The Mining Impacts on Native Lands Film Series will feature Tar Creek, a film about the largest Superfund site in the U.S., at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 9, in the Chippewa Room at the Ojibwa Casino in Baraga. The film is free and open to the public. People are welcome to bring a dish/snack to pass (optional) at 5 p.m. preceding the film.

Tar Creek, in northeastern Oklahoma, was once one of the largest lead and zinc mines in the world. It is now home to more than 40 square miles of environmental devastation: acid mine water in the creeks, stratospheric lead poisoning in the children, and sinkholes that melt backyards and ball fields. Now, almost 30 years after the site was designated for federal cleanup by the Superfund program, Tar Creek residents are still fighting for decontamination, environmental justice, and -- ultimately -- the buyout and relocation of their homes to safer ground.

Click here to learn more about the film Tar Creek.

From Stand for the Land: Mining activities on Anishinaabeg territories -- KBIC, Bad River submit statement to U.N.

Posted on on May 8, 2012
Reprinted with permission

BARAGA -- Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa recently collaborated on a Statement of Information submitted to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples documenting concerns about the activities of multinational mining corporations in Anishinaabe territories.*

On May 2, 2012, members of the Bad River Band Council attended  a consultation with the UN Special Rapporteur in Mission, South Dakota. Representatives from Keweenaw Bay Indian Community plan to attend another consultation with the UN Special Rapporteur later this month.

*Click here for the Statement of Information.

Editor's Note: Jessica Koski, KBIC tribal member, spoke on the Public Radio 90 news this morning, May 8. Click here for the May 7 article, "KBIC appeals to UN, saying sulfide mining infringes on Native rights."

Community Arts Center to host new exhibit; Art, Music Festival seeks artists, musicians, bakers

HANCOCK -- "Corroborate"  is an exhibit of ceramic sculpture by Jess Kane at the Copper Country Community Arts Center’s Kerredge Gallery May 8-June 2, 2012. An opening reception will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 10. Everyone is welcome to attend.

In her artist’s statement Jess Kane says, "My new work attempts to access the part of memory that is neither wholly inherent nor acquired, but exists as an alliance of experience and physiology. This intimacy is translated through a rebus of earthenware forms that challenge scale and surface to be both precious and provocative."

Kane studied ceramics at University of Michigan, Northern Michigan University and University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. She moved to Helena, Montana, in 2006 to work at The Archie Bray Foundation. In 2008, Kane was the recipient of an artist grant from The Myrna Loy Foundation for her vegetable oil burning kiln design. She has spent much of the last two years building a home studio in Calumet and growing with her daughter.

This exhibit is supported by a grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. The Community Arts Center is located at 126 Quincy Street in Hancock. For more information call (906) 482-2333.

Art, Music Festival booths available; bakers needed

The 11th annual Houghton Spring Art and Music Festival will take place from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday, June 9, on the upper parking deck in downtown Houghton. Applications for artists' booths are available at the Community Arts Center in Hancock. The application deadline is May 25, 2012. If you pick up the application on May 25 you must fill it out that same day. Arts Center hours are Tuesday - Friday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Saturday 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.

The Community Arts Center will also hold their annual Extreme Bake Sale during the festival. Help the Arts Center raise money for programs by baking and donating cookies, bars, brownies, granola, tarts, etc., by 5 p.m. on Friday, June 8. Please wrap individually or package groups of goodies. Call 482-2333 or email if you would like to bake.

Musicians: Apply now to perform at Art, Music Festival

Applications to perform at the June 9 Houghton Spring Art and Music Festival are being taken from local / regional musicians. Original content is desirable for this family event, and the stage can handle a single singer / songwriter or multi-vocalists / musicians. Pay is $100 per group for a 60-minute slot between noon and 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 9, 2012. Please submit a link and bio via email to to be considered by the committee. Please indicate interest by Saturday, May 12.

For more information about the Copper Country Community Arts Center, visit their Web site.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Letter: Industry, private matches -- not taxes -- support Natural Resources Trust Fund

The Brockway Mountain Summit west vista, showing Lake Superior and part of the Keweenaw Coastal Wildlife Corridor, is part of a Natural Resources Trust Fund recommendation for a $498,000 grant to acquire 320 acres in Eagle Harbor Township.  (Photo courtesy Eagle Harbor Township. Reprinted with permission.)

Dear editor,

People often believe that all government grants are from taxes, but this is not true. Grant money from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Trust Fund comes from oil and gas leases on state land -- money paid by industry to the state of Michigan for use of these lands. The Michigan Legislature determined that this money belongs to the people of Michigan and should be used for public recreation projects and public land throughout the state. Some federal programs are also funded from non-tax money, for example the Federal Duck Stamp program, which goes to purchase lands for wildlife habitat.

The summit of Brockway Mountain with the surrounding 320 acres is being purchased by Eagle Harbor Township with DNR Trust Fund money. Grants require a 25 percent cash match, which in this case was donated by private individuals and businesses.

This view from Brockway Mountain Drive, which provides access to the Brockway summit, along the Keweenaw Coastal Wildlife Corridor, shows Copper Harbor on Lake Superior, at left, and Lake Fanny Hooe, at right. (Photo courtesy Eagle Harbor Township. Reprinted with permission.)

Partners who helped raise the cash match for Brockway Mountain included the Michigan Nature Conservancy, Copper Country Audubon, Keweenaw Land Trust and Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District. No tax money was directly spent for this recreation property, which will serve Michigan's public in a multitude of ways.*

From 2001 to 2003, the approximately 6000 acres at the tip of the Keweenaw was also purchased with Trust Fund dollars and a large donation from The Nature Conservancy.**

The falls at the Mouth of the Montreal River were part of the Keweenaw Tip Natural Resources Trust Fund land acquisition for the public. On June 12, 2004, KPAC (Keweenaw Point Advisory Committee) members hiked to this spot with DNR staff to discuss how public access to the site should be managed. (Keweenaw Now file photo © Dana Richter. Reprinted with permission.)

During the KPAC tour on June 12, 2004, Dana Richter photographed this view of Manitou Island from High Rock Bay. Remains of a campfire can be seen in the foreground. (Keweenaw Now file photo © 2004 Dana Richter. Reprinted with permission.)*** 

A recreation plan must be in place in order to receive DNR Trust Funds. Recently, Calumet Lake Park on the north side of Calumet was established and improved with DNR Trust Fund money. The mouth of the Gratiot River, Hunters Point in Copper Harbor and Seneca Lake near Mohawk were also obtained by DNR Trust Fund grants.

Lake Superior and beach at the mouth of the Gratiot River. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

 All of these special places are open to the public to enjoy year round.

This DNR Trust Fund is the program our 110th District State Rep. Matt Huuki and our 38th District State Sen. Tom Casperson are trying to gut.

Dana Richter, Hancock Township
President, Copper Country Audubon

Editor's Notes: 

** See our September 2003 article "TNC completes Keweenaw Tip purchase for Michigan," which includes a map of the purchase.

*** Read about the KPAC tour in our 2004 article "Keweenaw Point Committee tour with DNR leads to recommendations."

A slightly different version of this letter appeared in The Daily Mining Gazette on April 21, 2012. Photos are included here with Dana Richter's permission.

Headwaters News: EPA Caving on Kennecott Road?

By Gabriel Caplett
Posted on Headwaters News May 6, 2012

MARQUETTE -- In a sign the EPA may be caving in to political pressure from federal, state, and local politicians supporting Kennecott’s "County Road 595" haul road, the agency has tempered its criticism of the project. In an April 23 letter to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality the EPA ignored many of the concerns outlined in Army Corps of Engineers’ comments on the project in March.

According to the Army Corps,  "the primary beneficiary of the route as proposed would be Kennecott." The Corps noted that 595 "is the most direct route from the Eagle Mine to Kennecott’s ore processing facility," in Humboldt Township, so the road plan should be clear it would be built largely to service Kennecott’s mining operations. The Corps outlined a number of hauling options that could work to service Kennecott’s Eagle Mine operation, including an already planned bypass of Marquette Township, as well as road-to-rail options, something Kennecott seriously considered in its original Eagle mining application.

Unlike the Army Corps, the EPA did not note the road project is clearly for Kennecott’s mining operations and failed to mention bypass or rail options, focusing instead on two possible alternate routes east of proposed 595 that the county road commission is already supplying additional comments to the DEQ on: one through the Mulligan Plains, and another using a portion of County Road 510.... Click here to read the rest of this article on Headwaters News.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Botanist Janet Marr to give presentations on garlic mustard at Portage, Calumet libraries

Garlic mustard, an invasive species, has small, white, four-petaled flowers like these. (Photo by Chris Evans)

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library and the Calumet Public Library will host a presentation on a particularly nasty invasive plant that is creeping its way into the Copper Country.

Botanist Janet Marr will present "Green Invader: Garlic Mustard in the Copper Country" from 6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 9, at the Portage Library and from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 16, at the Calumet Library.

During her session of pulling garlic mustard from a property in Hancock last Saturday, May 5, botanist Janet Marr, right, explains to Hancock residents Carol Grafford, left, and Susan Mills why it is important to pull the plant before the seeds can spread. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Garlic mustard is a non-native, extremely invasive plant that has just begun to show up in the Copper Country. It has been found in six Calumet-Laurium locations and eight other sites in Houghton County, mostly in the Houghton-Hancock area. It is not currently known to be in Keweenaw or Baraga Counties.

Janet Marr points out the identifying features of a garlic mustard plant and explains it must be pulled out down to the roots, like this one. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Once garlic mustard comes into an area it can cause huge problems when it invades forest floors, replacing native shrubs, tree seedlings, and wildflowers and also adversely affecting wildlife and insects. Out-of-control garlic mustard affects everyone who spends time outdoors -- from hikers to loggers, property owners and land managers.

Chris Vandomelen of Hancock helps Botanist Janet Marr pull garlic mustard at a property in Hancock on May 5, 2012. The pulled plants are put in several layers of plastic bags to prevent seeds from escaping before disposal. The seeds can live about 12 years. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Marr will show a 12-minute film titled Stemming the Tide: Garlic Mustard ID and Control. She will explain how to get rid of garlic mustard as well as discuss what not to do with the plants. Marr will also have live garlic mustard plants for people to look at plus various brochures about invasive species including garlic mustard. She will also talk about a short field trip to a garlic mustard site in Laurium.

Second-year leaves of the invasive garlic mustard are heart-shaped to triangular, 1-3 inches wide, coarsely toothed on the edges. They give off a garlic odor when crushed. (Photo by Steven Katovich, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service)

The best time to find and report garlic mustard is when it’s relatively sparse in our area and eradication is still possible. Please report any suspected garlic mustard plants in Houghton, Keweenaw, and Baraga counties to Janet Marr at 906-337-5529 or or call the Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District at 906-482-0214. People may also contact Marr about RRIP-IT-UP, the Rapid Response Invasive Plant Intervention Team of the Upper Peninsula.

Eradicate Garlic Mustard in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is a new UP-wide garlic mustard eradication program that is funded by a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, which includes funding from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Library programs are free and everyone is welcome. For more information, call the Portage Lake District Library at (906) 482-4570 or visit The Calumet Library presentation is sponsored by Friends of the Calumet Public Library. Call (906) 337-0311 ext.1107 for more information.

Chippewa, Ojibwe and Anishinabe: A History of Names

By Lynn Maria Laitala*

Until 1815, the Chippewa were the largest and most powerful Indian tribe in North America outside of Mexico. With their close relatives the Potawatomi and Ottawa they formed the Three Council Fires, which controlled the trade of the Great Lakes. To the north, they were related to and allied with the Cree.

New France first formed a trading relationship with the Ottawa in the early 1600s. Until 1760 the Ottawa, Chippewa and Potawatomi were allied with the French in a series of wars against the English and Iroquois. Between 1776 and 1815 they were allied with the English against the United States. Two hundred years of recorded history of the Chippewa lies in archives in France and England, to be found under a variety of names.

French records identify bands within the tribe, such as the "Mississaugas," "Salteaux" and "Outchibou."  In 1700 the English reported, "Upon the sides of [Lake Huron]... live … the Ochipoy." Variations in pronunciation among Algonquin dialects inspired different spellings but that was not the main problem: English spelling was not standardized for English words in 1749, when Hudson’s Bay factor Isham wrote home about the "Uchepowuck." When young George Washington initiated the last of the French and Indian wars in 1754, he wrote to Governor Dinwiddie that he needed reinforcements because "600 of the Chippoways and Ottoway Indians are marching down Scioto Creek."

The first treaty between the United States and the Chippewa was made in Ohio in 1785. The last was signed more than a hundred years later in North Dakota, in 1892. The last treaty in which Chippewa ceded land was signed in 1905, which put James Bay under the control of Canada.

With their territory, the history of the Chippewa was fractured, divided among countries, states and provinces -- and further obscured by the confusion of names.

Ojibwa,  Ojibwe, Odjibwa were popular variations in spelling when Hawaii was spelled Owahiee and Wisconsin was spelled Ouisconsin. Spoken aloud, "Chippewa" and "Ojibwa" sound far more similar than they appear in print. The variations in spelling were useful to Henry Schoolcraft who, in Algic Researches, referred to both the Chippewa and Odjibwa to imply that he had a wider expertise with Indians than he actually had.  Schoolcraft was well aware that the recognized spelling was Chippewa. As Superintendent of Indian Affairs for Michigan he was responsible for negotiating treaties with them.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow also knew that the Indians who ceded the mineral lands of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to the U.S in 1842 signed the treaty under the name Chippewa. Although Longfellow cited Schoolcraft as his source for "The Song of Hiawatha," he called his hero an Ojibway rather than either Chippewa or Odjibwa. Longfellow wrote the poem in 1854 when agents of the Boston elite -- of which Longfellow was a member -- were acquiring the public domain in the Upper Peninsula that the Chippewa had just ceded. The political and legal maneuvering by which the Boston capitalists appropriated the mineral resources did not lend itself to epic poetry, nor could it be reconciled with a narrative of national freedom and virtue. To direct attention away from this unpleasantness Longfellow moved the Chippewa out of history into pre-contact myth.

When the discipline of history was professionalized in the 1880s and ‘90s, academic history was made the exclusive province of male conquerors. Conquered peoples were silenced as "people without history." When Indian scholars began to reclaim Indian history in the 1970s, members of tribes like the Sioux, Winnebago, and Gros Ventres protested derogatory names imposed on them by the government. "Chippewa" was not a derogatory name but in Minnesota Indian scholars identified "Ojibwe" as the correct name for the tribe. This inadvertently added to the difficulty of recovering Chippewa history just when the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe (Inc.) was becoming a political force.

As part of the same effort by Indian scholars to reject Euro-American definition, the term Anishinabeg (with various spellings) was introduced. Historically, Chippewa, Ottawa, Potawatomi and Cree used this word to refer to themselves, among themselves. It is literally translated as "first people" -- and more liberally as "we, the people."

* Editor's Note: Guest author Lynn Maria Laitala is a historian of American history and the author of Down from Basswood. She is currently working on a book about Longfellow and the dispossession of the Chippewa.

Portage Library to host Amnesty International sponsored documentary May 7

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library will show the 30-minute documentary film Education Under Fire at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, May 7. 

"Education Under Fire" is a human rights campaign that aims to bring awareness to the Iranian government’s denial of the right to higher education for the past thirty years for all members of the Baha’i Faith in Iran. This situation is a violation of internationally agreed upon human rights treaties to which Iran is a state party. The "Education Under Fire" campaign has the full support of Amnesty International, Nobel Peace Laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu and President Jose Ramos-Horta of East Timor, and over fifty universities, including Harvard and Stanford.

In response to the Iranian government’s ban on higher education for Baha’is, the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE) was established to provide an opportunity for Baha’is in Iran to obtain their education. This peaceful institution was declared illegal in Iran and many of those involved in providing instruction have been arrested, detained, charged with criminal offenses, and imprisoned, some for more than twenty years.

This film presents the decades-long persecution endured by Iran’s Baha’is as well as tells the story of courage and commitment in the face of human rights violations. Members of the Baha’i Faith will lead a discussion after the film and explain how people can take action to urge the Iranian government to uphold its obligations under international law, to end the persecution of Baha’is in Iran, to release prisoners of conscience, and to cease depriving Iranians of the right to education on religious grounds.

Library programs are free and everyone is welcome. For more information, you may call the library at 482-4570 or visit