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Saturday, October 12, 2019

UPDATED: Anishinaabekwe to lead 3-day Water Walk 90 miles along Lake Superior; Michigan Tech to honor Indigenous Peoples' Day with cultural events Oct. 14-16

By Michele Bourdieu

People of the Heart Water Walkers will walk 90 miles on behalf of life's most precious resource, Nibi (water), from the Copper Harbor Lighthouse to Keweenaw Bay's Sandpoint Lighthouse Oct. 19, 20 and 21. (Image © Isaac Murdoch and courtesy People of the Heart Water Walk)

[BREAKING NEWS: According to a Facebook post by the Anishinaabek Caucus of the Democratic Party on Friday, Oct.11, 2019, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has proclaimed Oct. 14, 2019, Indigenous Peoples' Day!

 Click here to read the full proclamation on

Governor Whitmer's Proclamation follows recently proposed legislation by State Sen. Jeff Irwin (SB 568), State Sen. Mallory McMorrow (SB 569) and State Rep. Yousef Rabhi (HB 5112) to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples' Day in Michigan, as well as an executive order earlier this week by Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers declaring the second Monday in October Indigenous Peoples' Day in Wisconsin.]* 

HOUGHTON -- This year Indigenous Peoples' Day is commemorated beginning on Monday, Oct. 14, with a series of events at Michigan Tech -- including lectures, films and discussions on Native American culture from Monday through Wednesday and library exhibits of Indigenous Learning Resources at both the Van Pelt and Opie Library on campus and the Portage Lake District Library in Houghton through Oct. 28.

While not directly part of the Indigenous Peoples' Day program, the People of the Heart Water Walk will be led by Anishinaabekwe from the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Oct. 19-21, along the shores of Lake Superior. People of all colors, faiths, and philosophies are invited to join the Water Walk in unity to bring awareness to life’s most precious resource, Nibi (water). The Water Walk is conducted through Anishinaabe ceremonial protocol and ways of understanding the natural environment.

People of the Heart Water Walk poster. Click on poster for larger image. (Poster courtesy People of the Heart Water Walk Facebook page)

Water Walkers will begin at 6 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19, at Astor Shipwreck Park (where Fannie Hoe Creek flows into Lake Superior across from Fort Wilkins Park) and will proceed to Mohawk this first day. On Sunday, day two, water walkers will cross Portage Canal into Houghton. Water walkers will end their journey the third day, Monday, Oct. 21, at Keweenaw Bay's Sandpoint Lighthouse.

"In this work for the water, the women lead the ceremony, carrying a copper vessel filled with Nibi from Copper Harbor Lighthouse to Sandpoint Lighthouse located in Baraga, MI.," writes Kathleen Smith, habitat specialist in the KBIC Natural Resources Department. "The water continually moves through the 1842 Ceded Territory throughout the day starting at sunrise and into the afternoon. The men support the women by carrying an eagle staff beside them as their protectors," Smith explains.

Walkers will lodge in personal homes and community centers each night. Food and drinking water will be provided to eliminate the use of plastic water bottles. All are welcomed to participate in bringing awareness to Nibi. You can join in and walk at any point on the journey for as long as you can and feel called to do so.

Michigan Tech Indigenous Peoples' Day events

Monday, Oct. 14:
12 - 12:30 p.m. -- Michigan Tech Husky Statue. The Woodland Singers: Honoring Land, Place, and People

6 p.m. - 8 p.m. -- Fisher Hall 138. Documentary and Dialogue: American Indian identity in contemporary media

Tuesday, Oct. 15:
12 - 1 p.m. -- Noblet 144, School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science. Brown Bag Lecture with Kalvin Hartwig (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa)

4 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. -- Hamar House. Reception for Kalvin Hartwig and Katy Bresette (Red Cliff Band of Ojibwe)

6 p.m. - 8 p.m. -- Fisher Hall 138. Short Films: Waadookodaading and This Is Who I Am, with special guests Katy Bresette and Kalvin Hartwig

Wednesday, Oct. 16:
UPDATED TIME: 3 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. (EDT) -- Noblet, Forestry Building 144. Anishinaabemowin Distance Learning Session with Dr. Margaret Noodin. The first 40 participants will receive a free copy of Bizhiw Miinawaa Miinan - Lynx and the Blueberries by Cecelia LaPointe (Waub Ajijaak Press) [Note: This was originally posted as 2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Central Time.]

6 p.m. - 8 p.m. -- Fisher Hall 138. Feature film: Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001)

Indigenous Peoples' Day Campaign

The Indigenous Peoples' Day Campaign at Michigan Tech began with a group of faculty, students and concerned community members meeting several times a semester and inviting / sponsoring guest speakers of indigenous origins -- including Native Americans, a Peruvian filmmaker, and an Israeli writer concerned about rights of Palestinians -- as well as films, activities and discussions on topics related to indigenous peoples' rights around the world.

At the same time, the group interested Michigan Tech students in the effort to have the university officially adopt Indigenous Peoples' Day, especially since Michigan Tech is located within Ojibwa (Chippewa) homelands and treaty-territory established by the Treaty of 1842 -- the territory of Native American nations in Gakiiwe’onaning (Keweenaw Bay), Gete-gitgaaning (Lac Vieux Desert), Mashkii-ziibing (Bad River), Odaawaa-zaaga’iganing (Lac Courte Oreilles), Waaswaaganing (Lac Du Flambeau), Miskwaabikong (Red Cliff), Wezaawaagami-ziibiing (St. Croix), and Zaka’aaganing (Sokaogon Mole Lake).

Treaty map showing dates of treaties and tribal groups located in ceded territories. Click on map for larger version. (Map courtesy Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission [GLIFWC])

Michigan Tech's Undergraduate Student Government (USG) presented a Resolution to Commemorate and Actively Support Indigenous Peoples at Michigan Technological University on Feb. 15, 2017. It was adopted on March 1, 2017, and revised on March 15, 2017. The Resolution reads in part as follows:

"BE IT RESOLVED THAT, the Michigan Tech Undergraduate Student Government (USG) urges
Michigan Technological University to commemorate Indigenous Peoples every year from this year, 2017,

"BE IT ALSO RESOLVED THAT, the Michigan Tech USG urges Michigan Technological University to actively support the recognition of Indigenous Peoples worldwide, including education and dialogue on diversity and solidarity, social justice, and indigenous decolonization.

"BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT, the Michigan Tech USG urges Michigan Technological University to actively support the recognition of and education about the Ojibwe People's’ presence and contributions to Michigan Tech and the larger community in the region and forward."

Michigan Tech's Graduate Student Government (GSG) voted in favor of a similar Resolution on Feb. 13, 2017.

According to Kellie Raffaelli, assistant dean and director of Michigan Tech's Center for Diversity and Inclusion, "President Mroz approved the proposal for the University to recognize the second Monday of October as Indigneous Peoples' Day on January 24, 2017."

Editor's Update:
* Contact your State Senator and State Representative in your own district and ask them to support these bills to establish Indigenous Peoples' Day in Michigan, since the Governor's Proclamation is only for this Monday, Oct.14, 2019. To find your State Representative, click here. To find your State Senator, click here.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Visual Art Faculty Show "Proof of Concept" Opens in Rozsa A-Space gallery

What You Do Not Know You Know, by Jess Portfleet, is part of the new visual art faculty show, "Proof of Concept," in Michigan Tech's Rozsa Center A-Space professional gallery. (Photo courtesy Rozsa Center)

HOUGHTON -- Michigan Tech's Department of Visual and Performing Arts and the Rozsa Center are excited to announce the fall gallery exhibition, "Proof of Concept," a visual art faculty show, which runs from Thursday, Oct. 10, through Saturday, Nov. 9, in A-Space, the Rozsa professional gallery. An opening reception will be held from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11. Gallery hours are M-F 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. and 1 p.m. - 8 p.m. on Saturdays. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

"Proof of Concept" showcases recent works of art by five faculty members from Michigan Tech’s Department of Visual and Performing Arts: Anne Beffel, Susanne Q. Kilpela, Terri Jo Frew, Lisa Gordillo, and Jess Portfleet. It includes painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, and social practice art. A companion exhibit of Susanne Q. Kilpela’s drawings will take place in Michigan Tech’s Van Pelt and Opie Library, on the first floor. Visitors are encouraged to visit both the library and the Rozsa gallery to view the show.

Persistent Dilemma, by Susanne Q. Kilpela. (Photo courtesy Rozsa Center)

The five artists are working in diverse media, and for many different reasons. Susanne Q. Kilpela -- who teaches a variety of courses at Michigan Tech in ceramics, drawing, and art history -- works in clay for "its delicacy and its strength." She likes to discover beauty in unusual places and her work is inspired by nature’s forms. Jess Portfleet’s sculptures include ceramic forms, yet she focuses on reinterpreting objects and their use by staging objects in unusual ways. She says her work "explores complex human moments"; and to do that she makes use of scaffolding, props, and alternative methods of support.

Artist Anne Beffel teaches courses that focus on developing creativity, and she runs a public art space in Wadsworth Hall known as The Studio Here Now. Beffel finds that her work "underscores the role art can play in creating attentiveness, which is the foundation for empathy, inclusion, and fair access to resources." Her research emphasizes her vision for a "peaceful society in which individuals have equal access to resources and opportunities."

Terri Jo Frew’s favorite materials are drawing and embroidery. She is interested in breaking down the boundaries people create between "art" and "craft." She frequently combines these more traditional forms with conceptual ideas and says that she hopes to challenge those "antiquated ideas about arts hierarchies" with her work. 

Painter and sculptor Lisa Gordillo is focusing her current work on landscapes and borders. Gordillo is also the Rozsa Gallery Director, and is excited that the gallery has a chance to present works of art from the arts faculty.

"It will be wonderful for us to have a chance to share our work and our inspirations with students and the community and to showcase the diverse kinds of art we make," Gordillo says.

Gordillo adds that the faculty artists are often inspired by their students. 

Susie Kilpela also expresses this idea: "People often ask me if my students have become inspiration for my work. What inspires me is their energy and their enthusiasm for life ahead."

For more information about these artists click on their names here to visit their Web sites: Anne Beffel, Terri Jo Frew, Lisa Gordillo, Susanne Q. Kilpela, Jess Portfleet.