Native Americans have occupied the islands and surrounding area for thousands of years. Certainly, their creation stories put them here for as long as humans have existed.
One's way of seeing the world gets shaped by immersion in the world around them and the Ojibwe peoples' culture is a great example of that. Their culture is saturated with a relationship to this place, these islands, and all of the natural world around us.
A very important way to show this relationship is to look at Ojibwemowin (the Ojibwe language) for in the translations are ways to see this world that may be different from what we are used to. Learning a little bit of the language helps to preserve it from extinction and saves those ways of thinking.
Little Sand Bay Welcome
A welcome to Little Sand Bay, spoken in Ojibwemowin, followed by English.
Hello my friends! We are happy you all came here! Our Ojibwe elders tell us that, “truly a long time ago those ancient Natives traveled here to the Apostle Islands, however, we have always called this place home. Everything all over the land has created our way of life. Everyone (the fish, the birds, the insects, the spirits in the forest, Lake Superior, and sky) is where our culture comes from.”
Listen to the Ojibwe words found in the Junior Ranger books.
The Ojibwemowin audio you are hearing is provided by Ranger Damon. Damon Gezhiibideg Panek is an enrolled member of the Mississippi Band of White Earth Ojibwe and a Park Ranger at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. He serves as the park’s Ojibwe Cultural Specialist where he works to integrate Ojibwe culture, history, and language into education and interpretation curriculum.
Before Gezhiibideg’s family “relocated” to White Earth in the 1860’s, they lived on Madeline Island and in the surrounding area. He currently lives on the Red Cliff Reservation with his family.
There are many great resources to learn more about the history and culture of the Ojibwe people, both around the Apostle Islands, as well as throughout the greater Lake Superior region. The Red Cliff and Bad River Bands each host a summer Pow Wow, which are open to the public, as well as other events throughout the year.
Miskwaabekong - The Red Cliff Reservation - hugs the northeastern shoreline of the Bayfield Peninsula, nestled between Cornucopia and Bayfield overlooking the Apostle Islands in northern Wisconsin. Red Cliff presents opportunities for community members and visitors to enjoy a beautiful area while also preserving our land and natural resources. The Red Cliff Band is also the largest employer in Bayfield County.
The Bad River Tribe aims to work toward a more progressive, financially stable government, to maintain tribal sovereignty; and enable members to progress individually, towards a more fulfilling life culturally, spiritually, and economically.
The reservation’s conservation area contains almost 500 miles of rivers and streams, over 30,000 acres of wetlands, 38 miles of Lake Superior shoreline, and the Kakagon Sloughs.
Formed in 1984, GLIFWC represents eleven Ojibwe tribes in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan who reserved hunting, fishing and gathering rights in the 1837, 1842, and 1854 Treaties with the United States government. GLIFWC provides natural resource management expertise, conservation enforcement, legal and policy analysis, and public information services in support of the exercise of treaty rights during well-regulated, off-reservation seasons throughout the treaty ceded territories.