Ely Folk School Canoe Flotilla Attends Ojibwe Pow Wow

The Ely Folk School’s efforts to build bridges with our local native communities gained traction last weekend with our second canoe flotilla across the Boundary Waters to Ontario’s Lac La Croix Village.  Nine EFS enthusiasts in four canoes enjoyed the three-day trip to share in the drum circle dances on the shores of one of the largest and most beautiful lakes along the Quetico/Boundary Water border.  Much as they did for the first EFS trip in 2016, Ojibwe elders welcomed the group enthusiastically and guided them through traditional healing and blessing ceremonies.

The canoeists were prepped at the EFS “Living Traditions” event August 19, 2018 where Bois Forte band members Dani Pieratos and Chaz Wagner explained Pow Wow protocol and Ojibwe dance regalia.  At the Pow Wow, the EFS crew learned that Lac La Croix elders have prepared a Quetico map listing original Ojibwe names and their meaning.  Upon returning home, this news was shared with Dani and Chaz who are keen to now extend this project to Bois Forte elders to create a Boundary Waters map with historic Ojibwe lake names.  The group envisions interactive maps of the entire Quetico-Superior lake country at regional visitor and cultural centers in the U.S. and Canada where guests can touch lakes to hear the Ojibwe pronunciation of the original names and learn the story behind the names.  Now that’s real bridge building!