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Gichi Onigaming Flag Raised at Isle Royale

On Wednesday, June 12, NPLSF Executive Director Tom Irvine joined community members who gathered for the Gichi Onigaming Flag Raising Ceremony at Isle Royale’s Rock Harbor. Speakers included John Morrin, Grand Portage Councilman, Denice Swanke, Isle Royale National Park Superintendent, Bert Frost, National Park Service Midwest Regional Director, Tim Cochrane, NPLSF board member and former Grand Portage National Monument Superintendent, and Agatha Armstrong, Grand Portage Tribal Council member. The Stonebridge Singers (a traditional Anishinaabe drum group from Grand Portage) led a drum circle, with an honor and travel song. NPLSF sponsored a traditional Ojibwe feast afterwards. 

Isle Royale, also known as Minong (meaning “the Good Place” in Ojibwe), has a long history with the Grand Portage Band. In July 2019, the National Park Service officially recognized Minong as a “Traditional Cultural Place.” This recognition is significant and solidifies the cultural and historical importance of Minong. The Grand Portage people were dispossessed from Minong by the 1842 Treaty that they were not invited to participate in and then the 1844 Isle Royale Compact, which was never ratified by Congress.  

The flag raising signified the Grand Portage people reappearing on and reinvigorating their connection to their traditional territory. In a press release Denise Swanke, Isle Royale National Park Superintendent,  said, “The Band’s ties to Isle Royale and Lake Superior are not just historical – they’re ongoing. The raising of this flag in Rock Harbor affirms what has always been evident – the Grand Portage Ojibwe’s position on Minong is perpetual.” Read more in a joint press release from Isle Royale National Park Superintendent and Grand Portage Band here.



About The NPLSF

The National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation (NPLSF) exists to provide financial support for projects and programs that preserve the natural resources and cultural heritage of the five Lake Superior national parks: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Grand Portage National Monument, Isle Royale National Park, Keweenaw National Historical Park, and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

Funded through grants and private donations, NPLSF projects and programs ensure that these great parks and historic sites are maintained for the enjoyment of all current and future visitors.


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