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Meet NPLSF Board Member Tim Cochrane—former National Park Superintendent, Historian and Author

St Paul, Minn. – Tim Cochrane has a wonderful reciprocal relationship with our National Parks.


As Superintendent of Grand Portage National Monument for 20 years, he supported many changes including a precedent-setting agreement for co-management of the site by the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and the National Park Service. Through this Tribal Self Governance Agreement, Cochrane worked with tribal leaders to complete many important projects, gaining recognition as the National Park system’s most comprehensive collaboration, touching every aspect of park operations.


Tim Cochrane and son Andy at the Grand Portage National Monument Heritage Center.
Tim Cochrane and son Andy at the Grand Portage National Monument Heritage Center. Photo credit: Jeannie Cochrane

Cochrane’s own life has also changed for the better, thanks to the National Parks. In the 1970s he met his wife Jeanne while both were working summer jobs at Isle Royale.

Since retiring from the National Park Service in January 2017, Cochrane says he and Jeannie spend as much time outdoors as possible. “We wild rice, we maple sugar, we forage for mushrooms,” Cochrane says.


Cochrane also recently completed his fourth book: Making the Carry: The Lives of John and Tchi-Ki-Wis Linklater. Now available from the University of Minnesota Press, the genesis of the book started many years ago.


“When I was a teenager I bumped into a photograph of John Linklater, from 1928. He was of mixed descent, wearing a top hat, and clowning around for the photo but it piqued my interest,” says Cochrane. It turns out Linklater was of Anishinaabeg, Cree, and Scottish ancestry or what is called Metis. As Cochrane explains it’s a category recognized in Canada, along with Intuits and Indians. The U.S. government only recognizes one official category: Indian.


In Canada, the Metis created their own identity. Tim uses the term “ethnogenesis” or making of a new people. The Metis even created their own government in Manitoba in 1870, although the Canadian government quashed it soon after it was formed, and a second Metis rebellion was quashed in 1885. You can learn more about the book and order a copy of the book at this link: Making the Carry — University of Minnesota Press (umn.edu)


Cochrane worked with NPLSF when he was Superintendent at Grand Portage National Monument and has enjoyed continuing the relationship now as a board member. He’s particularly excited about some new projects, like the one to oversee decarbonization of the parks. Thank you, Tim, for your commitment to the past, present, and the future, of Lake Superior’s National Parks!


You can hear more from Tim Cochrane on NPLSF’s March 2022 Lake Superior Podcast.

To learn more about NPLSF's board members, mission, programs, and initiatives visit nplsf.org.


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About 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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