Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Waswagoning Indian Village

Our visit to Waswagoning Ojibwe Indian "re-created" village today in Lac du Flambeau was really so fascinating!  We took our 15 year old grandson and his best friend.  We had a fantastic weather day...sunny and clear but not too hot (78).  The native american guide was very good and taught us so many things about this tribe (also called Chippewa).  

I brought along my very first moleskin sketchbook to record some of my impressions.  Did you know that the Ojibwes put rocks in their canoes in the late fall and sank them into the lake to overwinter underwater!  The birchbark lasted much longer that way and was not eaten up by the wintering animals.  What an amazing fact!  

Also of so much interest was the "moon lodges" built for the women having their monthly cycles.  It reminded me so much of the book The Red Tent (the Jewish people used for the same purpose!).  The women found solace, time for teaching, comfort, privacy and a time for sharing everything from birth control to discussion of husbands or potential husbands.  The moon lodges were open in the summer like the one I sketched.  But naturally built more warmly for winter.  The tribe moved around each season. 
The Wigwams of the tribe were thus built over old frames from the season before.  Here I show a deer hide in a round circle being stretched over a frame in front of the lodge and a basket of food upon on high structure to keep it from animals. 

The boys couldn't stop talking about all they saw and about the fire making demonstration.  It was a beautiful location deep in the woods with rustic trails along Moving Cloud Lake (neat name for a lake!)  What a lovely day!


  1. Sounds like fun and I love your sketches!

  2. I didn't know they had that in Lac Du Flambeau - that goes on my list for next year... great drawings too!