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Anishinaabe Way: Lives, Words and Stories of Ojibwe People

Spirit Tree -photo by Travis Novitsky

"Anishinaabe Way: Lives, Words and Stories of Ojibwe People" is a radio series that explores the many facets of Ojibwe life.  As part of the series you will hear the words and stories of Anishinaabe people, including artists, poets, doctors, scientists, elders and children.

"Anishinaabe Way: Lives, Words and Stories of Ojibwe People" is an original series produced by Staci Lola Drouillard. Staci is a descendent of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa who lives in her hometown of Grand Marais, Minnesota.  Music for the series is by Minnesota Ojibwe artist, Keith Secola.

Funding for the series is provided by the Minnesota Legacy Fund and WTIP, Community Radio.

What's On:

Anishinaabe Way: Dorothy Dora Whipple

"Chi-mewinzha" means "A Long Time Ago" in the Ojibwe language. It's also the title of a book of bilingual Ojibwe stories by Leech Lake elder Dorothy Dora Whipple. The stories in the book were carefully transcribed by co-editors Wendy Makoons Geniusz and Brendan Fairbanks. The book is illustrated by Annmarie Geniusz.

In this segment, Ms. Whipple tells the Ojibwe version of the story "When you Make a Tobacco Offering" and Wendy Makoons Geniusz shares the English translation.

"Chi-mewinzha" Ojibwe Stories from Leech Lake" is published by the University of Minnesota Press, 2015.




Anishinaabe Way: Josephine Zimmerman

Josephine Zimmerman was the first person confirmed in the Chippewa Church, more formally known as St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church. In a letter she sent to the Cook County Historical Society in 1971, Mrs. Zimmerman relates her memories of the church and tells the story of the 1907 forest fire, that nearly burned the church to the ground. Mrs. Zimmerman and family lost their house to the fire. Built in 1895, this year the Chippewa Church celebrated its 120 year Anniversary.




Anishinaabe Way: Butch Deschampe

Grand Portage Band member Butch Deschampe comes from a long line of fishermen, including his Grandfather Joe and his father Sam Deschampe. In this segment he tells the story of fishing for herring in the frigid winter weather on Lake Superior, the time he swamped his fishing boat, and how his son, Joe, is carrying on the family fishing tradition. The interview with Butch was recorded by Bob Pratt and Carrie McHugh from the Cook County Historical Society.

(Photo of Butch with lake trout, courtesy of Butch Deschampe and the Cook County Historical Society; mural of Butch and his son, Joe D., in their fishing boat by David Gilsvik, courtesy of Beth Drost, NPS)



Anishinaabe Way: Gloria Martineau, Part 2

Grand Portage band member Gloria Martineau was born and raised in the town of Grand Marais, MN. In this segment, she talks about her closest neighbor, Lucy Caribou, who made hand-made rag rugs and hooked rugs for a living.


"Ukulele" by Jack Wilson, 6th Grade

Anishinaabe Way: Indians in Public Art

"Indians in Public Art: Changing the Image" is a traveling exhibition of student art work. Seven students from the Oshki Ogimaag Charter School in Grand Portage created work for the show. In this segment, four of the students share what inspired each of their pieces. Art instructor Belle Janicek also talks about why she decided to bring the project to Grand Portage. The exhibit is part of a broader effort to raise public awareness about art in the state Capitol and other prominent public spaces in Minnesota and how that art depicts Native Americans. For more information on the Public Art Project please visit



Anishinaabe Way: Dr. Anton Treuer, Part 2

In this segment, Dr. Treuer discusses the marginalization of Native American history and Native American students within the Minnesota and U.S. educational systems. He also describes the concept of "collective knowledge" and how it relates to current events and our struggle to bridge the achievement gap for students of color in our schools.



Anishinaabe Way: Dr. Anton Treuer

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Dr. Anton Treuer is the Executive Director of the American Indian Resource Center at Bemidji State University. He is the author of 13 books and is the editor of Oshkabewis Native Journal, the only academic journal of the Ojibwe language. In this segment, Dr. Treuer talks about collecting oral history, the cultural protocols of listening to stories and reveals the subject of his most recent book project.


Anishinaabe Way: Milt Powell, Part 3

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Milt Powell grew up on the Canadian side of Saganaga Lake on what was once known as "Powell's Bay." In this segment he tells a family moose tale about his dad, Mike Powell, and his uncle, Frank Powell, shares his experience working for the gold prospector Benny Ambrose on Ottertrack Lake and talks about his family's deeply rooted Ojibwe traditions. From an interview with Milt and his wife Alice Powell in 2012.


Anishinaabe Way: Mike Keyport

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Mike Keyport is a member of the Grand Portage Band of Chippewa and is the great-grandson of John Beargrease, the legendary North Shore mail carrier. Mike is also a member of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon Board of Directors, and is currently gearing up for the start of the 2015 race.

In this segment he shares some of his rich family history and the traditions used to honor his great-grandfather by the descendents of the Beargrease family, the Beargrease Board and the mushers who follow the historic route of his mail run.



Anishinaabe Way: Louise Thomas and the Anisnabae Art Gallery

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Louise Thomas is the owner of the Anisnabae Art Gallery in Thunder Bay, Ontario. In this segment Louise talks about the recent expansion of the gallery, which has moved into a new space around the corner. She also describes the beginnings of the Woodland style of art and the generations of artists who have found inspiration in the work of Norval Morrisseau and her husband, Roy Thomas. An opening reception at the new gallery is being planned for March of 2015. For more information, visit the gallery's website:

(Photo courtesy of Louise Thomas)