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Grand Portage tribal flag flies on Isle Royale

Park visitors now receive orientation including a statement about the tribe's ties to the island.
Grand Portage flag
The flag of the Grand Portage tribe was hoisted in August on Isle Royale National Park (US National Park Service photo)

GRAND PORTAGE, Minnesota — The tribal flag of the Grand Portage Anishinaabe now flies beside the United States flag at Isle Royale National Park.

In a news release, the US National Parks Service says the flag was hoisted in August at a ceremony on the Lake Superior island.

It says this honours the significant, long-lasting and current connection between the Grand Portage Ojibwe and Isle Royale, which the tribe calls Minong, or the "good place." 

The first step in recognizing the connection came through the documentation of the island and surrounding waters as a traditional cultural property of the Grand Portage tribe.

That designation occurred in 2019.

Tribal member Butch Deschampe presented the flag at that time to the park superintendent, and asked if the park would be willing to fly it.

The answer was "yes," but it took two years to to get official permission and deal with restrictions related to COVID-19.

Deschampe was given the honour of hoisting the flag while the Grand Portage Honour Guard stood at attention and the Stonebridge singers performed.

Tribal chair Bob Deschampe spoke about the opportunities the flag represents for tribal members to come to the island and connect with its resources.

Park rangers now include a land acknowledgement statement in orientations for park visitors.

The statement notes that Isle Royale is part of the ancestral lands of the Anishinaabe/Ojibwe who have cared for those lands for generations.

 

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