Archive | August, 2010

History Part 2

30 Aug

In 1934 the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) was passed, which sought to improve conditions for tribes in the United States. The IRA required tribes to adopt a constitution and elect a tribal council in order to be a federally-recognized tribe. We elected our first tribal council and adopted our constitution in 1937. At this time, our tribe acquired 500 acres east of Mt. Pleasant to establish a land base for our people.

Through the resiliency of our ancestors we have endured and overcome many obstacles that were placed before us. The recent success of our gaming and entertainment operation has enabled us to better provide for the needs of our community. Housing, health care, and educational opportunities have greatly improved in the past twenty years for the tribal membership. The tribe also provides opportunites for our non-Native neighbors as the largest employer in Isabella County.

Our economic success has also given us the means to reclaim the history of our people and share it with the rest of the world. The 34,349 sq. ft. Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture & Lifeways was established in May of 2004 with that goal in mind. Our cultural center and tribal museum honors the ancestors, who against tremendous odds, protected and passed down the cultural knowledge, language, and teachings of our people.


Back to School & Some Tribal History!

23 Aug

Wow! Summer is flying by and in a couple weeks, Michigan kids start back to school. As the fall approaches, remember that the Ziibiwing Center is a great resource for school field trips, projects, and reports.

Here is brief introduction to the Ziibiwing Center and the history of the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe of Michigan.

The Ziibiwing Center is a distinctive treasure created to provide an enriched, diversified, and culturally relevant educational experience. This promotes the center’s belief that the culture, diversity, and spirit of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan and other Great Lakes Anishinabek must be recognized, perpetuated, communicated, and supported.

The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan is comprised of three bands of Ojibway (Saginaw, Black River, Swan Creek), who lived primarily in the Eastern region of what is now Michigan. Our ancestors lived in this area for hundreds of years prior to the appearance of European Settlers. Two hundred years after their arrival, they claimed all but a few acres of the land where our ancestors had made their homes. The last treaties we signed with the United States in 1855 and 1864, established the Isabella Indian Reservation. Totaling over 130,000 acres, this land was divided into privately-owned allotments establishing a permanent home for our tribal membership.

When our people moved to the Isabella Indian Reservation the conditions were extremely grim and our annuity payments were delayed, causing many of our people to succumb to hunger and sickness. During this time, Isabella County had some of the best stands of white pine in the whole state of Michigan and lumbermen were eager to swindle us out of our lands. Many of our people sold their allotments to lumber sharks for a small fraction of their value. For many, selling their allotment was the only way to feed their families. Thus, coupled with numerous shoddy deals between Indian Agents and timber barons, led to a rapid dispossession of our land base. Of the more than 1,500 allotments issued to our ancestors in the late 1800’s, only a handful of these were owned by tribal members by 1934.

Stay Tuned Next Week for the Continuation of the History of the Tribe…

12 Aug

Click on the picture below to access an awesome photo slideshow of this year’s 2010 NativeFest!

NativeFest 2010

12 Aug

This year’s NativeFest event was held August 4-6 and was hosted by the Ziibiwing Center and the event’s exclusive sponsor, PNC Bank. The turnout for this 3-day celebration of North American Indian Culture was record-breaking as this fun-filled event had about 1,000 guests in attendance. On the first day of NativeFest we had a blast hosting Indian Car Bingo in the Ziibiwing Center parking lot. There were lots of great prizes including PNC Bank VISA gift cards, Sony DVD players, concert tickets, and much more. One lucky guest won the $1,000 gift card cover-all grand prize.

The fun didn’t stop at Car Bingo… the following night we had Music & Comedy night where both children and adults had a ton of fun helping us celebrate American Indian Sobriety Month. Our guests got to enjoy some delicious free food and amazing live musical performances by THE Rockhoppers and Kevin Chamberlain followed by a comedic performance by Buddy Big Mountain that kept the crowd laughing. We also had face painting, balloon animals, bouncers, a beach-like sand toy area, an adopt-a-pet program, and caricature artists for the children to enjoy.

To conclude NativeFest there was a Katsina/Katchina Doll Collection Showing on August 6. The Katsina/Katchina dolls are wooden representations of the culture and history of the Hopi Indians and are used to teach Hopi children about the spirits that assist in the trials of life. Although the NativeFest collection showing is over, those who missed it can still come in and see the collection in the Ziibiwing Center lobby at their leisure from August 9-14 between 10am and 6pm.

We’d like to thank PNC Bank for sponsoring this event. We’d also like to thank everyone who attended this year’s NativeFest. We hope that you had a great time and we look forward to seeing you again at next year’s NativeFest.

2 Aug

On the morning of September 18, 2009, Councilwoman Audrey Falcon and Ziibiwing Director Shannon Martin consulted with officials from Harvard University’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology in Cambridge, MA regarding the culturally affiliated ancestors the museum had in their possession. Falcon and Martin were in Cambridge at the time to participate in Harvard University’s Honoring Nations Symposium. With the consultation completed, much work now lay ahead for the Ziibiwing Staff. 

At the heart of the effort was the compilation of information for one young female ancestor. In 1856, human remains representing a minimum number of one individual were removed from the western shore of Tawas Point, Iosco County, Michigan by Henry Gillman. The individual was donated to the Peabody Museum by Mr. Gillman in 1869.

Last fall, winter, and into the spring of 2010, Ziibiwing’s Curator William Johnson and his team researched and assembled all of the necessary historical documents to uphold the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan’s claim for this individual. The team uncovered substantial information related to this ancestor in the Tribal Archives; in fact some of the documentation was virtually unknown to the officials at the Peabody Museum. The information supplied by the Ziibiwing team strengthened the final verbiage for the Peabody’s Notice of Inventory Completion. The Federal Register Notice was posted on May 21, 2010.

The repatriation will also include bringing home the human remains of 9 individuals that were removed from a site 3 miles northwest of Byron, MI by Arthur W. Carpenter as part of a Peabody Museum expedition in 1915. These human remains were donated to the Peabody Museum by Mr. Carpenter that very same year. The associated funerary objects are two fabric masses with attached metal ornaments. The Peabody Museum posted a Notice of Inventory Completion in the Federal Register on March 20, 2001.

In order to physically and financially accomplish the repatriation, Ziibiwing’s Funding & Development Specialist Charla Burton and the grant team began to design and write a National Park Service NAGPRA grant in early May. The grant was successfully submitted in late June. On July 7, Ziibiwing received official notification from the National Park Service NAGPRA Program that our funding request was awarded to cover all associated travel and reburial costs for this repatriation.

Two members of the Ziibiwing team and other Tribal delegates will travel to Cambridge, MA on August 29-September 1 to retrieve the physical remains of these 10 culturally affiliated individuals and 2 associated funerary objects from Harvard University’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.

The Reburial Ceremony will take place on September 2 in the Tribe’s Nibokaan Ancestral Cemetery. The Nibokaan was established in 1995 for the explicit purpose of reburying repatriated Native American ancestral remains and associated funerary objects. The Tribal community is invited to participate in the Reburial Ceremony. For more information, contact William Johnson of the Ziibiwing Center at (989) 775-4750.

Peabody Museum - Harvard Museum