Saturday, June 26, 2010

12,000 Years of Ojibwe History Packed in One Corner


Imagine the end of the last ice age in North America. The generally accepted end of the ice sheets in the upper Midwest (Minnesota in particular) is estimated to be about 12,500 summers ago. Evidence of human activity correlates to this period.

Unexpectedly located at the Northern Lights Casino on the southside of Leech Lake, Minnesota by the town of Walker, is a corner area near the adjoining hotel which is devoted to the history of the Leech Lake Band Of Ojibwe and surrounding land.

One display contains an assortment of tools used by humans as far as 12,000 years ago. Two copper lances (numbers 1 and 5 above - click the photo to see a larger version) are estimated to be between 8,500 and 12,000 years old in what is called the Paleo Period. By comparison other humans are thought to have arrived in Ireland 9,000 years ago (7,000 BC) following its glaciation period. This means that Minnesota hosted human inhabitants before european tribes from the south and east arrived in Ireland. Interesting to say the least.

What is remarkable is the use of copper from Minnesota or nearby Michigan that was tooled to resemble stone worked points. Equally remarkable is that two of these points exist today and are displayed in this case.

The corner museum also displays more modern history and the abundance of wild life in the area. One important exhibit element is the bald eagle. These birds nest around the lake in substantial numbers and are regarded as symbolic and spiritual creatures.

This corner of Ojibwe history and culture should be put on your must see list if you visit the area. While the actual square footage is very small, the amount of information contained in the display cases and shown via a large screen monitor is well worth the effort to locate and study. Know that.