things to do

Native American History

Discover Rich Culture

Vilas County has a rich tribal heritage that predates European settlement by thousands of years. You can learn about this history in beautiful Lac du Flambeau, home to the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians.

For more than 300 years, the Lac du Flambeau Band has lived in this area. Led by Chief Keeshkemun (Sharpened Stone), the Lac du Flambeau Band arrived in 1745 to gather wild rice, catch fish and hunt game. They called the area Waaswaaganing, “Place of fishing with torches.” During summer months, you can learn about what daily life was like – and is like – for Native American residents of the region.

The George W. Brown, Jr. Ojibwe Museum & Cultural Center features some fascinating exhibits including a 24-foot Ojibwe dugout canoe, Ojibwe arts and crafts, traditional clothing and a French fur trading post. A gift shop offers unique items made by local and other Native American People. You can also learn about the traditional harvesting of wild rice, fish and game.

The Mikwendaagoziwag (“they will be remembered”) Heritage Center is a historic landmark open to the public. The facility was previously the BIA Government Boarding School Boys Dormitory. It underwent a 20-year restoration project and it now houses the Legacy of Survival exhibit and gallery. The landmark is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. and is located at 838 White Feather St. (Hwy. 47N).

Visitors to the Ojibwe Museum & Cultural Center will also notice a reconstruction project under way to create the new Waaswaaganing Indian Bowl Living Arts & Culture Center. The Indian Bowl hosted pow wows for more than 60 years in Lac du Flambeau and is undergoing an upgrade and expansion. The pow wow grounds and amphitheater are expected to be open in time for the annual Fourth of July Parade, Pow Wow and Fireworks Display in 2016, and pow wows will be held twice weekly in the summer.

Find more information about the Indian Bowl Living Arts & Culture Center here.