Grand Portage Chippewa

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Cultural History

The Grand Portage Chippewa were not the first ones to use the label. It was the ancestral Ojibwe people who first used the term to refer to the link between the inland winter camps to the summer homes in the Grand Portage Bay in Lake Superior. The Grand Portage people had access to the series of lakes and rivers leading to the Canadian area. 
In the centuries that passed, the trail that was left by the Ojibwe was soon followed by the Europeans who were traders of fur. It marked the start of the access of the intruders to their land. It was then that the Europeans used their territories as inland headquarters intended to strengthen their niche in the trading industry. The Grand Portage became the center of the trading industry from 1730 to 1805. Several traders, explorers and businessmen gathered in the area to exchange items.
Despite the distractions that the fur trade brought, the Ojibwe people still tried to keep their land as their primary habitat. In 1960, the Grand Portage National Monument was established. The National Monument includes the archeological remains of Northwest OCmpany Depot and some other memorabilia commemorating the trading industry, sctockade, Great Hall and others. This place is now part of the tourism industry in the area. 
The tribe has kept their tradition alive through museums. The tribesmen are also fond of keeping memories alive by having pow-wow dancing, softball, turkey shoot and other activities that bring back the old memories of their ancestral days. 
The tribe also likes to remember their sled dog racing days. Sled dog racing was one of their older ways of lifestyle. They used dogs for hunting food supply even before the White settlers came in the picture. The dogs were also their favorite travel companion because not only do they help in the carrying of the heavy loads but they also prove to be good hunters themselves. These people soon moved to the Nipigon region in the north. The region was in the eatern side of the Isle Royale and is in the west toward the Winnipeg. The travel’s primary focus was to look for food.
The Grand Portage Chippewa Tribe is a sovereign nation in its own right. It has a general governing body in charge of taking care of the welfare of the whole tribe. Together with six other bands, the Grand Portage Chippewa make up the Minnesota Chippewa. The tribe has its own councilmen composed of a chairman, vice-chairman, secretary-treasurer and two members at large. Their current Chairman is Mr. Norman W. Deschampe, their Vice-Chairman is Mr. John Morrin, their Secretary-Treasurer is Mr. Gilbert Caribou, their Councilman is Kenneth Sherer and their Councilwoman is Lorraine Wipson. There are also currently 518 tribe members, most of which are involved in their community programs like the Passage Race in Winter months, and the Rendezvous Days in Summer. They are also engaged in the casino business like other Indian Tribes.

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