|Wednesday, Nov 9, 2011|
A new exhibit entitled “Changing Climate…Changing Cultures” recently opened to the public at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center in Ashland, Wisconsin. The exhibit, which was designed to identify the potential impacts of climate change on people’s cultures and traditions, focuses on the importance of wild rice production to the Ojibwe culture and identifies how changes in climate may threaten this traditional cultural lifeway.
Audiences also become aware of how changes in Great Lakes climate impact other aspects of area ecosystems and how choices they make can help mitigate these impacts.
A planning team that included staff from the National Park Service, Forest Service, Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC), University of Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Historical Society worked with designers and fabricators from Color-Ad Signs and Exhibits in Manassas, Virginia to produce the exhibit. The project was funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Wisconsin Coastal Management Agency, National Park Service, and the University of Wisconsin.
Development of the exhibit was the first stage of a project that will include an experiential service learning curriculum and teacher training institutes to increase awareness of how climate change is affecting Lake Superior’s environment, people, and cultures and what can be done to respond to this critical issue.
More than 100 community and tribal members joined representatives from Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and a variety of other federal, state, local, and tribal organizations for special ceremonies and a feast to mark the opening of the exhibit. The celebration was hosted by Jason Maloney, director of the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center, and Jim St. Arnold, program director for GLIFWC.
Joe Rose Sr., Northland College professor and tribal elder from the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians, performed a pipe ceremony, offered a prayer in Ojibwemowin and provided commentary regarding the need to be caretakers of the environment. The program was followed with a traditional feast, featuring wild rice, venison, whitefish, corn, and fry bread provided by GLIFWC and embellished with contributions of dishes from many of the attendees.