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Seasons of Change

Labor, Treaty Rights, and Ojibwe Nationhood

Chantal Norrgard

Publication Year: 2014

From the 1870s to the 1930s, the Lake Superior Ojibwes of Minnesota and Wisconsin faced dramatic economic, political, and social changes. Examining a period that began with the tribe's removal to reservations and closed with the Indian New Deal, Norrgard explores the critical link between Ojibwes' efforts to maintain their tribal sovereignty and their labor traditions and practices.Norrgard shows how the tribe strategically used treaty rights claims over time to uphold its right to work and to maintain the rhythm and texture of traditional Ojibwe life.

Published by: The University of North Carolina Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. ii-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xiv

This book is the culmination of a long journey that would not have been possible without the support of many people to whom I am incredibly indebted and appreciative. First and foremost, I must thank the Ojibwe people of the Grand Portage, Fond du Lac, Red Cliff, and Bad River communities whose stories inspired me to write this book—chi miigwetch....

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pp. 1-19

In 1959, the Bad River Tribal Council issued a declaration of war against the Wisconsin Department of Conservation to protest state officials’ arrest of Ojibwe hunters and fishers for exercising their treaty rights. The declaration was in part a response to the termination policy; the aims of federal policy-makers shifted from allowing Ojibwe self-determination to a renewed focus on detribalization and the dismissal of tribal sovereignty....

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1 From Berries to Orchards: The Transformation of Gathering

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pp. 20-42

During the Great Depression, Ojibwe families journeyed to the berry patches of northern Minnesota and Wisconsin to make a much needed income from the fruit they harvested. They picked berries for days and even weeks, occasionally pausing to enjoy the summer weather or to socialize in berry camps that consisted of makeshift shelters and tents. In 1938, Florina...

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2 They Can’t Arrest Me. We Got Treaty Rights!: Criminalizing Hunting and Trapping

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pp. 43-62

While berrying exemplified Ojibwe people’s creative opposition to the federal government’s efforts to undermine their social and cultural values, Ojibwe struggles to hunt and trap led to more overt forms of resistance. Under the restriction of state game laws, Ojibwes fought not only to retain the traditions connected to hunting and trapping but also to defend the livelihoods critical to their economies and their sovereignty. Walter Bresette,...

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3 Capital and Commercialization: The Struggle to Fish

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pp. 63-85

At the same time that Ojibwe families began hunting and trapping for cash income, many also turned to commercial fishing to make a living. Mary Jane Hendrickson remembered her father as a commercial fisherman and “an Indian without a reservation.” He was born in Michigan in the late nineteenth century, but the Indian Service would not recognize him as a member of an Ojibwe band because his family moved to Wisconsin when...

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4 From Landlords to Laborers: Work in the Lumber Industry

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pp. 86-107

Unlike the history of livelihoods designated as treaty rights, the story of Ojibwe wage labor in the lumber industry is more difficult to trace because it has not been associated with Ojibwe labor traditions. This history surfaces in fragments, sentences, and paragraphs strewn throughout local memoirs, and it receives only passing mention in more recent scholarship concerned primarily with treaty rights. Still, delving deeper into the...

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5 Tourist Colonialism: Reinventing the Wilderness and Redefining Labor

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pp. 108-127

Between the 1880s and World War II, the tourist industry filled the economic gap left by the decline of the commercial fishing and lumber industries. During this period, tourism came to dominate the economy and environment in northern Wisconsin and Minnesota. The growth of tourism led to the transformation of cutover environment that had been ravaged by the lumber industry into a wilderness oriented toward the recreation of summer ...

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pp. 128-136

In 1934, federal representatives convened the Hayward Indian Congress near the Lac Courte Oreilles reservation in Wisconsin at the request of Commissioner of Indian Affairs John Collier. The congress was ostensibly set up as a forum for tribal representatives from Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan to discuss concerns related to the provisions of the proposed Wheeler-Howard Bill, which was designed to create a solid economic...

APPENDIX: Treaties with the Chippewa, 1837, 1842, and 1854

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pp. 137-152


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pp. 153-174


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pp. 175-192


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pp. 193-201

E-ISBN-13: 9781469617312
E-ISBN-10: 1469617315
Print-ISBN-13: 9781469617299
Print-ISBN-10: 1469617293

Page Count: 216
Illustrations: 4 halftones, 1 map
Publication Year: 2014