Indigenous Burial Grounds returning to Fond du Lac Band
"We get our home back! We see that place as our home because that is where we are from; you can’t put a price on that,” said Bob Miller.
After its removal in 1919 to St. Francis cemetery, The Wisconsin Point Burial Grounds is returning to the Fond du Lac band.
Miller, a seventh-generation descendant of Chief Joseph Osaugie, expresses what this relocation of the land means for his family.
"Very excited! My grandmother spent her first few years living out of Wisconsin Point before the village was moved. One of the promises in her life was that if we even got it back, she would be the first one to move out there and live, and unfortunately, she is not here right now."
Superior Council President Jenny Van Sickle shares what the land stood for before its moving process occurred.
"Were talking about some casual place in the seated territory. We are talking about the sacred ground. We are talking about a place where people lived, and people went to school. Native people are the first nation, the first people of this area, and it is really important to remember that."
The land was supposed to make room for an industrial steel plant development that was never built.
The removal of the land has over time been traumatizing for family members of the Fond du Lac community, as Van Sickle mentions.
"When you start really talking about the disinterment but the reckless placement of people into a mass grave, unmarked, erosion into the river…it’s challenging!"
Moving forward, miller shares how the history of the Wisconsin point burial land and makes sure those stories continue to get told.
"We have never forgotten the history! We pass it on, and my grandma, my uncle, and one of my cousins gave me the stories of what happened out there. I have since passed it on to my brothers, and I passed it on to my kids and my grandkids; so that they know what their ties are to that place."
The official reclamation of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa’s return is set for August 18th, 2022, at Black Bear Casino Resort in Carlton County.
Superior Mayor Jim Paine and Fond du Lac Band Chairman Kevin DuPuis will officially sign the transfer deal paperwork.
To rsvp for the event, visit the link to register.