The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe’s history dates back more than 250 years, when our Ojibwe ancestors settled their home in rural East Central Minnesota, bringing with them a rich culture that has transcended the test of time. Today the Band’s language and traditions thrive throughout the Mille Lacs Reservation.
The Band’s Nay Ah Shing Schools have an Ojibwe Language and Culture Program that brings Elders into classrooms to offer wisdom and knowledge to preschool through high school students. The Band has assisted living units to provide a way for Elders to stay in the community and continue passing on the Ojibwe culture. Elders also serve as advisors to the Band’s government, and many teach classes at the Mille Lacs Indian Museum on traditional Ojibwe crafts.
Opened in May 1996, the Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post was the product of a partnership between the Minnesota Historical Society and the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. Both groups worked together to select a location, an architectural firm, and the content of the exhibits.
The Museum offers workshops that feature Ojibwe crafts, many taught by Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe elders, including workshops for making moccasins, beading, sweet grass baskets, birch bark ornaments, woodland pottery, porcupine quill jewelry, and others.
Workshops are typically held over two days, with four hours of instruction per day. Light lunches are provided and discounts are provided for stays at a nearby hotel. Class sizes are kept small to allow for individual attention. Check the Museum’s calendar to learn about upcoming workshops and register.
- Ancestors of today’s Ojibwe people lived in family clans.
- Before the advent of telephones or mail service, the clans’ patriarchs designated people to carry their news to other Ojibwe families. This way of sharing news became known as the “moccasin telegraph”.
- Today, Mille Lacs Band members share their stories about the Ojibwe culture, history and traditions through a local newspaper column called the Moccasin Telegraph.