Indian Bowl for Future Generations

Our Mission is to sustain, strengthen and share the culture and performing arts of the Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe community. The new Waaswaaganing Indian Bowl Living Arts & Culture Center is a cornerstone of this mission.

For over 60 years, pow wows have been held on the Lac du Flambeau Reservation in Northern Wisconsin at a site overlooking Long Interlaken Lake. We celebrate our culture and traditions through dance and song, and we have welcomed visitors to join us in these celebrations. The pow wow grounds became known as “The Indian Bowl.”

In April 2012, the Tribe chartered a not-for-profit corporation called the Lac du Flambeau Cultural and Performing Arts Center, Inc. In November 2014, the Tribal Council officially changed the name to the Waaswaaganing Indian Bowl Living Arts & Culture Center.

In September 2014, the dilapidated facility was demolished, and a Ground Blessing Ceremony was held in November 2015.

Construction on the new Waaswaaganing Indian Bowl Living Arts & Culture Center began in July 2016.

We promote the Ojibwe seven teachings: honesty (gwayakendamowin), truth (debwewin), humility (agaasenimowin), love (zaagi’idiwin), wisdom (nibwaakaawin), courage (zoongide’ewin) and respect (manaatajigewin). The teachings have been passed down from generation to generation through stories and ceremonies.

Today, the oral traditions are shared by those who carry the knowledge of such things. We live so that life will be good for our children, and for seven generations of our descendents. The Indian Bowl will help ensure the preservation of our culture and traditions.

Board President Remembers

“Boozhoo”

“My fondest memory as a young girl was when my Pa, Grandpa and Uncle Bud lined my siblings and I up in a row.

“They sang some good old time pow wow songs and taught us how to dance to the beat of the drum.  Once we learned how to dance and when our outfits were made, we were allowed to perform down at the Indian Bowl.  We performed for tourists from all over the world.  The most memorable event was during the historic naming ceremony for President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his wife Mamie.”

“My last Indian Bowl dance was just before they had to tear it down in 2014. I can’t wait till the new Indian Bowl is rebuilt, and we can continue our pow wows and other dancing and singing events on our Reservation.”

Georgine Brown, President
Board of Directors

Little Girl Dancing (Courtesy Dean Hall/Lakeland Times)

A young Ojibwe girl enjoys jingle-dress dancing. Some dresses include as many as 200 jingles. In years past, the metal cones were often made from lids of snuff cans.(Courtesy Dean Hall/Lakeland Times)

Board Continues Indian Bowl Tradition

The Board of the Waaswaaganing Indian Bowl Living Arts & Culture Center is comprised of 15 members.

Board Members include Lac du Flambeau Tribal Members and community members, making this a true community partnership.

The Board is dedicated to having a Center that serves Tribal Members, and welcomes visitors from around the world.

Board President Georgine Brown at a nighttime celebration, 1970.

Board President Georgine Brown at a nighttime celebration, 1970. (Courtesy George W. Brown, Jr. Museum)

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Gregg Guthrie at the Indian Bowl, 1957. Although the wigwam was the most common Ojibwe dwelling, the teepee was occasionally used for shelter. (Courtesy George W. Brown, Jr. Museum)

A Preserve America Community

In 2009, the Lac du Flambeau Chippewa Tribe was designated a Preserve America Community. Preserve America is a U.S. government program that encourages and supports community efforts to preserve and enjoy the country’s cultural and natural heritage.

The program recognizes and designates communities that protect and celebrate their heritage, use their historic assets for economic development and community revitalization, and encourage people to experience and appreciate local historic resources through education and heritage tourism programs.

Preserve America is a national initiative in cooperation with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; the US Departments of Defense, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, and Education; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities; and the President’s Council on Environmental Quality.

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Lac du Flambeau Chippewa Tribe

The Lac du Flambeau Band has inhabited the Northwoods of Wisconsin since 1745, when Chief Kiishkemun (Sharpened Stone) led the Band to the area.

The Chief settled our Tribe where the Bear River begins, and along the western shoreline of Flambeau Lake.

The Band acquired the name Lac du Flambeau from its practice of harvesting fish at night by torchlight. The name Lac du Flambeau, or Lake of the Torches, refers to this practice and was given to the Band by the French traders and trappers who visited the area.

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The art of fire hunting. Mural by Nick Hockings.

We call ourselves Waaswaaganing, which means Lake of Flames in Ojibwe.

The 1854 Treaty of La Pointe established a 100,000-acre reservation for the Lac du Flambeau Band. The Tribe was officially established on May 8, 1937, when Tribal Members ratified the Corporate Charter of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of the Lac du Flambeau Reservation of Wisconsin.

In the early 1900s, the area became a tourist destination, especially for families from Wisconsin and the Chicago area. Since 1951, the Indian Bowl pow wow celebrations has been one of the premier Wisconsin tourist attractions.

Joe "Dingman" Kelty celebrates at a Lac du Flambeau evening powwow in the 1960s. (Courtesy George W. Brown, Jr. Museum)

Joe “Dingman” Kelty celebrates at a Lac du Flambeau evening pow wow in the 1960s. (Courtesy George W. Brown, Jr. Museum)

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Georgine Brown
President

Georgine was raised at the Old Indian Village on the western shore of Flambeau Lake. She worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Great Lakes Agency. She joined the U.S. Navy in 1978 and served six years as radioman. After 24 years with the U.S. Postal Service, she retired as a Postmaster.

Georgine is an active member of the Chicog-Skye American Legion Post #374 and the Lac du Flambeau Veterans Association. She currently serves on the Lac du Flambeau Town Lakes Committee, and the Tribal Culture & Historic Preservation Committee. She is an enrolled member of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians.

Emerson Coy
Vice President/Treasurer

Emerson has been Director of Planning for the Lac du Flambeau Tribe since 1990. His work includes strategic planning, roads, buildings and infrastructure. Because of his accomplishments, he has received the Indian Health Service’s Green Champion Award and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s Construction Award.

Emerson is vice president and treasurer of the Indian Bowl Board. He has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Youngstown State
University, and a Master of Divinity Degree from Ashland Theological Seminary.

Roberta Gast
Secretary

Roberta is Secretary of the Indian Bowl Board. She is on the Lac du Flambeau Town Lakes Committee, and has been involved in the Campanile Center for the Arts in Minocqua since its inception. In the 1960s, Roberta’s father was manager of the Indian Bowl.

Mildred ‘Tinker’ Schuman
Board Member

Tinker’s Native name is Migizikwe, or Eagle Woman. She is a spiritual helper and poet, author of Reborn in the Sun, and co-author of The Healing Blanket and Indenwemaganag, a poetry CD. Tinker attended the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education. She is an enrolled member of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, and has two children, seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Gregg Guthrie
Board Member

Gregg is a of the founder of the Lac du Flambeau Historical and Cultural Society. He was instrumental in the opening of the Tribe’s George W. Brown, Jr. Museum, and is Curator Emeritus of the Wisconsin Historical Society. Gregg is an enrolled member of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians.

Tina Kuckkahn-Miller
Board Member

Since 1996, Tina has served as the founding director of the “House of Welcome” Longhouse Education and Cultural Center at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. Spanning a nearly 20-year history promoting indigenous arts and cultures, the Longhouse received a Governor’s Arts and Heritage Award in 2014.

Tina is an adjunct member of the faculty at Evergreen. She also serves on the Indigenous Program Council at the Banff Centre in Alberta. She has degrees in education and law from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Tina is an enrolled member of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians.

Carol Brown
Board Member

Carol Brown (“Ogimakwe”) is an enrolled member of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians. She is an attorney, whose Indian law practice spans the continental United States and Alaska. Carol and her family have been instrumental in preserving the culture and traditions of the Lac du Flambeau Tribe. A proud mother of two sons, she enjoys traditional dance, martial arts and piano.

Patty Loew
Board Member

Patty is a member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe. She is an author and professor in the Department of Life Sciences Communication at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. Patty’s books include Seventh Generation Earth Ethics and Indian Nations of Wisconsin.

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Sue Robertson
Board Member

Sue is a lifelong resident of the Lac du Flambeau community. Sue and her family have owned and operated Dillman’s Bay Resort for over 90 years. Her father, Marvin Dillman, was very active in the Indian Bowl during the early years.

Charlotte Hockings
Board Member

Charlotte traces her Ojibwe heritage back to her grandfather, who was born in Mille Lacs, Minnesota in 1884. Charlotte and her late husband Nick opened the Waswagoning Indian Village in 1995. Nick was instrumental in promoting the weekly pow wow activities to keep the Indian Bowl thriving.

Charlotte has a Masters of Education degree, and taught for 17 years at the Lac du Flambeau Elementary School. She is an adjunct professor at the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Community College. Charlotte is a traditional dancer, and has performed worldwide with the “Call for Peace” drum and dance group of Madison, Wisconsin. She was instrumental in creating the “Waswagoning Dance Theater.”

Melissa Lynn Doud
Board Member

Melissa is a Lac du Flambeau Chippewa Tribal Member and long-time dancer at the Indian Bowl. She is an army veteran who served in the War on Terrorism. Melissa works for the LDF Business Development Corporation.

Matt Gaulke
Board Member

Matt is Chairman of the Town of Lac du Flambeau. As a longtime employee of Pitlik & Wick, Inc., Matt has extensive knowledge of road construction and similar projects.

Henry “Butch” St. Germaine
Board Member

Henry is President of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians.

Betsy Behnke
Board Member

Betsy has been a part-time resident of Lac du Flambeau most of her life. As a former teacher in the Madison Metropolitan School District for 30 years, Betsy has a strong background in education. She was a Trustee for the Memorial Union Building Association, the two student unions at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Betsy also served on the Board of Directors and is a volunteer at Camp Manito-wish YMCA in Boulder Junction.