Mooningwanekaaning Arts - Jingle Dancers

Supporting the Arts & Traditions of Mooningwanekaaning

January 8, 2024

In 2018, the Anishinaabe Fund of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation, Native American Educational Technologies (NAET), and many local sponsors granted funding to the LPC Performing Arts Affiliate for the Madeline Island Jingle Dress Dancer Project. The goal of the project was to make pathways back to Moningwaane’akaaning (Madeline Island) for the Anishinaabe whose traditions dictate that the Island is the center of their spiritual universe. The objectives were to foster cultural awareness, preservation and respect of traditions, and to educate on the history.

The Madeline Island Jingle Dress Dancer has become an icon of the healing that needs to take place to continue to support Indigenous community members who do not have access to Moningwaane’akaaning. She danced at Treaty Day on the Island and across Treaty Territory, including events at the Straits of Mackinaw in Michigan, across the front lines of the water protector camps in Northern Minnesota, and in countless local events, including an appearance in Bayfield on Apple Fest.

Jingle Dress and Sash

Her presence raises awareness wherever she goes. The Jingle Dress Dancer project was the start of supporting and bringing awareness to the island community of the history of Mooningwanekaaning on a regular basis.

Dug Out Canoe Sculpting in Progress

In 2021, Paul DeMain applied to the La Pointe Center for the Arts for a grant to bring an Artisan Market to the Island for a Treaty Day event taking place on September 30, 2022. The market included demonstrations of various cultural traditions and arts, including the construction of the first dugout canoe built on the island in indigenous traditions since 1854.

This gave Indigenous people an opportunity to share their knowledge and gave non-native people a chance to interact with artisans and educators and appreciate the traditions of the land we all now share. The LPC Gallery held an Indigenous Artist exhibition leading up to the event with a show reception that included the dedication of this historic dugout canoe.

Completed Dug Out Canoe

The event was supported by other community partners, including the Town of La Pointe, St. John’s Church, Madeline Island Community Garden, Middle Road Farm, Madeline Island Marina, Gichigami Island Properties, Bog Lake Outfitters, and Madeline Island Library. Additional financial support was received from Honor the Earth, Akiing 8th Fire, and NAET, along with many volunteers. The success of the project forged new bonds of cooperation and cultural understanding on Madeline Island.

Building on that success, LPC made the decision to continue with ongoing support for the Treaty Day event and other projects that focus on Native artists to attend, exhibit, perform and provide demonstrations to the island community.

In 2023, LPC received a Creative Communities Grant offered by the Wisconsin Arts Board for a two-day Music for the Water festival. That became part of the Mooningwanekaaning  Revival, a larger Indigenous community gathering featuring Red Man’s Market, which provided Indigenous artisans an opportunity to share their artistic talents and historic traditions.

Music by the Water Performance

Special thanks go to Barbara With for coordinating the concert efforts. The project was co-funded by the Anishinaabe Fund of Duluth Superior Area Foundation, Honor the Earth, NAET, Akiing 8th fire, and Communities United by Water.

The interaction with indigenous artisans, the local community, and tourists continue to enhance and establish bonds of cooperation and cultural understanding of the historic traditions of the land we all now share. LPC looks forward to this growing collaboration among residents and organizations recognizing and celebrating Anishinaabe culture, traditions and art.

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