Fond du Lac could gain Wisconsin Point landWisconsin Point is a sandy spit of land dividing Lake Superior from the Superior Harbor.
By: By Mike Simonson/Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Wisconsin Point is a sandy spit of land dividing Lake Superior from the Superior Harbor.
Fond du Lac Tribal Chairwoman Karen Diver says it’s the site of a 92-year-old injustice, one the tribe hopes can be rectified.
Once the site of a tribal village and cemetery on the western edge of Lake Superior, it is a step away from being transferred to a band of Lake Superior Ojibwe. That gives the land back after it was taken from them in 1918.
That’s when villagers were forced off as trespassers and 200 graves exhumed from the cemetery. Now, the Bureau of Indian Affairs is recommending the land be transferred to the Fond du Lac people.
“We actually have some old, hand-drawn maps from our band members who remember visiting their family members down there and some other historical documents that tell us how the village was laid out before the band members were forcibly removed to have U.S. Steel have access to the site and of course. U.S. Steel never followed through but the land was never given back either,” Diver said.
The 18 acres at the end of Wisconsin Point was first inhabited by Fond du Lac villagers more than 350 years ago. Once they get the land, they can honor their ancestors, Diver said.
“It is within the collective consciousness of some of our band members that remember fondly being down there with their family so we certainly want to honor that tradition,” she said
The Fond du Lac band also had settlements on Minnesota Point, Clough Island, Rice’s Point, Grassy Point, Oneota, and the village of Fond du Lac in far eastern Duluth.
Diver hopes the Secretary of the Interior will sign off on the transfer in the next three to six months.
The land was used by the U.S. Coast Guard until that station was deemed obsolete in 1999.