While at the Rendezvous, we also took an opportunity to visit the nearby village of the Grand Portage Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa where they were hosting their annual Pow-Wow. The centerpiece of the annual Celebration Pow-Wow is the drumming, singing, and dancing that occurs in the Pow-Wow Arena. Around 400 dancers from the midwest and Canada attend . . . as well about 25 drum groups perform. In addition to the drum performances and dancing, the weekend event is much like other annual community festivals: with food stands, softball games, bingo, run-walk race, a turkey shoot, horseshoe tournament, and contemporary dancing and music. No beer tent, however, as the festival is alcohol free which makes it a more family-friendly activity for all ages.
Another new experience for us was visiting the recently completed Grand Portage Heritage Center. In addition to replacing the outdated welcome center and ranger station offices, the new facility offers a number of educational exhibits, including a bookstore, museum, interactive displays, collections of artifacts, art, and photographs from the trading era and the famed eight and half mile portage trail that gave the village and stockade its name.
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The Traditional Grand Portage Pow-Wow
Two young maidens on their way to the Pow-Wow Arena. I'll bet they were entries in the Junior Princess contest held later in the afternoon. > > >
< < < One of many couples participating in the "All Nations" drum-dance.
< < < A group from one Chippewa Band assembles for ceremony prior to the start of another drum-singing-dance performance. Some drum dances were for and performed by members of certain bands while others were "All Nations." Watching the performances reminded me somewhat of being at a Barn Dance where the caller would call out the dance and who would be dancing.
The Indian Taco stand was quite popular. Always a line every time we walked by. > > >
The Grand Portage Heritage Center
The welcome desk in the lobby of the new Heritage Center offers brochures, maps, guides and helpful service by the National Park Service staff. > > >
< < < The museum exhibits has a number of interactive displays. The mannequin shown here is one of the "pork eaters" who lugged 90 lb packs over the 8 1/2 mile portage.
< < < A replica of the birch bark transport canoes used by the Northmen. In the warehouse and stockade grounds are several more genuine birch bark canoes.
The Heritage Center also houses a classroom with video presentations running on a posted schedule, an archives room, a bookstore-gift shop, and park offices.
This map shows the paddle and portage trading routes followed by North Men and the Montreal Men. > > >
A Guide to Cross Country Trails in Minnesota's Spectacular Lake Superior Region. By Andrew Slade, a Duluth resident who has hiked, skied and camped extensively along the Minnesota North Shore of Lake Superior.