Environment | Law | National

Mary Pember: Lac Courte Oreilles ceremonial buildings burned





"The Big Drum house was so much more than a building—it contained the stories and memories of our people,” says Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Ojibwe tribal member Jackie Cadotte. “Some remember sitting on their father’s laps during ceremonies there. I was just devastated when I found out it was burned.”

On the night of July 17 and early morning of July 18, six suspicious fires destroyed three traditional ceremonial structures on the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe (LCO) reservation in northern Wisconsin, and two other structures were also severely damaged. The destroyed buildings included a ceremonial lodge, historic home for generations of big drum ceremonies and two private sweat lodges. A big drum dance ring as well as a structure at the pow wow grounds, home of the long-running Honor the Earth pow wow was damaged. An RV that served as the residence for Paul DeMain, a longtime journalist on LCO, was completely destroyed, and the main building on his property, home to News From Indian Country was also partially burned.

Most of the burned structures were used for traditional ceremonies and healing, and DeMain says the message is clear: “Someone is attacking traditionalism in the community.”"

Get the Story:
Mary Annette Pember: Will Arson Attack Cause Holy War Between Born-Agains and Natives? (Indian Country Today 12/12)