Traditional history through modern exhibits

ONAMIA, Minn. - "What was the traditional importance of the seasons in the lives of Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians? In what ways do they currently preserve their culture, language, music and dance? How have Band members made a living throughout the past century?" These are a few of the questions raised by Mille Lacs Indian Museum as an important part of the state's history, in one of the many interactive museums operated by the Minnesota Historical Society.

The Mille Lacs Indian Museum, which opened May 18, 1996, offers exhibits dedicated to telling the story of the Band. Through interactive activities, objects and written information visitors can trace the Band's journey to settle in northern Minnesota and follow their story up to the present. Videos, computers, listening stations and objects reveal information about Ojibwe life today, from how dance traditions are carried on to members' interests in music to sovereignty issues.

The "Four Seasons Room" has dioramas featuring models of Band members in scenes depicting traditional life. The adjacent 1930s trading post is fully restored and offers locally made gifts and crafts from Mille Lacs artisans and related merchandise as well as an exhibit highlighting the post's history.

The museum's spacious crafts room serves as a demonstration area for traditional cooking, birch-bark basketry and beadwork. Special events and workshops are held throughout the winter season. For more information on the Mille Lacs Indian Museum call (320) 532-3632 or check out http://www.mnhs.org/places/sites/mlim/