, 2023-01-23 05:03:36,
MADELINE ISLAND – For the first time in more than 150 years, the Ojibwe “Winter Olympics” are once again being played on Madeline Island in Wisconsin.
The island, about a mile offshore of northern Wisconsin in Lake Superior, is the historic capital of the Ojibwe Nation, which encompasses parts of what are now Canada and the U.S.
A popular tourist destination during the summer, the island is still culturally important to the Ojibwe people and a portion of it is part of the Bad River Ojibwe Reservation in Wisconsin.
The Ojibwe winter games returned to the island last year when a half dozen Indigenous men, including Paul DeMain, decided to get together for a little sport.
“Pretty soon, I started getting phone calls from all over the Great Lakes,” he said.
Word quickly got around and more than 100 people showed up and participated.
DeMain, who is a citizen of the Oneida Nation and an Ojibwe descendant, expects even more crowds for this year’s games on Feb. 11.
He said the return of the games coincides for Indigenous peoples’ ongoing hunger to revive their culture, including in sports, language, agriculture and arts.
“As the Indian community feels comfortable, it brings these things back,” DeMain said.
He said the U.S. government banned the games on the island in the mid-1800s because people would often wager on the game of chance and gambling had been made illegal at that time.
DeMain said Indigenous people would also often use the games as a way to resolve conflicts,…
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