Students Get Hands-On Cultural Lesson at Ojibwe Winter GamesSubmitted: 02/22/2013
Story By Lex Gray

LAC DU FLAMBEAU - Hundred of years ago, Native Americans in the Northwoods played ancient outdoor games.

Those games have since been replaced by video games and computers. Now, the Lac du Flambeau tribe is working to bring them back.

Lakeland area elementary students came to the reservation this week.

They played with spears, snowshoes and snowsnakes.

"Goonikaa Ginebig, the snowsnake game, until last year, the game hadn't been played for 175 years," said Wayne Valliere, a language and culture instructor with the Lac du Flambeau tribe. "The game hadn't been played here with the Lac du Flambeau people and Waswagoning, so we're revitalizing our ancient game of the snowsnake game, and we're planting the seed in our young people so the game will live on."

The Ojibwe Winter Games are about much more than just one game.

Lac du Flambeau language and culture instructor Wayne Valliere started the week-long event last year.

He wants people to take away a lesson about Ojibwe culture and history, and it seems to be working.

"It's really fun because it seemed like it would be really difficult back then to do all these things," said Samantha Twelmeyer, a fourth grader at MHLT.

"It's really important to respect every culture - every culture on earth and every culture up here," said Arbor Vitae-Woodruff teacher Perry Smith.

The games continue through Saturday.

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