Loading

58°F

59°F

57°F

55°F

57°F

55°F

58°F

63°F

57°F
NEWS STORIES

Students Learn Ancient Art of Making Maple SugarSubmitted: 05/10/2013
Story By Kailey Burton


Photos By Kailey Burton

LAC DU FLAMBEAU - Centuries ago, the Native Ojibwe tribes sometimes had to rely on maple trees to survive the winter. Making sugar is an ancient art passed down through the generations. Learning this skill can teach more than you might think.

"Patience is something that's in short demand with our young people today. Everything is done as fast as we can get it done... We have 4G phones, everything is as fast as we can do it. But our culture teaches us to be patient," said Wayne Valliere, a language and culture instructor at Lac du Flambeau School.

That lesson is echoed in the slow and steady drip of the sap into a bucket. Slowly but surely the sap runs from the trees. It takes patience as much as knowledge to turn that sap into sugar. Middle school students in the culture program at Lac du Flambeau's school are learning the basics of an old tradition.

"Me and Max are the two youngest ones in Flambeau that know how to make maple sugar," said 7th grader Dallas Hart, "It's something I always wanted to try…. I'd like to do it every year so I can have some maple sugar, and give some to the elders."

"This is a piece of our history," said a language and culture instructor Greg Johnson, "By giving this gift back to our youth, it's not only showing Ojibwe sustainability, but we're also teaching them about the environment,"

"There's also science and mathematics," adds Valliere, "We incorporate that into our culture…That's how our culture stays alive, it's living... It's not put on a CD-ROM and left on some dusty shelf in some library. Our culture is alive and well in Waswagoning, and it lives in our young people as you can see."

In the middle of the sweet steam from the maple sap, are lessons on the delicate balance of nature. Maple sugar once kept the Ojibwe alive in the leanest time of year. Like the environment, making sugar requires careful attention.

"If we burn it, it'll taste like burnt sugar and we won't want that," says Max, "Cause if we burn it there's no going back."

"We are planting the seed of positive identity in our young people," says Valliere, "They're learning their language, they're learning their history, they're learning what their ancestors did 500 years ago, as well as 100 years ago, as well as 50 years ago."

Today the Anishinaabe process for making sugar has evolved with the times. A propane tank brings the thickened sap to a solid in under an hour. Still this modern convenience doesn't spare them much of the hard work along the way.

"They hauled a lot of firewood out of the woods, they worked very hard... They were quite tired at the end of the day. So was I and so was Greg! And we kept going. Because the sugar waits for no one. It's on grandmother earth's terms."

"I did not know how the processes went before I started sugaring…. and now that I do, I can probably do it by myself," said Max.

"We know that the footprint that we're leaving as educators is a good one," says Valliere, "So that our ancestors that left that by the road for us, they're happy. They're happy today because the footprint we're leaving is a good one."


Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS
Driver found dead after hit-and-run, shootingSubmitted: 08/30/2014

MILWAUKEE - Police say a male driver has been found dead -- apparently shot after a hit-and-run in Milwaukee.

Authorities say the driver was found dead Friday night in a vehicle that had gone off the road and hit a pole at 31st and Hope.

During their investigation, police learned the driver had been involved in a hit-and-run just a few blocks away. A male who was possibly associated with that first accident shot at the other driver -- who fled, lost control of his vehicle, and hit the pole.

+ Read More
Soaring through the trees, Labor Day weekend fun Submitted: 08/30/2014

Play Video

MINOCQUA - Despite the dreary weather we experienced Saturday, people still soared through the trees in Minocqua on this Labor Day weekend.

Northwoods Zip Line hosted its first Zip Line Extravaganza just off of Highway 51.

People normally would fly through the woods on a regular day, but the owner added interesting games such as using water balloons to hit targets.

Some might think rain would run customers away from the outdoor activities, but the owner believes rain makes it just as fun compared to a sunny day.

+ Read More
Cancer patient gets dying wish, weds woman he lovesSubmitted: 08/30/2014

GREEN BAY - When Harley Thomas learned in August that he would have just three months to live, he told his doctors he wanted nothing more than to marry the woman he loves.

The Cancer Team at Bellin Health granted that wish, and hosted a wedding for Thomas and Lori Feeley on Thursday. Area businesses donated everything from Feeley's dress to the cake.

Thomas and Feeley have been together nearly nine years. They planned to marry before, but were in and out of homelessness and didn't have the money.

+ Read More
UPDATE: 12-year-old boy drowns in hotel poolSubmitted: 08/30/2014

MILWAUKEE - A 12-year-old boy is dead after apparently drowning in a hotel pool in Milwaukee.

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office says Zay-Vun Mooreland of Milwaukee died Friday night at the Rodeway Inn & Suites.

A message left with the hotel manager was not immediately returned Saturday.

The medical examiner's report says Mooreland could not swim. He was in the pool with his siblings and a cousin when his older brother went into deep water with Mooreland on his back. The brother began to struggle in the deep water.

+ Read More
Potato Fest draws in large crowd, teaches kids about agricultureSubmitted: 08/30/2014

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Potato salad, french fries, mashed potatoes...just about every form of potato was at the second annual Potato Fest in Rhinelander Saturday.

"[We've got] great food. We have just about every single food that can be made with a potato. We have lots of fun games," said the 67th Alice in Dairyland Zoey Brooks. "We have potato sack races, the potato dig for kids, and the Wisconsin spud mobile is here as well."

There were a few changes to the event this year. Event organizers made sure people had something to do every minute at Potato Fest.

+ Read More
Neon Glow Fun Run lights up stormy nightSubmitted: 08/30/2014

Play Video

PRENTICE - Nearly 100 people didn't let storms keep them from running a 5K Friday night. The Prentice Pines Golf Course turned into a glowing 5K course for the second annual Neon Glow Fun Run.

People dressed up in their brightest outfits. They also wore a lot of glow sticks.

Organizers started the event last year to bring people together the night before Prentice Progress Days community festival starts. The event also raises money for the Prentice Fire Department and Ambulance Services through raffles and food sales.

+ Read More
Couch potato race promotes physical activitySubmitted: 08/30/2014

Play Video

RHINELANDER - One type of potato you couldn't find at Potato Fest this year was a couch potato. Leaders at the YMCA of the Northwoods helped promote health and staying active by putting on the second annual couch potato race.

Teams of racers had to build a moving couch and push it down Brown Street in downtown Rhinelander. They also had to finish obstacle courses along the way.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 




Click Here