Loading
Search
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
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 07/27/2016

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

A team from UW-Madison is in the Three Lakes area doing a study of fish habitat. We'll tell you what information their hoping to find in their research.

We'll take you to a violin camp in Stevens Point which is the first of its kind outside of Japan.

And we'll show you a group of Chinese students who are in Wausau learning about the American Culture.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

+ Read More

RHINELANDER - This year seems to be off to a good start for the housing market here in Wisconsin.

A new report shows the first half of 2016 was the strongest since before the Great Recession of 2008.

+ Read More

FLORENCE COUNTY - A UTV crash killed a man in Florence County.

The sheriff's department tells us 68 year old James Marquardt of Long Lake died in the crash over the weekend.

Marquardt had been riding west on Grandma Lake Road in Long Lake Township.

The UTV went out of control after Marquardt hit the brakes.

It skidded sideways, left the road and hit a tree.

Deputies think Marquardt may have been going too fast.

+ Read More

MADISON - Two girls accused of trying to kill a classmate in an attempt to please the fictional horror character Slender Man will remain in adult court for now.

TAKE VO

Slender Man Case / Still in adult court

The 2nd District Appeals court today went along with a lower court's decision that it was reasonable to try both girls as adults.

The girls could appeal the rulings to the state Supreme Court.

The girls were 12 years old in 2014 when the stabbing happened.

Authorities say, they lured their classmate into woods in Waukesha after a birthday sleepover and repeatedly stabbed her.

The victim, who was also 12, was found along a road, bleeding from wounds that nearly killed her.

+ Read More

MILWAUKEE - A judge upholds the firing of the Milwaukee police officer who killed Dontre Hamilton.

Former officer Christopher Manney was fired for his actions leading up to Hamilton's 2014 shooting, but not for the shooting itself.

Manney appealed his firing in court after losing his first appeal before the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission.

A judge found Manney was fired for violating department rules...and that his decision to frisk Hamilton escalated a routine police encounter into a catastrophe.

Hamilton was shot 14 times after Manney responded to a complaint of a man sleeping in a park.

Manney said he was attacked and he opened fire in self-defense.

The former officer was never charged in the shooting.

+ Read More

CHICAGO - Chicago's police union is asking officers to refuse to work overtime during the Labor Day weekend to protest the "disrespect" of police and the recent slayings of officers around the United States.

The department that put thousands of extra police officers on the street during other summer holiday weekends to combat an expected surge in violence says officers will be ordered to work overtime if not enough volunteer.

+ Read More

RHINELANDER - Building a robot may seem like a pretty lofty summer camp goal, but teens in the Northwoods love the technological challenge.

It's all part of a summer camp that's heavy on science and social interaction.

Thirteen-year-old Sean Timm says the eight-day robotics camp at Nicolet College mixed the best of both worlds.

"I like technology a lot more than I do outside stuff," Timm said. "It's kind of nice to have technology, like drones, to bring me outside. It's really fun."

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 




Click Here