NEWS STORIES

Students Learn Ancient Art of Making Maple SugarSubmitted: 05/10/2013

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."


Story By: Kailey Burton
Photo By: Kailey Burton

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Correction: Northwoods man initially charged with attempted homicide, takes plea deal Submitted: 04/23/2014

LAC DU FLAMBEAU - We want to correct a mistake we made in our Newscasts at ten last night and again this morning.

The story was about 31-year old James Peterson of Lac du Flambeau, who accepted a plea deal.

We wrongly said he had originally been charged with first degree intentional homicide.

He actually had been charged with attempted first degree intentional homicide, and was convicted of reduced charges.

We apologize for that error.

Witnesses told police Peterson showed up to a party with a knife and drunkenly started a fight.

Other witnesses say Peterson was attacked.

This week he accepted a plea deal.

Peterson pleaded no contest to hurting someone by carelessly using a weapon.

He was also found guilty of a second O-W-I.

Peterson will find out his sentence in August.

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Sen. Tammy Baldwin ttalking politics at Marquette University Submitted: 04/23/2014

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The 52-year-old was elected to the Senate in 2012. She previously spent 14 years in Congress, and before that was in the state Assembly for six years.

She serves on the Senate's budget committee, as well as committees involving homeland security, health, aging and natural resources.

A Marquette Law School poll last month said her favorable and unfavorable ratings were both 35 percent. Another 27 percent said they didn't know enough about her to form an opinion.

The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

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Cooking for people with multiple, chronic health conditions Submitted: 04/22/2014

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But being careful with how you cook doesn't mean your meal has to be bland.

One dietician teaches the "Cooking for Multiple Diseases" class at Nicolet College in Minocqua.

People taking her class need help finding the best recipes for their conditions.

"Maybe they have diabetes and their spouse has heart disease. Or other people in the family may have a different disease," said Mary Sikora-Petersen, a Registered dietician. "They want to know, how [to] cook a meal that's going to be for everybody in the family."

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It's time to start looking out for ticksSubmitted: 04/22/2014

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Northwoods students celebrate Earth DaySubmitted: 04/22/2014

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LAC DU FLAMBEAU - People from all over the Northwoods celebrated Earth Day today. Students at Lac du Flambeau school participated in a natural resources fair today.

Classes, groups and individual students submitted projects to be judged. By doing the projects they learned the importance of Earth Day.

“Polluting could harm the earth and if that harms the earth later on we won't have a better earth to do stuff on like camping, or fishing, hiking and taking walks,” says Sky Risingsun, a Lac du Flambeau student.

35 projects were judged in the science competition. Each student was given a white spruce seed to take home and plant in their own yard.


“It's a white spruce which is a native tree to this area,” says Bryan Hoover, Lac du Flambeau Energy and Air Quality Coordinator. “We've got almost 500 of them and every student is going to take one home so that they can pick a spot in their yard to plant the new tree and watch that tree grow as it matures.”

This was the 2nd annual natural resources fair.

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The backlog is because of massive case of laggard claims processing across the nation.

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