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Recreating a challenging past: the restoration of the Boys Dormitory in Lac du FlambeauSubmitted: 02/01/2014

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com


LAC DU FLAMBEAU - Painful memories tempt us to try and forget the past.

In Lac du Flambeau, they're doing just the opposite.

"We can't ever let anybody forget that this had happened to our people and that
we had survived," says Melinda Young.

"These are the schools that were designed to assimilate the Native Americans of
this country into the American cultures," says Travis Maki.

A U.S. Government-run Boarding School took that mission to Lac du Flambeau from
1895 to 1932.

"The ultimate goal was to completely eliminate native cultures altogether," Maki
says.

"You don't hear about this in textbooks. I lived in this community my entire
life and did not know that this was a boarding school," Young says.

But by the middle of this year, the boarding school story will be on full display.

Young and Maki both work for the tribe's historic preservation initiative and
are working on the boarding school project.

Physically restoring what, for 27 years, was the Boys Dormitory at the school
will help restore a part of the Lac du Flambeau tribe's history.

"This hallway will mirror exactly what this building looked like in 1906. The
ultimate design is to have that visual impact of what these students were coming
into when they were brought to this school initially," Maki says, showing off
the entrance to the Boys Dormitory.

The Boarding School will be open for visitors to experience what native children
did so many decades ago.

It will also be the hub of the Ojibwe language and historic preservation programs.

Many of the rooms will mirror what they looked like in the early 20th century.

"We had an elder that had attended in the 1920s. We did a walkthrough with him,
and he told us what each of these rooms was for," Maki says.

Leaders hope a step back into the tribe's historic culture will provide another
reason for people to visit Lac du Flambeau.

"You have families coming. So it's providing an opportunity for families to do
something in our community together," says Young.

Painful as some of the memories may be, historic leaders are working to make
sure they're told at the Boys Dormitory.

"It's part of our history. We talk about World War I and Vietnam and everything
else. This is a fact of our history. It cannot be forgotten," Young says.

The Boys Dormitory should open to the public in June.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 07/28/2016

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We look into the history of the Eagle River man who was shot and killed by officers outside of Merrill Tuesday morning after he was pulled over in Antigo, shot at a police officer and lead police into a chase that took them to Lincoln County.

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

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ANTIGO - When you can't catch fish, it's easy to blame the lure. If you need something different, people in Antigo make a lure that you might want to try. The Mepps assembly plant is located right off Highway 45.

Mepps fishing lures were originally made in Paris, France, starting in 1938. Back in the 1970's, a local Antigo sporting goods store owner, Todd Sheldon, decided to buy that facility and moved it to Nice, France. His son, Mike is now the president of the company.

"The guys that own the Mepps company in France were getting old enough to where they wanted to retire so we bought the Mepps company in France in 1972," said Sheldon.

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There are many benefits to using real hair as opposed to artificial hair.

"The hair is hollow and goes through a lot of wear and tear," said Wiegert. "Other hairs would disintegrate, and fall apart. With these, it'll last longer, the fish can bite on them and it'll take a long time before they'll actually chew them apart."

Along with the hairs, there is a secret way to put the lures together that makes Mepps the best.

"We have a certain wind that we have and we can tell when we put them together, how it should be. All of our spinners are field tested before they actually go out," said Wiegert.

Even though the company distributes their product around the world, the Sheldon's still enjoy being based in Antigo.

"It's home. I grew up here and my parents grew up here and of course my kids did. And it's such a different pace of life here than the rest of the world," said Sheldon.

Everyone putting the little pieces together are women. Kim is just one who works in the plant that has been there for nearly 40 years. She also gives tours of the facility to the public.

"I like to react with the people when they come in, especially ones that have fishing stories to tell you. It's interesting here and you get to meet other people," said Wiegert.

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ALLOUEZ - A state senator says some radios didn't work at Green Bay's maximum security prison the day a corrections officer was attacked.

State Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, is requesting an independent review of problems at the Green Bay Correctional Institution in Allouez.

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MADISON - Wisconsin's top health officials says the state's long-term care programs for the elderly and disabled will be available statewide by early 2018.

The programs Family Care and IRIS, which stands for Include, Respect I Self-Direct, are designed to keep 55,000 elderly and disabled people out of nursing homes by offering care in their own homes. Wisconsin Department of Health Services Interim Secretary Tom Engels announced Thursday the programs would expand to the final seven of Wisconsin's 72 counties.

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THREE LAKES - Research shows that lakes with no shoreline development generally produce bigger, faster-growing fish. Lakes with heavily developed shorelines--full of homes, lawns, beaches, and docks--have the opposite effect.

Researchers at the UW-Madison Trout Lake Station in Boulder Junction want to know more about that dynamic.

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