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

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer

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

"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.

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


VILAS COUNTY - An economic group in Vilas County can thank a local casino for a recent donation.

The Lake of the Torches Resort Casino presented members of the Vilas County Economic Development Corporation (VCEDC)with a $2,000 donation.

The donation happened earlier this month.

+ Read More

RHINELANDER - Not everyone has time to go to the gym during the holiday season, but there still things you can do to stay active at home.

"While you're watching T.V., you can be on the ground doing sit-ups or planks –just anything," says Sheri Gaber, a fitness specialist at personal trainer at Tone Zone Fitness in Rhinelander. "Just keep moving. Keep that sedentary time down."

+ Read More

BLACKWELL - The Blackwell Job Corps Center in Forest County will celebrate its 50th anniversary next week. Students and staff will celebrate the occasion on Monday, November 30th.

They'll have a cake cutting ceremony at 3:00 p.m. The community is invited to join the students and staff in the recreation hall from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.

+ Read More

MINOCQUA - Shops in downtown Minocqua want a new way to draw customers to their businesses. The restart of the Minocqua Island Business Association comes at a perfect time, with the beginning of the holiday shopping season.

Those businesses want to team up to attract people to downtown Minocqua. It's a more specific mission than the Minocqua Area Chamber of Commerce.

+ Read More

ST. GERMAIN - Ringing in the holiday season can be a special time of year for families.

+ Read More

MADISON - The Wisconsin Supreme Court says state troopers can stop motorists for littering.

The court ruled Wednesday in a case involving Daniel S. Iverson of Amery. Iverson was driving in La Crosse in 2014 when a state trooper pulled him over after he saw someone throw a cigarette out of the vehicle in violation of the state's littering law and cited Iverson for drunken driving.

+ Read More

Play Video

MERRILL - Within a few months, Merrill Schools will officially protect transgender students under its nondiscrimination policy. Transgender students have received statewide attention lately—not for who they are, but for which bathroom they use.

Merrill is among the districts paying attention to the state conversation closely. Right now, Merrill expects its students to use the bathroom that matches the gender they declare during school registration.

+ Read More
+ More General News

Click Here