Visit to Eyaawing Museum an alternative to Columbus ships

Aug 18, 2017

Two replicas of Christopher Columbus’ ships have drawn protests from Native American groups. The boats – called the Niña and Pinta – are touring the Great Lakes this summer and are now tied up in Grand Traverse Bay at the Clinch Park Marina.

The Columbus Foundation, which owns the boats, says the Niña and Pinta will educate the public on the type of ships "Columbus used to discover a new world in 1492."

A statement from the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians says:

In most ways the boats are no different from any of the various tourist activities offered throughout the area by representing the past in present replica physical form. But in several critical ways, they are uniquely damaging, because the replica ships represent the narrative of "discovery" of the "new world" by European claimants and the devastating consequences of the "discovery" for indigenous people. The Nina and Pinta are symbols of a standard and system of thought that should be repugnant to the American ideals of equality and property rights for all people.

In that same statement, the Band invited people to come to the Eyaawing Museum in Peshawbestown to learn more about their history and culture.


This traditional, cedar canoe was found buried in Lake Leelanau. Square-headed screws indicate it was repaired in the 1800s. The original date it was built is unknown.
Credit Morgan Springer
The Durant Roll is a census of Ottawa and Chippewa tribes living in Michigan from 1870 to 1907.
Credit Morgan Springer
Tribal members set up camp at what is now downtown Traverse City near where the Boardman River meets Grand Traverse Bay.
Credit Morgan Springer
Museum Director Cindy Winslow watches as the male and female bald eagle exhibit slowly rotates in the museum's main circular gallery. The eagles are regarded as messengers to the Creator for Native people.
Credit Morgan Springer
This newer exhibit shows how Native people lived around the period of time when non-natives began coming to Michigan. Pictured are a replica of a traditional wigwam, hides and snowshoes.
Credit Morgan Springer