Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians

A group of people stand in a brightly-lit concrete tunnel where colorful artwork covers the walls.
Kaye LaFond / Interlochen Public Radio

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Monday for new artwork installed in the Clinch Park tunnel in downtown Traverse City. The art honors the Anishinaabek, people indigenous to the region — specifically, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.

“Mazinaadin,” the name of the new exhibition, translates to “make an image” in Anishinaabemowin. The project is a collaboration between the Traverse City Arts Council and the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.

Tribal chairman Sam McClellan said walking through Clinch Park tunnel was “awesome.”

New public art in Traverse City's Clinch Park Tunnel honors Anishinaabe heritage. The murals were painted by artist Bobby Magee Lopez from Denver, Colorado.
Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

New public art is now on display in Traverse City at the Clinch Park Tunnel, and it once again features art murals honoring the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.

Algae grows on submerged pipelines on a lake bottom.
University of Michigan

Indigenous governments and activists in the Great Lakes have been leaders in the movement to shut down the twin oil pipelines that run under the Mackinac Straits.

Now, one of the most visible people in that movement has left his tribal government job and set up his own consulting firm. One of his clients? The pipelines’ owner, Enbridge Energy.

This sudden change has upset indigenous communities in the region, and some worry it’s a “divide-and-conquer” tactic.

Today on Stateside, as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) prepares to hold its 110th National Convention in Detroit this weekend, how can the organization attract and empower young activists? Plus, why a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians is addressing a group of world leaders at the United Nations in Geneva this week.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, local governments across Michigan aren't letting recreational marijuana businesses open in city limits. But residents in one village Up North are trying to overrule their local government's decision – something that could set a precedent statewide. Plus, a look at one northern Michigan tribe’s maple sugaring operation. 


Two men in conservation officer uniforms smile and eat pancakes in a steamy barn
Kaye LaFond / Interlochen Public Radio

Maple sugaring season is just wrapping up in northern Michigan. This delicious tradition of boiling maple sap to make syrup is practiced in the state on many scales.

But Indigenous communities in the area were tapping trees long before settlers arrived.

This year, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians is reviving sugaring knowledge for their citizens.

One of the concept paintings submitted by Colorado-based artist Bobby Lopez. He was selected by the Traverse City Arts Commission to honor Anishinabek culture in the Clinch Park tunnel mural.
Bobby Lopez

There used to be Anishinabek art in the Clinch Park Tunnel in downtown Traverse City. But in 2013, the tunnel was remodeled and the art was painted over. Now, the Traverse City Arts Commission is returning native American art to the tunnel. 

 


The Clinch Park tunnel in Traverse City will soon be home to new public art. The city commission unanimously approved the location and $10,000 in public funding for the project on Monday. Artists around the country will now submit designs for the tunnel walls.

Colin Shea

Saturdays are for selling fish. On this Saturday, Ed and Cindi John aim to earn a week's income in only five hours.

Cindi unfolds the tables while Ed drags big, blue coolers off their truck bed. They’re filled to the brim with fish – cisco, lake trout and lake trout patties.

“We come out rain or shine,” says Cindi. “If it’s pouring rain, we’ll be here.”

 

Tribal chairman fends off recall attempt

Apr 6, 2018
Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians

The leader of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians will keep his job.

Tribal Chairman Sam McClellan was the target of a recall election this week. Voters narrowly elected to keep McClellan despite accusations he misused a tribal credit card last year.

McClellan says those accusations are false.

“The issue they were trying to recall me on was all fabricated,” says McClellan. “There was nothing there, and it’s sad that our nation – the Grand Traverse Band – that we would take it that far.”

Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians

Members of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians will vote in a tribal election next week.

They will be choosing candidates for the tribal council, and they will also be asked whether or not to recall Tribal Chairman Thurlow “Sam” McClellan.

McClellan has been accused of misusing tribal credit cards during a trip to Washington, D.C. last year. But he’s also been an outspoken critic of the Tribal Council’s plan to build a new casino.

The Eyaawing Museum was designed around this central exhibit. A pair of mated eagles were doing a bonding ritual where they lock talons and freefall together. Their wing tips hit two powerlines and the pair were electrocuted to death.
Morgan Springer

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.

Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy

Efforts to conserve northern Michigan’s rural landscape just got a huge boost from the federal government. An $8-million dollar grant is headed to a coalition of local conservation groups. 

The money will help preserve local farmland and restore waterways. It comes through a part of the federal farm bill authored by Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow.

“This is a really exciting new beginning," says Glen Chown of the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. "I think it will change the face of conservation going forward, for the better.”

Ruby John performs in many fiddle styles, including Métis.
Aaron Selbig

America has long been thought of as a melting pot; a place where people from different backgrounds come together and in so doing, create new and unique cultures. As the fur trade in the upper Great Lakes region blossomed in the late 1600’s, French voyageurs and trappers began to marry Native American women. People with this mix of native and European heritage became known as Métis. 

Métis is a French word that roughly translated means “mixed blood” or “of mixed descent.”


More sex crime charges for Native American leader

Aug 20, 2015
Peter Payette

UPDATE: Today, Grand Traverse County prosecutors charged Derek Bailey with two counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct and with being a sexually delinquent person.

Bob Cooney, prosecuting attorney for Grand Traverse County, says, "These are just allegations, but the idea of a sexually delinquent person is that it’s not just a one-time act. Because of repetitive behaviors, the statute is designed to give the court more discretion to fashion a sentence that is protective of the public." 

Peter Payette

A tribal councilor in Leelanau County is accused of criminal sexual conduct. The charges against Derek Bailey involve girls under the age of 13.

Bailey is a council member for the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. He was formerly the chair of the council and also ran for state office in 2012.

Now he faces five counts of criminal sexual conduct and the most serious charges, first degree, could get him a life sentence. Bailey’s attorney says he plans to plead not guilty.