EXPERIENCE THE YEARS OF GREAT CHANGE
These Strangers in a Foreign World,
Protection asked of me –
Befriend them, lest Yourself in Heaven
Be found a Refugee.
Emily Dickinson c. 1866
The Anishinaabe Voices Committee has been researching the experience of the Native population in the Mackinaw Area during the time period depicted at Heritage Village in order to create an exhibit of the adaptation of their ancient culture. It is clear throughout the history of the arrival of European explorers and traders that the Native populations in this area shared their survival skills with these wilderness novices. The story of how these different cultures came to co-exist is one of both stress and cooperation. The new exhibit includes a plank house, built with recycled materials from the lumbering industry in which the Natives worked; a long house structure that would have been used during seasonal hunting and berry-picking excursions as well as maintaining long-held spiritual ceremonies; and a Medicine Wheel which illustrates an interpretation of life’s phases and spiritual guides. In addition, the committee is working on ways to integrate the Anishinaabe experiences and stories throughout Heritage Village. We are looking for artifacts to include in the plank house to illustrate the adaptive life from 1880 – 1917. We hope to have the long house covered with birch bark and complete construction in the plank house by late summer.
Unfortunately, our hopes for a successful internship were not realized. The intern we hired found more long-term employment. One of her goals was to market our docent program to a larger population and schedule docents at Heritage Village for the summer season. We need help to keep Heritage Village open four days a week for tours throughout our buildings. Linda Rogers, a busy board member, has stepped up to work on this activity. We need the membership is assist in this work – both to develop methods for finding more volunteers to share the story of Heritage Village and the area’s history (Do you belong to a service organization that might be receptive to providing volunteers?) and scheduling guides available from 1 – 5 PM Fridays through Mondays from Memorial Day to Labor Day (making phone calls and getting on individual’s calendars.) This work is our portal to the public. It is both rewarding and interesting to share our story and make contact with our diverse visitors.
In June and July, Heritage Village will be visited by a Lutheran service group, Special Needs campers for a day visit, and Road Scholar tours. In addition, the Mackinaw City Area Arts Council and the Mackinaw Area Historical Society will sponsor the Discovery Day Camp, July 17 through 21. Campers, from the ages of 7 to 13, will be given instruction in history, arts and science throughout the area – visiting Heritage Village, McGulpin Lighthouse, the Icebreaker Mackinaw, the regional Airport in Pellston, and sharing Native Anishinaabe crafts and history. Information and application forms are available on our website. Every Monday morning volunteers are welcome to work on the grounds and buildings in order to keep Heritage Village looking its best. We are also beginning work on improving hiking trails through May Woods, a donated 100-acre area to the South of Heritage Village – yet another volunteer opportunity.
The support of the Mackinaw Area Historical Society makes all this possible. We look forward to seeing you at Heritage Village and thank you for all you do !
Catherine Freebairn, MAHS President
Mackinaw Area Historical Society eNewsletter