Commemoration of the Treaty of 1854
Sunday will be the museum's annual open house, with admission by donation.
This event is a commemoration of the Treaty of 1854, which was signed at La Pointe on Madeline Island. This important treaty established the first Ojibwe reservations in Wisconsin and stipulated the rights of the Ojibwe to hunt, gather and fish in the ceded territories in perpetuity.
With an exhibit on Ojibwe treaty rights from the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, and screenings of "Mikwendaagoziwag" (“They Are Remembered”) about the Sandy Lake tragedy and Chief Buffalo’s journey to Washington, D.C. — screened at 1:00 pm each day.
Gitchi Bezhike (Great Buffalo)
Chief Buffalo was born at La Pointe around 1759. He was a highly revered chief, member of the Loon Clan, and hereditary leader of the La Pointe Band of Ojibwe (Anishinaabe). He was respected as a great civic leader, warrior, peacemaker, and orator. Bezhike was a signatory of the 1795 Treaty of Greenville, the 1825 Treaty of Prairie Du Chien, the 1837 Treaty of Fort Snelling, and the 1842 and 1854 Treaties, signed at La Pointe. The 1854 Treaty established permanent reservations for the Ojibwe people and guaranteed perpetual hunting, fishing, and gathering rights for future generations.
Buffalo was a charismatic individual of “strong mind and unusual intellect” who possessed “great oratorical powers.” He was described as “…grave and dignified, indicating a great thoughtfulness...” and “a temperate man in all things and very industrious; a man of immense frame and iron constitution,” according to Benjamin Armstrong.
Great Chief Buffalo died at the age of 96 and is buried on Madeline Island, where ceremonies are still held in his honor. His legacy is continued by his sons and daughters and their descendents who serve as leaders, historians, lawyers, and teachers for the Ojibwe people.