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University of Wisconsin–Madison
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The Wisconsin Idea in Action

Wiigwaasi-Jiimaan: These Canoes Carry Culture

Wayne Valliere was the Windgate artist in residence from September to November 2013. He built a birchbark canoe in the woodshop in the Art Department, working with UW students and faculty as well as middle and high school students from the Goodman Community Center and the ENVISION program in Lac du Flambeau. Wisconsin Humanities Council funding helped support the outreach work with the teens. Materials gathering began over the summer with multiple trips to Lac du Flambeau to gather bark, cedar, pitch and spruce root. Ph.D. students from the folklore program participated, as did professor Tom Dubois. Local Lac du Flambeau kids also worked in the woods with Valliere and learned some of the Ojibwe cultural traditions.


The project strengthened connections with the Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe and brought many ENVISION kids from Lac du Flambeau to the UW campus. The students had the chance to tour the Art Department, and Aaron Birdbear gave them a campus tour. They worked hard on the canoe and attended the launch on Nov. 21, 2013 at the Memorial Union.

Focus Areas

Project Leader

Tom Loeser

School or College
School of Education

This project was last updated on Apr 26, 2019. Do you have an update for this project? Find out how to contribute.