Ojibwe Tribes Want Madeline Island Registered As Historic Site

Island Is Sacred Home For Bad River, Red Cliff Tribes

P. Ignatius Murphy (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Two Ojibwe tribes are seeking to nominate an island on Lake Superior for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, a move that may affect how construction or expansion projects move forward there.

Madeline Island is a sacred homeland for the Red Cliff and Bad River bands of Lake Superior Chippewa. The tribes’ migration story says they were told to travel west until they reached the place where food grows on water.

Army Corps of Engineers Archaeologist Brad Johnson said the island won’t receive any cut and dried protections if it’s eligible for listing.

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“It means Madeline Island would receive additional consideration as an historic property during our permit evaluations,” he said.

Red Cliff Tribal Chairman Bryan Bainbridge said the tribes want to preserve their history.

“It’s not to make anybody’s life hard to get a project done, but out of respect to what the culture was there and still is there,” said Bainbridge.

Johnson said the Army Corps and the state need to agree on whether Madeline Island is eligible for listing on the National Register.