Cultural History Articles

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Celebrate the Apostle Islands during National Park Week, April 20-28

Celebrate the Apostle Islands during National Park Week, April 20-28

The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is a national treasure. It's also one of more than 400 national parks being celebrated during this special nine-day event, April 20-28, 2024.Video courtesy National Park ServiceThe National Park Service has given each day a theme: Saturday, April 20: Discovery What will you discover? A new place, a new interesting fact, a new activity. For parks that have them, entrance fees are waived on this day. (The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore does not charge entrance fees.) Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is doing an Earth Day Community...

Meet the park’s new Cultural Resource Manager Ed Jakaitis

Meet the park’s new Cultural Resource Manager Ed Jakaitis

The incoming Cultural Resources Manager at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore has big boots to fill and a lot of responsibilities to embrace. Edward Jakaitis started in October, taking the reigns from the now retired Dave "Coop" Cooper. In his new role, Ed serves as the park’s cultural resource subject matter expert and advisor to the management team. He secures funding for cultural resource projects and partners with non-profit organizations (including Friends), local tribes, agencies, academia and the public in the preservation of cultural resources. And that's just the start of his...

A conversation with Ojibwe Education Park Ranger Peyton Martinson

A conversation with Ojibwe Education Park Ranger Peyton Martinson

In August, 2023, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, in partnership with Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, announced Peyton Martinson as the newly appointed park ranger cultural educator for Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. “In her new role, Peyton will work with the park’s visitor service and education team to enhance public and staff understanding of Ojibwe culture and help integrate Ojibwe language, traditional knowledge, and Ojibwe perspectives into park operations,” said Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Superintendent Lynne Dominy. “She will continue to work with Ojibwe...

Prescribed cultural burn planned for Stockton Island tombolo this fall, weather permitting

Prescribed cultural burn planned for Stockton Island tombolo this fall, weather permitting

BAYFIELD, WISCONSIN (National Park Service News Release) –The National Park Service, in collaboration with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and Tribal partners, is planning a 33-acre prescribed fire on Stockton Island (Wiisaakodewan-minis) between September 13 and October 15, if weather conditions permit. This prescribed fire will be a cultural burn; objectives include restoring globally imperiled pine barrens habitat with an emphasis on increasing blueberry (miin) production. Cultural burns take Indigenous Knowledge, which is a deep knowledge of a place that has been painstakingly...

A conversation with Ojibwe Education Park Ranger Peyton Martinson

New Ojibwe educator hired for Apostle Islands National Lakeshore (Wenabozho ominisan)

Bayfield, WI – (National Park Service news release) Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, in partnership with Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, announce Peyton Martinson as the newly appointed park ranger cultural educator for Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. “In her new role, Peyton will work with the park’s visitor service and education team to enhance public and staff understanding of Ojibwe culture and help integrate Ojibwe language, traditional knowledge, and Ojibwe perspectives into park operations,” said Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Superintendent Lynne Dominy. “She...

Marigolds, lighthouse keepers and perseverance – the rest of the story

Marigolds, lighthouse keepers and perseverance – the rest of the story

Several weeks ago, Friends of the Apostle Islands ran a story featurng the Edgar Guest poem connecting lighthouses, the age of automation and the end of an era for caretaker families who brought life, meaning, human touch, and memories to the stoic buildings that dot our shores.The poem ends with the line, “And will ever that automatic thing plant marigolds in early spring?” And the story noted my tradition of planting marigolds on my deck each spring, as homage to those families.Well, I have a new family to introduce to you. Ever get the feeling you’re being watched? From under the canopy...

Friends volunteers follow in the footsteps of Michigan Island keepers and gardeners

Friends volunteers follow in the footsteps of Michigan Island keepers and gardeners

It’s a tough act to follow the lightkeepers of old. They were known for tending things - be it brass, the tower light or their flowers. Their gardens at the light stations reflected sincere diligence and pride. Each spring, usually the second week in June, Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore volunteers follow in their footsteps, board a park service boat bound for Michigan Island, and tend to the gardens.“We always wonder what shape the gardens will be in, who survived, or what plants have multiplied. And then there are the weeds. No matter the condition, I am always amazed at...

Marigolds: A simple tribute to a different era in the Apostle Islands

Marigolds: A simple tribute to a different era in the Apostle Islands

If you are ever lucky enough to be invited to sit on the deck at photographer Mark Weller’s home, you may notice a small planting of marigolds. Flowers on a deck are nothing unusual and you may not give the potted flowers a second thought. But look again. These flowers have more than beautiful blossoms: they have a story.“I am a lighthouse man,” Mark Weller says. “Over the past decade, I and a team of talented photographers have traveled to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore to photograph the Milky Way behind some of the park’s famous lighthouses. We sell the images to support the...

Dave Cooper awarded John L. Cotter Award for Excellence in NPS Archeology

Dave Cooper awarded John L. Cotter Award for Excellence in NPS Archeology

(NPS News Release) Join us in congratulating David J. Cooper, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Archeologist and Cultural Resource Manager, in being awarded the John L. Cotter Award for Excellence in NPS Archeology for Professional Achievement. “Dave Cooper’s work shows the impact one person can have not only within a park, but across a whole landscape,” said Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Superintendent Lynne Dominy. “Dave has spent his lifetime protecting the historical and cultural resources on and around Lake Superior. From portages to fish camps to lighthouses and shipwrecks, Dave...

Friends volunteers lend their green thumbs, time and talent on Michigan Island

Friends volunteers lend their green thumbs, time and talent on Michigan Island

Gardening is an important part of the history of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Early lighthouse keepers planted fruit trees, vegetables and grains to provide nourishment for the body; they also planted flower gardens to nourish the soul. On Michigan Island, Elizabeth Lane raised three children where her husband, Ed, was keeper from 1902 until he retired in 1938. She also cultivated some amazing gardens. Of Elizabeth, Coast Guard Chief Walter Parker said,“How she used to love to get up to that island and get at that garden of hers. That whole station was one mass of...