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Isle Royale Families and Friends Association Presentation to Phyllis Green, Superintendent, Isle Royale National Park

Mar 31, 2015



  • Slide 1

Isle Royale Families and Friends Association Presentation to Phyllis Green, Superintendent, Isle Royale National Park Slide 2 Our Mission To continue the over 100 year-presence of our family heritage, culture and rich human tradition on Isle Royale; to assure preservation of historic family dwellings; to enhance the experience of NPS staff and Park visitors by serving as authentic links to Isle Royales rich human history Slide 3 Our Organization Board of Directors & Officers President-David C. Barnum Vice President-Grant Merritt Treasurer-Todd Strom Secretary-Carla Anderson Assistant Secretary-Sally Orsborn At Large Board Members-Brian Bergson Merritt, Stuart Sivertson Slide 4 Recent Activities Website launched 2002 Meetings held, both on Isle Royale and in Minneapolis Election of Board of Directors Revised Mission Statement Incorporation in Minnesota Meeting with you! Slide 5 We can be in Partnership with NPS-We are a Resource on Isle Royale! Slide 6 We provide a continuity because of our long family association with Isle Royale NPS personnel tend to change frequently. New personnel have benefited by their interactions with original family members. We are source of local knowledge for visitors and staff. We have a great deal of experience operating on the land and the water. We are an added safety element to the unpredictable waters of Lake Superior and have been involved with dozens of rescues and provided assistance to distressed visitors over the years. Slide 7 We help to enforce NPS rules and model proper conduct on the island to new visitors. Our presence has enhanced the experience of visitors either through dialog at the dock,on the boats or even when they pass by our dwellings and imagine the seemingly unchanged life on Isle Royale for over 100 years. Slide 8 We maintain and preserve historic structure that: are where our ancestors lived going back up to 6 generations. A unique phenomenon in America. are part of the fabric and landscape of Isle Royales unique scenery. maintain a realistic picture of the actual history of Isle Royale, not manufactured wilderness. it is not difficult to imagine that future generations will lament the loss of many of these structures as a unique insight into what life was like in the early 20 th century Slide 9 Slide 10 Slide 11 We are a databank of knowledge and information on the history of Isle Royale Slide 12 About important events-not only how they impacted the history of Isle Royale, but a deeper context about the feelings and thoughts of the people who experienced these events. Like the sinking of the America. Slide 13 The examination of the suitability of Isle Royale to become a National Park. Slide 14 The creation of the park and the granting of life-leases Slide 15 The Wenonah era Slide 16 About practices, traditions and belief systems, unique to Isle Royale, Lake Superior, and island living. Slide 17 Slide 18 About significant, but sometimes forgotten people who greatly impacted the lives of the people of Isle Royale Slide 19 The human impact that the National Park Service had on the original families of Isle Royale. Slide 20 There is a growing movement to re- examine and protect the cultural history and to allow traditionally associated people to continue their practices and lives in National Parks Slide 21 The Apostles are thus a superb example of a wilderness in which natural and human histories are intimately intermingled. To acknowledge past human impacts upon these islands is not to call into question their wildness; it is rather to celebrate, along with the human past, the robust ability of wild nature to sustain itself when people give it the freedom it needs to flourish in their midst. Slide 22 the riddle we need to answer is how to manage the Apostle Islands as a historical wilderness, in which we commit ourselves not to erasing human marks on the land, but rather to interpreting them so that visitors can understand just how intricate and profound this process of rewilding truly is. William Cronon Slide 23 Slide 24 V. Nurturing Living Cultures and Communities The National Park Service should help conserve the irreplaceable connections that ancestral and indigenous people have with the parks. These connections should be nurtured for future generations. Parks should become sanctuaries for expressing and reclaiming ancient feelings of place. Efforts should be made to connect these peoples with parks and to strengthen their living cultures. A formal Heritage Areas program should be established to support partnerships among communities, so that the full scope of the American experience is revealed. Slide 25 We Propose a Shift in the Paradigm In partnership with NPS, we will produce an interpretive program that can be given by designated, and trained original family members at Windigo and Rock Harbor on a scheduled basis. Conduct tours of historic sites of interest such as Barnum Island, Washington Island, Belle Isle area, Tobin Harbor, and Fishermans Home. This could be coordinated with programs of the Isle Royale Institute. We are working with documentary film maker and photo journalist Dave Stokes to produce a documentary of Isle Royale and its history and people. Would like to work with NPS to make this happen. Our group can volunteer in a variety of ways and even provide funding that benefits NPS goals in preserving the cultural history. Slide 26 This is serious business. We know that this is not about maintaining a special privilege for an elite few. Without this paradigm shift, the authentic culture that currently exists at Isle Royale will soon wither and die forever. You must decide if this is for the betterment of the island. We understand better than anyone that you have dilemma. We want to work with you to solve the riddle. We believe, for better or worse how you decide this matter will have a significant effect on the future of Isle Royale and your legacy as superintendent. Slide 27 History and Purpose of IRFFA Started 1982 Original purpose Meeting with NPS Director Dickenson in DC Thoughts on the integral role that the original families play in the park as the bearers and stewards of the island history How would the loss of the original families affect Isle Royale? To implement a 5 year moratorium on evictions of original family members To ensure a long term presence to perpetuate the cultural history on Isle Royale