Lunch & Discussion on White Earth Nation

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Ryan Wheeler Described Period of Suffering for the Tribe–and a PA Leader’s Determination to Set Things Right

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A photo taken by Warren Moorehead, during his time at White Earth (1909), of one of the Anishinaabe tribal elders who provided testimony during the federal investigation into the tribe’s suffering.

In 1909 members of Minnesota’s White Earth Nation had been cheated of their land, homes, and timber resources—many were sick, starving, or dying. The first curator of the Academy’s Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology—Warren Moorehead—exposed the fraud, and to honor his work on their behalf, tribal members presented him with elaborately beaded ceremonial regalia, an owl feather war flag, and a sacred birch bark scroll. Despite the devastating human, emotional, and spiritual loss of the early 20th century, the White Earth Anishanaabeg peWheeler_picturersisted and are now the largest tribe in Minnesota. In early December, representatives of the tribe borrowed the 200-year-old, birch-bark scroll for use in the ceremonies of the Midewiwin Medicine Society.

At a recent Lunch & Discussion at the Tang Institute, Ryan Wheeler, Director of the Peabody Museum, described recent developments in the relationship between the Peabody Museum and White Earth Nation. The event took place on Thursday, January 21, 2016, in Pearson C. It was organized in collaboration with the PA Music Department. For more information, visit the museum in person or online.

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