Pokegama and Gaaginwaajiwanaag
Every place has its history. And the people of a place are shaped by its history. But the history they learn depends on who tells it. The Mississippi River and its tributaries in what is now Itasca County have been inhabited for millennia by people indigenous to the North American continent. Prior to settlement by Euro-Americans in the late 1800s, families of the Pokegama Band of the Mississippi Ojibwe had called this place home for over a century. Yet almost none of their history is evident today in the towns of La Prairie, Grand Rapids, and Cohasset, nor in the stories these communities tell of themselves. Descendants of these families live across Minnesota, yet remarkably few live in these communities.
This project is a work-in-progress to retrieve the stories and history that have been neglected, ignored, and buried as the forests were shipped downstream and the waters rose with the dams. It is time to reconstruct a more complete and honest public narrative of just what went down at a place called Pokegama. This event is included in regular site admission.