Newscast Headlines

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Hopi Chairman Herman Honanie asks for federal assistance in efforts to halt Paris auctions scheduled for June. (Photo-Carrie Jung)

Hopi Chairman Herman Honanie is asking for federal assistance in efforts to halt upcoming Paris auctions, which include Native American objects. (Photo-Carrie Jung)

Hopi Tribe and U.S. lawmakers seek to stop Native objects from being sold

Northern California tribe and scientists warn of fish kill due to drought

Native Language Immersion Student Achievement Act introduced

Sundance Institute to host Native forum at Wayne State University in Detroit

Recent Headlines

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


The Nature Conservancy donated 160 acres of culturally significant land to the Native Village of Tyonek and the gift was celebrated recently.  (Photo-Oscar Avellaneda-Cruz)

The Nature Conservancy donated 160 acres of culturally significant land to the Native Village of Tyonek, Alaska. The community recently celebrated the gift.
(Photo-Oscar Avellaneda-Cruz)

Tribal representatives withdraw from Maine legislature

Federal officials and Congressional members to visit Native students

Alaska Native community celebrates donation of land

Navajo woman honored for role as leader in state government




In The News

Keeping Tradition Alive

Story by:  Brandon Thoms and Kim Swisher, 
Mole Lake Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians Tribal Communications Office

Keeping a close eye on the boiling sap, George Van Zile reflects upon the tradition he helps to keep alive for another generation. “My great-grandfather used to do it a long time ago when I was a kid. He used the old tin-cans and cooked it on rocks,” says Van Zile. “His name was Ike George, he was a Forest County Potawatomi Tribal Member,” continues Van Zile, who himself is a Mole Lake Tribal Member. “He used to have the rock piles (fire pit) in a U-shape and old cast-iron metal pots,” he recollects.

Accompanied by friend Ben Dewing, Van Zile tends to the sugar camp he has constructed across the road from his house east of Laona, Wisconsin. “Ben’s family has been doing this since they landed and got off the Mayflower,” says Van Zile through some light-hearted Indian humor and a laugh. “I have family out east that is also doing it.  They have a business they run, probably a couple thousand trees,” adds Dewing.

Although Van Zile’s camp is a little more modest, perhaps 130 trees tapped in total, his is much bigger in the sense that his ancestors used the forests of Michigan and Wisconsin from right around the beginning of time until now. Living in two worlds is a constant struggle of modern-day Native Americans, but Van Zile performs an ongoing balancing act, with the help of the Sokaogon Community. “I work at the Housing Authority in Mole Lake and the Tribe gives us cultural days – which is nice because you can come home and do this.  When the sap runs, you have to be there. I really appreciate that they let us do this,” he adds.

Van Zile has tapped trees since he was a child, and now passes the tradition down to his own children. “My kids get to come out every day after school. The two oldest collect the bags,” he says.  

The art of making maple syrup and maple sugar is one of patience and perseverance, and requires a keen understanding of nature. For the Sokaogon Chippewa Community, the tradition is alive and well. Van Zile enjoys what he does and says he wants to share his knowledge. “This camp is open to any Mole Lake youth who may want to learn how to do this.”