Accepted Paper:

Wiigiwaamikewin: making a winter lodge for an Ojibwe past and future  


Thomas DuBois (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Tim Frandy (Northland College)

Paper short abstract:

In 2016, Ojibwe educators and artists of the Lac du Flambeau Reservation built a bibooni-wiigiwaam, a traditional floor-heated, birch and cedar winter lodge. Such wigwam dwellings, once essential for winter survival, take on new meanings in a context of cultural revitalization and educational sovereignty.

Paper long abstract:

This poster presents a case study in an ongoing partnership between Lac du Flambeau reservation educators and artists and folklorists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Northland College. The project grew out of a sense of loss regarding a once ubiquitous form of housing, the bibooni-wiigiwaam, or winter lodge. Constructed of maple, birch bark, and cedar bark, the dwelling was heated by a sunken fire pit equipped with underground piping to supply outside air. Such dwellings were places of warmth and community in the winter, the time of year in which Ojibwe pooled resources to survive the harsh winter and performed traditional storytelling to teach a younger generation Ojibwe values and understandings.

By the early 2000s, no member of the tribe had ever been in such a dwelling. Drawing on models of experimental archaeology, the project sought to recover the technology and building know-how that was once an essential part of Ojibwe culture. At the same time, the project undertook its work in order to build an empowered future for the reservation's youth: underscoring the idea that traditions can be recovered, repatriated and revitalized. Although tribal members did not contemplate using the wiigiwaam as a place to live permanently, they envision using it as a place to teach Ojibwe narrative and other traditions to children, immersing them in a fully Ojibwe environment and celebrating Ojibwe ways of living. The poster discusses the project within the context of indigenous educational sovereignty and revitalization.

Panel Post01
POSTERS: Ways of Dwelling: Crisis - Craft - Creativity