Fond du Lac Band buy sacred islandby Dan Kraker, Minnesota Public Radio
DULUTH, Minn. — The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has purchased a small historic island on the St. Louis River.
The island is culturally important because it was the next-to-last stopping place during the Chippewas' or Anishinaabes' migration from the East Coast, said band chairwoman Karen Diver.
"The sixth stopping place was fairly continuously used by the Anishinaabe people because of its significance in the migration journey," Diver said.
Diver said the purchase will allow the Band to preserve the island, as well as the access, and gives them a presence to continue its environmental stewardship of the river."
Spirit Island is roughly six acres and located in a widening of the river before it flows into Lake Superior. It lies across from Morgan Park, an old U.S. Steel company town and the site of a polluted Superfund site. Diver says the Band's purchase will protect the island from development.
The Fond du Lac band purchased the island from a Duluth man for $150,000. The Band will apply to the federal government to have it placed into trust.
"It's certainly a piece of our history that is well documented and significant in terms of the journey of the people, so it means a lot to us to have it back," Diver said.