Life on an Indian reservation

Indians do eat Doritos. I have had the opportunity of verifying this recently

while visiting an Ojibwe Indian village in northern Wisconsin. I believe that in the past, these corn chips along with Nikes, Chevrolets and Playstations could have made a big difference when the white settlers were trading millions of acres of Indian land for goods about as valuable as these modern-day trinkets.

The Waswagoning Village, founded by Nick and Charlotte Hockings, was established as a teaching facility for people of any race to learn more about the Indian culture and beliefs that most of us choose to learn through Saturday morning Bonanza reruns. Nick Hockings received a vision of this village while defending his right to spearfish in the Lac du Flambeau “Lake of Torches,” area in the 1990s. (Name originating from the first French traders that found the natives spearfishing by torchlight). Nick realized that to segregate any culture from the rest of the world is the first step in its extinction, so Waswagoning (the place where they spear fish by torchlight) was born.

When I told friends and family about my planned excursion , two questions were consistently asked. One: Will you sleep in a tepee? And two: will there be peyote? The fact that this Hollywood-fed generation still believes Native Americans all wear moccasins is another reason Nick and Charlotte started their teachings. The answer to the questions are, yes and no. My newfound friends and I (other curious adventurers) did sleep in tepees, did take baths in the lake, did do what bears do in the woods and did not require peyote or any other substance to give us the strength.

In this day of reality television and instant results, a true Native American

experience like this can send smoke signals to the parts of our minds on subjects many have forgotten, like humility, honesty, vanity and faith.

The most challenging part of the trip was the sweat lodge, or (Madodswun),

which is a combination of spiritual enlightenment and physical challenge that without experiencing yourself, words only cheat. Although our inhibitions tend to make great excuses, I recommend this trip to everyone. One of the lessons taught on the reservation is perception. By bending over to the deer’s height, you can see a whole new trail; by bending over to the rabbit’s, you see another. By just bending yourself you will be given a most rewarding and life-changing experience and the ability to understand yourself and another culture more clearly. After all, in the words of Nick Hockings “when you fear something, you want to destroy it.” Let’s stop being scared … Migwitch (Thank You). For information about Waswagoning: Waswagoning P.O. Box 1059, Lac du Flambeau, WI 54538,

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