Native Americans and Community

Dedicated to capturing the stories and spirit of the region, one way the Center for Upper Peninsula Studies achieves this goal is recording the oral histories of the area's residents. Each interview is done in person, recorded and then transcribed for ease of use. On this page, find interviews surrounding Native Americans and their communities throughout the Upper Peninsula. 




William Boda

May 21, 1999

William Boda discusses teaching at Hannahville Indian School in Wilson, Michigan; faculty; curriculum; funding; school technologies; traditional Native American ceremonies; inclusion of Native American language; athletics; NMU's Center for Native American Studies; and working for the Board of Education (Orbis).

Shirley Brozzo

April 5, 2002

Shirley Brozzo discusses her career at Northern Michigan University working for Multicultural Student Services and working and teaching in the Native American Studies Department. Topics included are the changes the Native American Studies Department has gone through over the time that Brozzo has been at the university, the importance of the Native American Studies program, classes included in the program, and the process of creating a Native American Studies minor. 

Grace Chailler

No Date Given 

Grace Chailler discusses her academic origins and educational background and her motivation to teach Native American Studies, teaching Native American Women Gender Studies Class, teaching on the topic of Boarding/Residential Schools in U.S. and Canada, her own tribal affiliation, impact of Indian Boarding/Residential Schools on current Native communities, the Gathering of Nations Powwow, and the annual Learning to Walk Together Powwow.

Fred Dakota

January 30, 2012

1937-2012 Life and Times of Fred Dakota, Native Americans, Keweenaw Bay Indian Reservation and Community, Assinins Orphanage, Sault Sainte Marie, Marine Corps basic training stationed in Japan, employment in the Upper Peninsula, Urban Relocation program, Chicago, tribal politics, Michigan Inter tribal council, tribal law enforcement, jurisdiction, termination policies, Jondreau Decision, fishing rights, origin of casinos in the Upper Peninsula, gambling politics, casino management, legal issues, prison. 

Elizabeth Galer

April 18, 1999

Elizabeth Galer discusses her life on the Keweenaw Bay Indian Reservation, including growing up during the Depression, traditional Native medicine and food, and living part of her childhood in an orphanage.

Melissa Hearn

October 26, 2001

Melissa Hearn discusses growing up and schooling in Oklahoma, earning a BA, MA, and PhD. At University of Oklahoma. Origins of her teaching Native American Literature class at University of Louisiana, and coming to Northern Michigan University in 1988.  Describes getting Native American Studies Minor program and Ojibwa Language course started.

Lillian Heldreth

April 8, 2002

Lillian Heldreth discusses her involvement with the Native American Studies Department at NMU. Topics include the program's conception, Heldreth's teaching career, and the Native American community in the Upper Peninsula.

Garfield Hood

April 13, 1999

1945-1992 Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC), tribal court system, origins, tribal police, Tribal autonomy, Tribal Council, Campaign of Human Development of the United States Catholic Conference, KBIC legal relations with other tribes in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, legal jurisdiction, taxation, identity, American Indian Movement, Bishop Baraga Pageant, hunting and fishing rights, Fred Dakota, Jondreau family,  judges, Tribal constitution, tribal membership, tribal economics.

Helen Lindahl

April 18, 1999

1930- 1999 Growing up in Keweenaw Bay Indian Reservation L’Anse, Michigan, subsistence living fishing, gardening, game, casino wealth distribution, alcohol. 

April Lindela  October 8, 2009  Serving as Director for the Center for Native American Studies at Northern Michigan University, April Lindela talks about Native America Studies, policies between tribes and the government, school mascots, and pow wow culture. 

Joe and Andy LeBlanc, Mike Willis

No Date Given 

Three Bay Mills native discuss the tensions and issues surrounding being a native in the Upper Peninsula including prejudices, fishing rights, tribal management and relations with the state authority.  

Shirley McKasy October 9, 1998 Shirley McKasy, an NMU alum, discussions her experience going through the substance abuse counseling program at NMU as a Native American in the 1980's. Shirley also shares her thoughts on Native Americans and substance abuse and what she think will be the future of counseling. 

Traci Maday 

August 19, 1999

Northern Michigan University student Traci Maday discusses how being a native student has molded her life in the Upper Peninsula. Traci touches on her journey to the School of Education, opportunities for native students through Diversity Student Services, perceptions of natives, and her desire to student teach at the Nah Tah Wahsh school in Hannahville. 

Penny Olson August 23, 1998 Penny Olson talks about her studies of Native Americans and folklore in the Upper Peninsula. 

Martin Reinhardt

November 17, 2015

Dr. Martin Reinhart of NMU’s Center for Native American Studies discusses his tribal background, the importance of Indigenous education, the impact and future of a recent addition of a Native American Studies Major at Northern Michigan University, and the Decolonizing Diet Project’s year-long study involving indigenous food ways, cultural revitalization and community building.

Cornelius Sochay

September 19, 2008

Cornelius Sochay discusses his life story and growing up half Native American and half Caucasian in Nahma, MI. He also describes his experiences while attending Northern Michigan University, the military, and his subsequent professional life.

Margaret Elena White March 28, 1976 Elena White discusses growing up in a Native American and French Canadian family. She talks of early life living in the woods, fur trapping, her experience on reservations, and how life has changed for her as a Native American through the years.