Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Dan Reed
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Fond Du Lac tribal flag placed in Carlton County Courtroom


August 16, 2018

Photo courtesy of Zachary Dunaiski

Sixth Judicial Carlton County Judge Leslie Beiers presided over an installation of the Fond Du Lac Tribal flag in the third floor courtroom of the Carlton Country Courthouse on Tuesday, August 7 with a large crowd in attendance. The flag now stands to the right of the Minnesota State Flag.

Along with Judge Beiers, Fond Du Lac Chief Judge Suzanne Ojibway Townsend and Fond Du Lac Chair Kevin Dupuis who is also the Chair of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribes addressed the crowd while local Judges Robert Macauley and Dale Wolff and 6th District Chief Judge Sally Tarnowski looked on. The Carlton County Commissioners were all there as well as several county department heads as well as Sheriff Kelly Lake.

Judge Townsend observed before the beginning of the ceremony when asked if this action is way overdue, "We don't think of it as a long time. We are just happy it is happening today."

Chairman Dupuis addressed the gathering, "It is about time. As I stand in this courtroom I think back to 1994 when I and a group of others sat in the back of the courtroom watching how justice works and learning. The Judges often sat with us after sessions and explained the workings of a courtroom. There has been a divide between my people and the rest of our area. But we need to build bridges and finally be part of this community."

For the first time in the history of the current Carlton County Courthouse the Cedar Creek Drummers of the Fond Du Lac Band drummed songs of joy and celebration for the occasion.

Judge Townsend explained the symbolism of the Fond Du Lac Band and what parts of it mean. The symbol is round signifying that everything in life is a circle. There are four feathers which represent the four winds. The overall concept resembles a war shield signifying the early struggles for survival the Anishinaabe went through as they migrated from lands on the East Coast of America. There is an arrowhead marking 100 years of war with the Lakota Sioux and the Fox.

She went on to explain that Fond Du Lac is French for "the end of a lake." The Nah-Gah-Chi-Wa-Nong Reservation is noted as being created by the Treaty of 1854 and is so presented on the flag.


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