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Minong - The Good Place
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Michigan State University Press
Pub Date: 2009
ISBN: 9780870138492
Timothy Cochrane
Minong - The Good Place
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Minong - The Good Place

by Timothy Cochrane

This account traces the Ojibwe people's long history with Isle Royale. Minong (the Ojibwe name for Isle Royale) is the search for the history of the Ojibwe people's relationship with this unique island in the midst of Lake Superior. Cochrane uses a variety of sources: Ojibwe oral narratives, recently rediscovered Jesuit records and diaries, reports of the Hudson's Bay post at Fort William, newspaper accounts, and numerous records from archives in the United States and Canada, to understand this relationship to a place. What emerges is a richly detailed account of Ojibwe activities on Minong and their slow waning in the latter third of the nineteenth century.

Piece by piece, Cochrane has assembled a narrative of a people, an island, and a way of life that transcends borders, governments, documentation, and tidy categories. His account reveals an authentic 'history': the missing details, contradictions, deviations from the conventions of historical narrative the living entity at the intersection of documentation by those long dead and the narratives of those still living in the area. Significantly, it also documents how non-natives symbolically and legally appropriated Isle Royale by presenting it to fellow non-natives as an island that was uninhabited and unused.