On June 28, the Unity Church in Madison donated tithes collected from members to the Waswagoning Indian Bowl project. This private donation kicks off the board’s fundraising efforts to raise at least $3.6 million for the construction of the Waswagoning Indian Bowl (Lac du Flambeau Living Arts and Culture Center).
“Unity Church is donating their tithes to preserve the culture of the Lac du Flambeau community, and to address alcohol and drug addiction (AODA) issues through Gwayakose (the good road), where middle school children and their families learn cultural values and AODA prevention,” Patricia O’Neil, grant writer for the Northwoods NiiJii Enterprise Community Inc., said.
To date, the Waswagoning Indian Bowl project has raised $1.2 million of the $3.6 million goal. Work began on the project in 2005, when Lac du Flambeau held community meetings to discuss rebuilding the historic Indian Bowl. An architect was hired to assess renovating versus reconstruction, and a community survey was completed.
Work on the project was paused, but resumed in 2010 when the Northwoods NiiJii Enterprise Community Inc., began applying for grants. NiiJii obtained grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ford Foundation/LINC. The grant funding provided for pre-development work including a design competition.
The winning concept calls for an energy-efficient, sustainable design that complements the existing buildings and becomes a hub of downtown Lac du Flambeau. The new facility will have 8,000 to 10,000 square feet of additional indoor space to accommodate year-round Native arts education, artist studios, an art gallery, a cultural center, classrooms and a conference room. The seasonal outdoor amphitheater with performance stage will offer weekly cultural programs, events, pow wows and art markets, and will be a venue for regional and national performances.
When completed, the Waswagoning Indian Bowl project will spur local economic development, proudly present and sustain the art and cultural pieces of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians and generate tourism for the entire Northwoods region.
For more information on donating to the Waswagoning Indian Bowl project, call Northwoods NiiJii EC at (715) 588-4250, or tribal president Tom Maulson at (715) 588-3303 or visit the project website atindianbowlproject.org.