Today we had our international visitor arrive to Emmet County. He was working with a museum in Detroit and decided to hop on a plane and spend a few extra days up in our neck of the woods. He works for a museum in Vienna, Austria and his museum has a few items from our tribe, which include some bags and some very rare wampum belts. Our tribe contacted his museum many years ago about the wampum belts and through the years, contact has been sporadic. When I started my job for LTBB Odawa in 2006, I found the Vienna file and decided to take up the cause, again, for these belts.
I began emailing the museum, trying to get in contact with the appropriate person and I finally reached him. For a few years we emailed back and forth and out of the blue, he said he was going to be in Michigan and was coming up. By the way, in our emails, I stated, we don’t want the belts on loan, we want them back, period. He didn’t bring the belts on this trip, but this is a good first step, to actually meet a museum curator from across the Atlantic. We are going to take him around, show him the area he has only read about and most importantly, show him we are still a tribe, a people distinct from others and certain objects are part of our identity.