Madeline Island, the Place of Provision
May 30, 2016
Our recent trip to Madeline Island not only speaks of the “Effective Apostleship” that was promised in 2001, but also implies the provision necessary to be sent out as apostles. The island’s connection to provision is part of the island’s history.
When the Apostle Islands were set up as a national park in 1970, the government did not have the money to buy Madeline Island from the property owners already living there, so they excluded it from the park. The government set up 20 islands at first, with another added in 1986. Hence, there are 21 Apostle Islands in the park itself, but with Madeline Island there are actually 22 Apostle Islands geographically speaking.
The history of the Ojibwa in this area has its tragedies, as with so many of the tribes. One of the most notable chiefs was known as Great Buffalo (“Kechewaishke”). He was born about 1759 and died in 1855. He signed a number of treaties with the US government, in which the Ojibwa were promised annual provisions for certain land concessions.
When President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act in 1830, resulting in the “Trail of Tears,” it affected mostly those from the southeast. However, when Wisconsin became a state in 1848, the Ojibwe began to come under pressure. President Zachary Taylor signed a Removal act on February 6, 1850 under corrupt circumstances, breaking multiple past treaties. This was later rescinded by President Fillmore in 1852, but meanwhile much damage had been done.
At this time, Alexander Ramsey was the Territorial Governor of Minnesota. (Minnesota did not become a state until 1858.) He and an Indian sub-agent, John Waltrous, conspired to force the Ojibwa into Minnesota, as the two stood to profit from this arrangement personally. Ramsey is still honored today, because the county where the capital of Minnesota (St. Paul) is located is known as Ramsey County.
By treaty, provisions for the Ojibwa were to be brought each year to La Pointe on Madeline Island, their main home and trade center. But Waltrous announced that he would give the annual provisions only at Sandy Lake, Minnesota, forcing the Ojibwa to travel a long distance to obtain what had been promised to them. These annuities were given in late October of 1850, so the plan was to force the Ojibwa to remain in Sandy Lake over the winter. By doing this, the Bureau of Indian Affairs hoped to lessen resistance to being moved permanently.
About 3,000 Ojibwa made the long trek to Sandy Lake. In early December the first (small) portion of provisions arrived, and much of the food was spoiled. Already, 150 had died while waiting for the provisions, but when the spoiled food arrived, many more died of food poisoning. They finally realized that if they were to survive at all, they had to return to Madeline Island. So they made the long journey home in January of 1851, and over 200 more died along the way. The result was that over 400 Ojibwe men died, some by exposure, and others from the rancid food “provisions” that were given to them.
In the Spring of 1852 Chief Buffalo, now in his 90’s, made a long trip to Washington to appeal to President Fillmore. He was hindered and opposed along the way by various Indian Affairs bureaucrats, and when he arrived in Washington, Indian Affairs turned him away, telling him that he should never have made the trip.
However, he was fortunate to gain the attention of Congressman Briggs of New York, of the Whig Party, who scheduled an appointment with the president the next day. Fillmore agreed that the provisions should be given at La Pointe, and in 1854 the final Treaty of La Pointe, granting the Ojibwa lands in Northern Wisconsin, Upper Michigan, and Northern Minnesota was signed. Chief Buffalo died on September 7, 1855 at the age of 96 and is buried at the La Pointe Indian Cemetery, not far from where we stayed last week end in La Pointe.
This entire drama centered around the issue of where the provisions should be delivered to the Ojibwa. We stayed at La Pointe on Madeline Island for two nights before taking the cruise around the other islands on May 23. The issue of provision is inherent in the ninth sign of Elisha, which we have been looking for since July 2010.
It is about provisions that are necessary to begin the last half of the Elisha signs, and the next sign is about the healing of Naaman the Syrian. In other words, it is about the two doves needed to heal lepers that are described in the law of leprosy in Leviticus 14. Since Naaman was from outside the country, this sign is really about the gospel of the Kingdom going outside borders. The two doves have been part of our ministry’s logo since 1999. So we have every reason to believe that we are part of this move of God.
The Story in Pictures
On Friday, May 20, 2016 we drove from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Bayfield, Wisconsin, which is on the southern coast of Lake Superior. This is Bayfield.
From Bayfield, we took the 15-minute ferry ride to La Pointe, which is on Madeline Island across from the mainland.
Once we drove off the dock at La Pointe, we come to the main crossroad.
We turned right and drove about three blocks to the lodge where we were to stay for the next two days.
The next morning we had some fellowship at the nearby coffee shop with Ron Oja and Paul Kyle. Apparently, this was a Camp David summit meeting!
Later that afternoon we drove to the campground about 5 or 6 miles away where the actual meeting took place.
Kevin Kot, who organized this ceremony, then related the history of the Ojibwa and how they arrived at Madeline Island centuries ago. There were at one time about 20,000 people living on the island.
I had a chance to talk with Warren, whom I had met on a previous occasion last year. He was an interesting elder. He told me how he had died three times, and Jesus had sent him back because he still had work to do.
The first part of the ceremony was the smudging, which is a symbolic act using (organic) Sage to cleanse the mind and heart. It's a simple act of waving some of the smoke (incense) toward you while in an attitude of prayer to give it purpose.
After this came the actual drumming ceremony, which included the singing of Ojibwa hymns that were sung, while the women danced around the drummers. This was a very powerful time of fellowship and communion as the beating of the drum is intended to represent the heartbeat of God and as we join in with one another in both the beating and the hearing of the drum we are symbolically and actually brought into oneness and communion one with another and with our Father.
(We have video of this powerful event but out of respect we will need to secure permission from all those that may show up in the video before we could post it.)
While this was happening, an eagle flew directly overhead. This was a significant sign, not only for Indian culture but also for the rest of us who are tuned toward God’s voice speaking through signs.
Later, Paul and Hillary Kyle led us in worship around the camp fire.
The next day (Sunday) we took the ferry back to the mainland at Bayfield, where we had booked the cruise to take the tour of the Apostle Islands themselves.
This is the ferry itself.
There were too many islands to show here, but here are a few.
The sheer size of the lake is amazing. One can travel for three days and never sight land. At its deepest point it is 1335 feet deep, which I thought was an interesting number from Daniel 12:12.
This is Dave and Sherry, who came with us to bear witness to the launching of the apostolic ministry and also to help with the videos and pictures. Dave is the creator of my web site and works with me full time.
The cruise took 3 ¼ hours. When we returned to Bayfield, we disembarked, had a late lunch, and then drove back to Minneapolis.
Dr. Stephen Jones