Home Page Link


Connecting Ojibwe Ecological Knowledge and Climate Change in the Apostle Islands


The Apostle Islands lie within Gichigami Anishinaabeg Endaawaad (Big Sea of the Anishinaabe or “Lake Superior”). The Ojibwe tribal communities of Miskwaabiikaang (Red Cliff) and Maskiiizibii (Medicine River, also known as the Bad River) are nearby. Ojibwe people throughout the region rely on the Apostle Islands and Lake Superior for their lifeways.

Photo: National Park Service.

The Minisan website uses Native Ecological Knowledge, (also called traditional ecological knowledge) of the Ojibwe people who have lived among the Apostle Islands for generations, although many Native nations have migrated through this area. The Ojibwe people’s knowledge provides place-based, qualitative evidence of how climate change is affecting the Apostle Islands. ecosystems.
This knowledge reflects an intergenerational world-view of interrelationships with the environment as expressed orally through language, stories, and songs.

The Minisan website uses graphs that integrate Ojibwe traditional ecological knowledge with academic science to show the vulnerability of plant and animal beings to climate change. This research is published in the "Climate Vulnerability Assessment-Integrating Scientific and Traditional Ecological Knowledge" by the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.

The Minisan website includes “academic” climate science (also called scientific ecological knowledge) published in the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science’s "Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment for the Terrestrial Ecosystems at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore".
Maps from the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI), University of Wisconsin-Madison provide quantitative evidence of how climate change is affecting the Apostle Islands ecosystems based on academic science.

"From an Ojibwe perspective, one can derive understanding of these changes through the values declared in stories, practices, and teachings." -Dibaginjigaadeg Anishinaabe Ezhitwaad (A Tribal Climate Adaption Menu)

Minisan website takes you on a virtual journey to explore how climate change is affecting twelve ecosystems within Wenaboozhoo Minisaning (the Apostle Islands).

Your climate change exploration will be guided by the Native Ecological Knowledge, sometimes called “traditional ecological knowledge” of the Lake Superior Ojibwe people.

For centuries, the Ojibwe people have lived here. They have an active relationship with this land, and the plant and animal beings living here. The land, water, plants, and animals are considered relatives, not resources. This relationship is based on respect and equitable co-existence.

The Minisan website also integrates academic climates science, sometimes called Scientific Ecological Knowledge to provide cross-cultural viewpoints on climate change.

You will be challenged to evaluate climate change using both ways of knowing, and then take action!

The Minisan website includes words in Ojibwemowin (the Ojibwe language) because it is first language of the Ojibwe people living here. It is the language of this land. Ojibwemowin holds important stories and lessons within its words.

Indinawemaaganidog (All my relations)! Each of us comes from a special place and culture, yet we are connected to each other.

What is climate change in the Apostle Islands teaching us about respecting the land and its beings? What can we do to be better stewards of the place we call home?

Let’s get started!