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Canoe-Builder Valliere to be Recognized in Virtual Tour by the National Endowment for the Arts


Wayne Valliere was first exposed to the craft of canoe building when he 14 years old.

“It was just amazing to see all the natural materials that were being harvested and processed and manipulated into something very beautiful and usable,” he said.

Since then, Valliere has mastered the art, and he teaches others to do the same.

Valliere said at one time, every family in an Ojibwe community knew how to build a canoe, but that knowledge is now scarce.

That’s why he teaches and works with several apprentices – to keep this aspect of culture alive.

Last year Valliere was recognized for this work and named a 2020 National Heritage Fellow.

“I think the National Endowment for the Arts has recognized me for all of that work in the last 20 years touching different communities and lighting back the torch of canoe building once again and keeping it burning for generations to come,” he said.

Valliere is being formally recognized for receiving that award March 4 at 7 p.m. with an online presentation.

It’s called “The Culture of America: A Cross-Country Visit with the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellows.”

The webcast will take viewers on a virtual journey across the country to visit all ten fellows to learn about their art.

“It’s going to be a lot of beautiful scenes of our natural environment here in Lac du Flambeau,” Valliere said.

Ultimately, Valliere said this honor belongs not only to him, but to all of his people.

A link to view the free, virtual presentation can be found at arts.gov.

Erin Gottsacker worked at WXPR as a Morning Edition host and reporter from December 2020 to January 2023. During her time at the station, Erin reported on the issues that matter most in the Northwoods.
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