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The Northwoods is home to a number of Ojibwe and Potawatomi tribes, but stories from the area’s indigenous people – the Anishinaabe – often go unheard. Native Voices is an effort to share those stories, told by the people who live them.Each episode uses sound to paint a portrait of different indigenous people, casting light on local tribes’ history, culture and customs.

"What's a Wigwam? This is a Wigwam."

Wayne Valliere is an artist and award-winning birchbark canoe builder with the Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe.

But this summer, he’s not only building canoes.

He’s building a wigwam.

“We’re creating a summer lodge that our Ojibwe people lived in before 1650, before contact with the Europeans,” he explains.

The project takes hours of harvesting raw materials like willow branches, roots, birchbark and pitch.

Then Valliere will reverse engineer the wigwam by using old photographs and French documents.

“We’re using modern tools, but at the end of the day, it’s still an Ojibwe wigwam because Ojibwe hands are making it, whether we use a saw or a stone,” Valliere says. “At the end of the day, it’s still Anishinaabe.”

Join Valliere as he instructs a group to harvest willow branches from a swamp, and learn about what it takes to build a wigwam.

Valliere’s story is part of the WXPR Series, Native Voices – a project to highlight the voices and stories of local indigenous people.

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