The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa is hosting a "We Are Water MN" exhibit at the Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth starting Sunday, March 10.
"It's intended to let communities talk about their unique relationship with the water in their place," said Fond du Lac's water projects coordinator, Nancy Schuldt. "It's a chance to talk about Fond du Lac's long-and-wide-reaching connections to different waters in this region."
The exhibit will last until April 22 and include information panels about the band's restoration efforts of wild rice and lake sturgeon in the upper St. Louis River, as well as audio interviews with Fond du Lac community members. There will also be an opportunity to learn more about treaties, why they're important and environmental threats to those treaty rights.
"The expectation of being able to exercise treaty rights means that there's got to be healthy resources to harvest, fish and gather from," Schuldt said.
Exhibit goers will also get to learn about everyday things people can do to protect water, said Shannon Judd, environmental education and outreach coordinator with Fond du Lac. People can share their own stories too, by writing out one of their water stories, hanging it up and putting a pin in a map to highlight the location of their water story.
"It's really just a chance not only for people to get to know more about Fond du Lac in relationship with water," Judd said, "but to help them reflect on their own relationship to water. And hopefully inspire them to go forward and work to take care of water."
A variety of events will also take place throughout the weeks the exhibit is open. To start, there's a kick-off event from 1-4 p.m. Sunday at the aquarium with appetizers, an opening ceremony, a puppet show and a production by Ikidowin Youth Theater Ensemble.
The 17th annual St. Louis River Riverwatch Congress will take place March 14 at the aquarium to give the public a chance to share information and learn more about the St. Louis River.
A snow shoe walk will be held March 23 at Jay Cooke State Park in Carlton. Karen Savage Blue will host a paint night at 6 p.m. March 29 at the aquarium. Spots are limited to the first 25 participants. To sign up, contact Kelsey Wenner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Native plants presentation and workshop will be from 2-4 p.m. April 6 at the aquarium. Participants can make herbal products, taste-test wild foods and learn more about local plants and their uses, according to the schedule of events.
Also wrapped into the "We Are Water MN" list of events, but not held at the aquarium, is the Fond du Lac Youth Climate Convening from noon to 2:30 p.m. April 12 at the Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College in Cloquet.
Later that day, from 5-7 p.m., there will be a wild rice cook-off and a water food, photo and water bar at the American Indian Community Housing Organization in Duluth.
"Instead of serving flights of beer, (the water bar) has water from around the region," said Cristina Weske, groundwater protection specialist for Fond du Lac. "So you can taste test the difference between Duluth, reservation and other water."
On April 18, the Blue Heron research vessel will be docked outside the aquarium for shipboard science activities.
The public also participate in a cellphone photo competition that's currently open until midnight March 29. Winning photos will be displayed at the food, photo and water bar. For more information about the photo competition, visit fdlrez.com/wearewater.htm.