- Grand Portage National Monument
Infobox_protected_area | name = Grand Portage National Monument
iucn_category = III
locator_x = 173
locator_y = 23
Cook County, Minnesota, USA
nearest_city = Duluth, MN
lat_degrees = 47
lat_minutes = 57
lat_seconds = 44
lat_direction = N
long_degrees = 89
long_minutes = 41
long_seconds = 05
long_direction = W
area = 710 acres (2.9 km²)
January 27, 1960
National Park ServiceGrand Portage National Monument, located within the boreal foreston the north shore of Lake Superiorin northeastern Minnesota, preserves a vital center of fur tradeactivity and Anishinaabeg Ojibweheritage.
The "Grand Portage" itself is a footpath which bypasses a set of waterfalls on the Pigeon River a few miles from where that stream runs into
Lake Superior. This path is part of the historic trade routeof the voyageursbetween their wintering grounds and their depots to the east. This route, composed of the Pigeon River and other waterwaysand Grand Portage and many other portages, was of enormous importance in pre-industrial times, as it provided access from the Canada's settled areas to its interior of Canada. Some 50 miles upstream from Lake Superior, this trade route crosses the Height of Land Portageconnecting South Lake on the Pigeon River watershed with North Lake of the Rainy River watershed. This portage crosses the Northern Continental divideand therefore provides passage between the drainage basinof the Arctic Oceanand that of the Great Lakesand Saint Lawrence Riverto the Atlantic Ocean.
As early as 2,000 years ago, Indian Nations probably used "Gichi-onigaming", or “the Great Carrying Place”, to travel from summer homes on Lake Superior to winter hunting grounds in the interior of Minnesota and
Ontario. In 1729 Creeguide Auchagah drew a map for some of the first French fur traders showing them how to reach the "western sea" of Lake Winnipeg. In time, Grand Portage became the gateway into rich northern fur bearing country connecting remote interior outposts to lucrative international markets.
The Grand Portage trail itself is an 8 1/2 mile trail connecting Grand Portage with Fort Charlotte on the Pigeon River. Voyageurs from the interior of Canada would carry their furs by canoe to Fort Charlotte, and portage the bundles of fur to Grand Portage. There they would meet their counterparts from Montreal, and exchange the furs for trade goods and supplies. Each canoe "brigade" would then return to its starting place. [ [http://gorp.away.com/gorp/resource/us_nm/mn_grand.htm Grand Portage National Monument] , GORP.]
In mid-July 1802, partners of the most successful fur trade company in North America, the
North West Company, met in their Great Hall at Grand Portage, Minnesotaand voted to move their summer headquarters from the protected shores of Lake Superior’s Grand Portage Bay 50 miles north to the mouth of the Kaministiquia River. Almost from the time the Anglo-ScotNor’Westers had organized at Grand Portage in the mid 1780s an emerging United Stateswanted them out. The July vote would mean that 18 buildings constructed from native squared spruce, pine and birch and over 2,000 cedar pickets surrounding them would be torn down, transported north in company schooners and used in constructing the new Fort William far from U.S. soil.
Reopened in 1951 as Grand Portage National Historic Site, it was designated a National Monument in 1958, and the portage trail itself is a Minnesota State Historic Site. [cite web
title = Minnesota Statute § 138.57, subd. 5
publisher = Minnesota Revisor of Statutes
url = http://ros.leg.mn/bin/getpub.php?pubtype=STAT_CHAP_SEC&year=current§ion=138.57&image.x=39&image.y=11
accessdate = 2007-02-26 ] The monument's 710 acres lie entirely within the boundaries of Grand Portage Ojibwe Indian Reservation. The reconstructed depot celebrates fur trade and Ojibwe lifeways. It was added to the
National Register of Historic Placesin 1966.
Attractions and events
portagetrail exists in much the same location and condition today, and visitors can hike 8.5 miles from Lake Superior to the Pigeon River. Volunteers and park staff dress in period attire and explain and interpret what life was like at the turn of the 19th century. Every August, Grand Portage National Monument hosts a rendezvous re-enactment and pow wow.
Grand Portage, Minnesota
Grand Portage State Park, Minnesota
Isle Royale National Park
* [http://www.nps.gov/grpo/ National Parks Service - Grand Portage National Monument]
* [http://www.nps.gov/grpo/home1.htm Grand Portage homepage]
* [http://www.kstrom.net/isk/maps/mn/grandport.htm Information on the Grand Portage band of Chippewa]
* [http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4347365794173035084 Video documentary on 'Grand Portage during the peak of the Fur Trade']
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