Native American Spearfishing Decoys of the Great Lakes States
Excerpt Decoy Magazine, Issue November/December 1995, pages 32-35 – Article by Art & Scott Kimball titled “Native American spearfishing decoys of the upper Midwestern Great Lakes states”
“Native Americans were making and using fish decoys prior to contact with the white man….Native American use of the wooden fish decoy in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin is generally limited to the Ojibway (Chippew), Ottawa, Monominee and Potawatomi, although their use by the Santee Sioux in areas of Minnesota would be the exception…. The styles of fish decoys varies from one reservation to another; there are even variations within a tribe. The largest and most widespread group of Native Americans are the Ojibway, or Chippewa. they are found in all three of the great Lake states discussed with Minnesota having the largest population.”
Other native American reservations that decoys were made and used were in Minnesota – the White Earth, Red Lake, Leech Lake, Mille Lacs and Nett Lake. Also the Fond du Lac area and in Wisconsin a key reservation locations was/is Lac du Flambeau area. In Michigan Native American decoys are diverse as those on the reservations in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Ottawa Indians living around Lake Michigan and in the northern part of the Michigan lower peninsula and the upper peninsula. The Chippewa-Ottawa and the Chippewa-Potawatomi were located in many areas bordering the Great Lakes.
These fish decoys are worth searching out and everyone should try to get them to Native American museums.