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Bear Island

The War at Sugar Point

2006
Author:

Gerald Vizenor
Foreword by Jace Weaver

Bear Island

An award-winning Native American writer recounts the “last Indian war” in verse

Drawing on the traditional ways of Anishinaabe storytelling, acclaimed writer Gerald Vizenor illuminates the 1898 battle at Sugar Point in this epic poem. Fought between the Pillagers of the Leech Lake Reservation and U.S. soldiers, the battle marked a turning point in relations between the government and Native Americans. Bear Island brings back to light a key moment in Minnesota's history.

Gerald Vizenor provides vivid and immediate entry into the battle at Sugar Point, narrating the events in lyric poetry that arises from the Ojibwe song tradition.

Heid Erdrich, author of The Mother's Tongue

Drawing on the traditional ways of Anishinaabe storytelling, acclaimed poet Gerald Vizenor illuminates the 1898 battle at Sugar Point in Minnesota in this epic poem. Fought between the Pillagers of the Leech Lake Reservation (one of the original five clans of the Anishinaabe tribe) and U.S. soldiers, the battle marked a turning point in relations between the government and Native Americans. Although outnumbered by more than three to one, the Pillager fighters won convincingly.

Weaving together strands of myth, memory, legend, and history, Bear Island lyrically conveys a historical event that has been forgotten not only by the majority culture but also by some Anishinaabe people—bringing back to light a key moment in Minnesota’s history with clarity of vision and emotional resonance.

Bear Island

Gerald Vizenor is professor of American studies at the University of New Mexico. He is a member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, White Earth Reservation. His previous books include The People Named the Chippewa and Griever, for which he won an American Book Award.

Jace Weaver is professor and director of the Institute of Native American Studies at the University of Georgia.

Bear Island

Gerald Vizenor provides vivid and immediate entry into the battle at Sugar Point, narrating the events in lyric poetry that arises from the Ojibwe song tradition.

Heid Erdrich, author of The Mother's Tongue

Written in the format of a narrative poem based on extensive research which draws from myth, memory, legend, and history, Bear Island vividly depicts a succinct episode in Native American history.

Midwest Book Review

An epic poem by Gerald Vizenor about the battle between the Pillagers of the Leech Lake Reservation and U.S. soldiers on Oct. 5, 1898, which marked a turning point in relations between the government and American Indians.

Duluth News Tribune

Weaving together strands of myth, memory, legend, and history, Bear Island lyrically conveys a historical event that has been forgotten not only by the majority culture but also by some Anishinaabe people—bringing back to light a key moment in Minnesota’s history with clarity of vision and emotional resonance.

Midwest Buy Line

If you’ve ever wondered about those parts of history that are hidden or forgotten, pick up a copy of this book. You’ll be mesmerized.

West Fargo Pioneer

Bear Island

Contents

Foreword Jace Weaver

Introduction: The War at Sugar Point

Overture: Manidoo Creations
Bagwana: The Pillagers of Liberty
Hole in the Day: Grafters and Warrants
Bearwalkers: 5 October 1898
Gatling Gun: 6 October 1898
War Necklace: 9 October 1898