We, the Anishinabeg, the people of Odahwah Zaaga'iganing, the Lac Courte Oreilles Tribe, will sustain our heritage, perserving our past, strengthening our present, and embracing our future.
We will defend our inherent sovereign rights and safeguard Mother Earth. We will provide for the educational, health, social welfare, and economic stability of the present and future generations.History
The accounting department assists with day-to-day operations of the Tribe, handling accounts payable and accounts receivable.Call
Providing information and assistance to tribal elders and people with disabilities 18 years and over, also access to Elderly and Disability Benefits counseling.Call
The Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Court Community Service Program is available through the Tribal Court for youth offenders with civil charges. The purpose of the Community Service Program is to allow minors of offenses to reduce fines by serving community hours for violations under but not limited to: truancy, curfew, traffic and underage drinking. Outstanding fines for past offenses are also considered through a deferred prosecution agreement submitted to the Tribal Court.Call
The Contracts Department houses all Contracts and Grants Award documentation and is responsible for the financial status of each contract and grant. We also oversee and work directly with each individual Program Director to ensure their specific contract/grant is programmatically and financially compliant.Call
Lac Courte Oreilles Early Head Start program offers services to children ages birth to three and their families through a grant provided by the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Head Start.Call
Assist Elderly and/or Disabled Tribal members in various services provided through Social Security and State health programs.Call
Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP) is state funded. This program is designed to provide some assistance to households with the heating and electric bills. The two basic parts of the Energy Assistance are the regular benefits and crisis assistance. In addition, an Emergency Furnace service program is operated under WHEAP. Emergency Furnace is basically for homeowners, but some rentals can be an exception. The eligility criteria for assistance is: must meet State Median income guidelines depending on household size, have an energy burden, must live within the reservation boundaries, must have a permanent address, verified by the utility bills.Call
Services that this department can help you with are: applications, family tree information, Tribal identification and Membership Certificates.Call
The Lac Courte Oreilles Fire Department currently has 3 fire stations that are located thoughout the reservation. The Department is composed of one full time employee and 39 volunteers. The department has a protection area of 150 square miles and responds to an average of 480 calls a year. The department is also a First Responder Provider Service that is De fib certfied and licensed by the State of Wisconsin.Call
Anyone living within the LCO Reservation boundaries and “Indian Households” living outside the reservation but in the rural areas of Sawyer, Rusk, Bayfield and Washburn counties, or in Hayward, are eligible to receive our food package if eligibility criteria is met. Please contact the program for more information.Call
General Assistance is a BIA funded program to help provide assistance to single — non custodial individuals that reside within the boundaries of the Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation. Tribal members who lack adequate resources to meet their basic need's in life. Helps to achieve self-sufficiency and become less dependant on welfare. GA also provides clients with other resources that may benefit their needs, for e.g job training, college, vocational/rehab. Clients are classified as either employable or non-employable and each client has their own goal plans. GA also inducted a work participation action and assistance with disability benefits.Call
The Grants/Planning Department assists in all areas of comprehensive planning and development for the Tribe. Planning works cooperatively with other tribal departments to write grant proposals for funding that address and improve the health, safety, and welfare of the people. The goal of the department is to plan and write grants to enhance a positive growth pattern of the community development activities, community building, land use, and conservation while continuing to reflect upon the environmental, economic, aesthetic, and social values of the culture and traditions of LCO.Call
The THPO works closely with Federal and Non-Federal agencies. Ground disturbances are focus areas. We try to preseve our Historical and Cultural resources.Call
Bureau of Indian Affairs-BIA Federally funded program which assists Tribal Members in applying for Class B (Home Repair) and/or Class C (Home Purchase). Applicants need to meet certain factors (scoring criteria) to be determined eligible for services. Factors include Income, Age, Dependents and Disability. Applications are taken year round, reviewed, and submitted at the end of each Calendar year to the BIA Regional office for funding consideration.Call
Employee Benefits: Employer Sponsored Group Health and Life Insurance; 401k Retirement Plan; Workers Compensation Plan; Property & Casualty/General Liability/Auto Insurance PlanCall
The goals of the Communication Enhancement Project for the Lac Courte Oreilles tribal community is to strengthen the ability of the Tribe to meet the needs of the children and families by utilizing technology to improve Tribal Government communications. The improved communications will lead to an increased responsiveness to tribal members, strengthened professional practices, and improved intra-departmental consultation and coordination.Call
Fully accredited through the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College mission is to provide Anishinaabe communities with post-secondary and continuing education while advancing the language, culture, and history of the Ojibwa. Offering 17 Associate Degrees and 6 certificate programs, the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College offers an affordable quality education while advancing the language and culture of the Ojibwa people.Call
Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe School is a Pre-K through 12th grade grant Tribal school started in 1975.Call
The Legal Department serves the Tribal Governing Board and many of the Tribe's departments, programs and businesses. The mission of the Legal Department is to defend and promote the Tribe's inherent sovereign interests. The practices of the Legal Department encompass a wide variety of areas including gaming, contracts, employment, taxation, historic preservation, child welfare, environmental law and real estate. The tribal attorney is also the tribal prosecutor in Tribal Court. The Legal Department does not represent individual tribal members.Call
Men's Residential treatment facility that rents 20 beds to the Wisconsin Department of Corrections for men who have been recently released from prison or as an alternative to incarceration that have a need for treatment.Call
Mino Maajisewin is a voluntary home visitation program that is designed to assist parents in the care and development of their baby and young children. This program is available to LCO Community members and their families who are pregnant and/or who are parents of young children up to age five years old. The Mino Maajisewin Program is particularly designed for families of young children who have multiple needs. Once a family is enrolled in the LCO Mino Maajisewin program, our home visitors provide weekly home visits to support parenting skills as well as promote the attachment between the child and primary caregiver. Our program uses the “Growing Great Kids” Curriculum which provides information about: Basic Care; Social and Emotional Development, Cues and Communication, Physical and Brain Development, Play and Stimulation, and Self Care for the caregiver.Call
Consolidated Tribal Government Program — Education/Adult Vocational Training/Native Employment Works (NEW) Program, Direct EmploymentCall
Oakwood Haven is an outreach and shelter program with a primary obligation to victims of domestic and sexual assault. The goals of this project are to: • Respond to the emotional and physical needs of sensitive crime victims • Assist victims of crime to stabilize their lives after victimization • Assist victims to understand and participate in the criminal justice system • Provide victims of crime with a measure of safety Types of violent crimes that we provide support services to victims are: Domestic Abuse, Sexual Assault, dating violence, Elder Abuse, Child Victimization, Stalking, Strangulation, Bullying and other sensitive crimes against victims. The Shelter has 24-hour crisis line and is staffed 24 hours a day and 7 days per week constantly. Shelter is available for victims and their children. Oakwood Haven's secondary responsibility to Homeless victims is to meet the immediate basic needs; shelter, food, and safety. Referral to other programs or other resources; housing, food shelf, homeless shelters, etc within seven days of entry. Exception to referral to homeless programs is if there are children. Eligibility: All victims of Domestic and Sexual Violence Services who need a safe place to stay, who need support services for legal/court appearances, who needs personal advocacy to talk and to be there for assisting in many ways to help lessen barriers for safety and growth.Call
LCO Real Estate Services assists tribal members with any land trust issues. Leases, land purchases for the tribe, NEPA compliance, site delineations, easements, lease/rent invoicing and accounting, trespass issues, rights of way, Indian Health Service tribal contact for well/septic, maintain real estate property taxes, record keeping all land-related files.Call
The Respite/Child Care Services receives and administers state and federal grants to help pay for child care while LCO enrolled parents attend school, work or case managed respite child care services. We also state certify interested eligible individuals to provide quality child care.Call
Administers the Roads Planning Department, Roads Maintenance Program, and has oversight for Roads Construction, Transit and Elder TransportationCall
Title VI Program provides congregate and home-delivered meals to Elders 50 and over.Call
AODA & Pregnancy Prevention in LCO Schools and Youth Activities.Call
The first day of patrol was February 13, 2004. The department started with one Chief of Police, one Assistant Chief, and 2 patrol officers. Presently the department employs one Chief of Police, one Assistant Chief, one Investigator, one School Resource Officer, three patrol officers and one Animal Control Officer. The Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Police Department's ongoing mission is to continue making the Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation a safe and enjoyable place for its visitors and residents.Call
The Lac Courte Oreilles Vocational Rehabilitation Program is available to provide vocational rehabilitation services to Native Americans with disabilities who reside on the LCO reservation and in Sawyer County. Vocational Rehabilitation services are provided consistent with individual strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities and informed choice to assist individuals prepare for and engage in gainful employment.Call
The Workforce Investment Act Program Goals are to improve the social welfare, to promote and encourage gainful employment, education, economic development and to become self sufficient, to recognize the cultural and traditional values of Lac Courte Oreilles Tribe.Call
Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Government
13394 W. Trepania Road
Hayward, Wisconsin 54843
The Lac Courte Oreilles Tribe is one of six bands of the Lake Superior Band of Chippewa Indians who entered into treaties with the United States in 1837, 1842, and 1854. The Chippewa of this area have a long and rich heritage. It is thought that they migrated to the Lake Superior region from Canada along the St. Lawrence waterway.
The Chippewa have been known by many names, and to this day, Canadians refer to them as “Ojibwa.” The word “Chippewa” is considered a corruption of speech. The origin of these two names is said to refer to a “manner of speech,” a style of moccasin, or to a cooking method, and means “pucker.” Some Chippewa prefer to call themselves “Anishenabe” mean “original or first man,” although this term is not widely used. “Chippewa” gained general acceptance in the United States after its use on the treaties of the 19th century.
The Chippewa are members of the Algonquin linguistic family which also includes the Ottawa, Potawatomi, Fox, Cree, Menominee, and many other well known tribes.
Historians have divided the Chippewa story into periods in which they came into contact with the white culture, namely the period before European settlement, the French, the English, and finally the United States terms. Little is known of the Chippewa history prior to white contact due to an absence of written records covering that era, however, the tribe has an oral tradition in which information has been kept and passed down generation to generation through stories. The tribe, like many others, has a creation story and an account of their journey from eastern Canada to the Great Lakes Region.
There are a number of mounds on the south shore of Lac Courte Oreilles Lakes and other areas nearby which provides evidence that the area was the home of Mound Builders which may have extended as far back as 500 B.C.
During the migration of the Chippewa from Canada, they paused at Sault Ste. Marie, momentarily, and then split into two groups, one going into Canada along the north shore of Lake Superior, and the other moving westward along the south shore into Wisconsin and Minnesota. In 1636, Gabriel Sagard published Histoie du Canada with a report of the Chippewa Indians of the Sault Ste. Marie area. Etienne Brule has earlier reached Sault Ste. Marie in 1622 and identified the Indians there as “Algonkin” because their language was similar to that of the Ottawa Alongonquian tribes of eastern Canada.
The arrival of French fur traders to the area provided the Chippewa with a market for their hunting skills, and in exchange, the Chippewa received guns, knives, cloth, liquor, and other manufactured goods. The acquistion of these products changed their lives and disturbed the nomadic nature of their patterns of existence. The French fur traders were readily accepted by the Chippewa because of the way they embraced the Chippewa culture. They learned the language and married Chippewa women.
During 1661-62, the French fur traders Raddison and Groseilliers journeyed four days from Madeline Island to a Huron Indian village, believed to be near the present village of Reserve on the Lac Courte Oreilles reservation. The French received permission to use the Indian lands for passage.
During the early 1700s, the Chippewa of the Madeline Island area began applying pressure on the Sioux Indians who lived in the region. Great battles between the Chippewa and Sioux were waged throughout northern Wisconsin and some of the battle sites are marked today for tourists. In 1745 a group of Ojibwe hunters braved the attacks of the Sioux by building their wigwams on the shore of Little Lac Courte Oreilles Lakes. During the winter, a child of the band died and was buried in the woods nearby. Legend has it that the parents were so bereaved they would not leave and defied the dangers of their enemies. Other Ojibwe followed and settled in such large numbers that the Sioux were driven out of the area.
In 1800, Michael Cadotte built the first permanent trading post for the British Northwest Fur Trading Company, and John Baptist Corbin, a 22-year-old French Canadian, became the first clerk of that post and the first white settler in the Lac Courte Oreilles area. Corbin married into the Lac Courte Oreilles band and raised many children. Many of his offspring still inhabit the Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation. He died in 1877 at the age of 99 and is buried in the Catholic Cemetary at Reserve.
In the years 1807 and 1842, the entire state of Michigan was ceded to the U.S. Government by various Indian tribes and a policy of Indian removal was instituted against the Chippewa. With the depletion of the fur trade the Chippewa bands faced famine, since they had grown so dependent upon the manufactured goods of the traders. The United States provided the Chippewa bands with provisions and annuities in exchange for land cessations granted under the treaties of 1837 and 1842. The Lac Courte Oreilles band, along with others were targeted for removal.
During the winter of 1850-51, a deceptive scheme was orchestrated against the Wisconsin Chippewa to dislodge them from the homelands and remove them to the west. First, the LaPointe Agency was closed and its functions moved to Sandy Lake at Fond du Lac. Then the Wisconsin Chippewa were refused their annuities, except at the distant location. The adult males were required to bring with them their families. Once the Indian families arrived, the rations and goods were purposefully delayed until the winter had set in and the Indians had not received the opportunity to prepare for the seaon. Hundreds perished at Sandy Lake and the outcry from that travesty resulted in a change of course from the removal policy toward the Chippewa band.
The Treaty if 1854 was designed to assimilate the Chippewa Indians into the mainstream of American life as small-scale farmers, an aim that Indian Affairs Commissioner Manypenny had idealized previously with tribes in Oklahoma.
Terms of the treaty were never fully provided for by the U.S. Government and pressure was employed upon the Lac Courte Oreilles band to consolidate into one reservation at Bad River. In 1872, the Chiefs of the tribe accompanied a team of surveyors and laid the external boundaries of the reservation. The reservation had been trepassed by “pine thieves” so often during this period that the tribe complained loudly to Indian agents.
The federal government quickly provided a mechanism for the lumber interests to invade the Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation, which was considered the wealthiest site for virgin timber anywhere in the north. During the period of 1884-88, the majority of virgin timber on the reservation was removed, and the tribe, through its individual allottees, had received 7-1000ths of one percent per board foot, which, according to historian James Clifton, “must have been one of the best timber bargains of the century.” By 1890, nearly all of the prime timber had been cut, while the logging of the hardwood had been delayed until 1904.
No matter the amount of pressure applied to the tribe to change to agricultural economics, the Lac Courte Oreilles bands continued to exercise their traditional economic skills of nomadic hunting, roaming, and seasonal collection of wild harvests of rice, berries and fishing.
As the tribe approached the 20th century, they were experienced survivors of a harsh policy of colonial intrusion.
Written by Dr. Rick St. Germaine