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                                                                                                      Bill Latady





Feb. 21, 2010


Minnesota Historical Society awards Bois Forte museum heritage grant


With little documentation of Band’s artists, $7,000 grant allows creation of special film


TOWER, MINN. – The work of acclaimed painter Carl Gawboy, a Bois Forte Band member who depicts a traditional, native way of life, will be preserved in a video of his work, thanks to a new grant awarded to the Band’s Heritage Museum.


The Minnesota Historical Society awarded a $7,000 Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grant to the Bois Forte Heritage Museum on Jan. 21. These grants are made possible by the Minnesota Legislature from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund created with passage of the Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment to the Minnesota Constitution in November 2008. The grants are awarded to support projects of enduring value for the cause of history and historic preservation across the state.


Carl Gawboy’s work fits the bill perfectly. The Ely, Minn., native is well known for his water colors and acrylics depicting scenes of Ojibwe people hunting, fishing and gathering, rendered by vivid memories of youth and masterful artistry. His paintings tell a story that is in danger of eluding history books, capturing the traditional ways of the Ojibwe. They reflect the simplicity of life in Ely, where chopping wood is an art form in itself. His images connect the viewer to a time that has forever changed and, in many cases, disappeared, celebrating what was once commonplace with uncommon detail.


Gawboy is currently working on a mural for the Bois Forte Community and Government Center under construction. His work has been featured in special exhibits at the Bois Forte Heritage Museum, in addition to a large mural on permanent display illustrating the


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Anishinabe Migration from the East Coast through the Great Lakes to Minnesota, where they finally fulfilled their vision and found food that grows on water: wild rice.


The video is being directed by Emmy winning Lorraine Norrgard who produced/directed the PBS documentary series, "Waasa Inaabidaa- We Look In All Directions", on the Great Lakes Ojibwe (Chippewa) in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan.


Bois Forte requested the legacy grant in order to create a documentary of Gawboy’s extraordinary work, which conveys Ojibwe history and culture with accuracy and passion. It is a notable, exciting step for the Band, said Tribal Chairman Kevin Leecy.


“There are few films, books or public recordings of Bois Forte artists,” Chairman Leecy said. “It is imperative that we document the work of talented artists like Carl Gawboy before it becomes lost to time. This documentary’s enduring value can be enjoyed by all who appreciate fine art as well as Native American culture.”


The project will begin mid-February and will be completed in May. Through the film, the historical perspective of this Bois Forte Ojibwe artist will be available to his community and the wider public.


“It is wonderful to see so many communities and local organizations benefitting from the Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants,” said Britta Bloomberg, deputy state historic preservation officer. “Minnesotans should be proud of the unprecedented opportunities these grants provide for organizations to preserve and share our history and cultural heritage. The impact of projects supported by Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants will be felt throughout the state for many years to come.”


The Society will award a total of $6.75 million in Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants to non-profit and educational organizations, government units and tribes during the 2010 and 2011 fiscal years for projects of enduring value for the cause of history and historic preservation across the state. Grants are available in three tiers: Small or “Fast Track grants of $7000 or less, Mid-size grants between $7000 and $50,000 and Large Grants of more than $50,000. For more information, including application deadlines, visit


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