Subjects:
Environmental Literacy and Sustainability, Information and Technology Literacy, Social Studies
Material Type:
Lesson, Unit of Study
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Language:
English

Education Standards

Apostle Island Indian Pageant

Overview

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Apostle Island Indian Pageant

Grade Level: 9-12

Content Area: Science, Social Studies, Information and Technology Literacy

Author: Liz Bodin, Bayfield School District, Library Media and Information Technology 

Environmental Literacy Standards Addressed:

Standard 1: ELS.C1: Students develop and connect with their sense of place and well-being through observation, exploration, and questioning. 

Social Studies Standards Addressed:

Using primary sources helps students learn to build meaningful connections and ask meaningful questions in connection to evaluating information. The following is a how the sources included in this text-set fit: 

  • Determining helpful sources in answering compelling and supporting questions.

  • Describing how people’s perspectives shaped the historical sources they created.

  • Gathering relevant information from multiple sources while using the origin, structure, and context to guide the selection.

Standard 1: SS.Inq1: Wisconsin students will construct meaningful questions that initiate an inquiry. 

Standard 2: SS.Inq2: Wisconsin students will gather and evaluate sources.

Standard 3: SS.Inq3: Wisconsin students will develop claims using evidence to support reasoning.

Standard 4: SS.Inq5: Wisconsin students will be civically engaged.

Information and Technology Literacy Addressed:

Exploration of primary sources supports the skills taught in school libraries, including: 

  • Inquire: gather evidence and make real-world connections.

  • Include: various points of view and perspectives.

  • Explore: spark curiosity and reflect to identify possible misconceptions.

  • Engage: evaluate information for accuracy and place it in historical and cultural context.

Standard KC1.c.3.m: Curate information from digital resources. 

Common Core State Standards: 

Exploration of primary sources supports student learning and developing skills, including: 

  • Evaluate various points of view. 

  • Assessing the credibility of sources. 

  • Conducting research projects based on focused questions.

  • Gathering evidence from literary and informational texts. 

 

Context: The Apostle Island Indian Pageant was part of Northern Wisconsin’s recognition of being a potential tourist destination. Planning for the Indian pageant began in 1923, with its first public production taking place in 1924. Staged in an outdoor amphitheater, the pageant touched on the history of the Great Lakes region starting in 1634 through 1854. The Apostle Islands Indian pageant failed to survive more than 2 years of production, however, it played a significant role in bringing tourists to the Northern Wisconsin region. 

The rationale behind developing this text-set is to highlight the role the Northern Wisconsin Indian tribes played in establishing the region as a tourist destination. This text-set comprises a variety of primary sources including a doctoral presentation, play script, postcard, photographs, and newspaper articles. These sources can be used on their own or paired with secondary sources to help retell the account of when Northern Wisconsin Native American history played a significant role in establishing the tourist economy that changed Northern WI, making it the tourist destination it is today.

These primary sources bring students into contact with documents that help give them a sense of what it was like to experience a period in history and help them relate to events of the past in a personal way. These primary sources related to the Apostle Island Indian Pageant promote a deeper understanding of Native history in the state of Wisconsin. They prompt curiosity and support critical thinking and analysis skills. These skills allow students to develop a deep understanding of historic events. Their feelings and thoughts encourage multiple interpretations of the past. 

According to the Library of Congress, “primary sources are often incomplete and have little context.” There is no suggested order of use for the primary sources included in this text-set, however, students should have prior knowledge of Northern Wisconsin Native history to further construct knowledge, identify patterns, test bias theories, and challenge assumptions. Having prior knowledge of the topic will also help students further investigate and answer questions they might have about the topic. 

Annotated Bibliography:

“Bound to bring a good harvest” presented by Prof. Katrina Phillips 

“Bound to bring a good harvest” presented by Prof. Katrina Phillips. (2019, March 22). YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ecuaFbqbn8&t=1556s

The role of the Apostle Islands Indian Pageant in Northern Wisconsin’s Tourism Industry. This source is a video recording of Prof. Katrina Phillips presenting a seminar on the historic reenactments of the Apostle Island Indian Pageant of Northern Wisconsin Native American history and the role the pageant played as a regional investment and element of establishing Bayfield, WI as a tourist economy. 

 

“Sieur du Lhut: historical play in four acts, with Indian pageant features and Indian melodies.

Sieur du Lhut : historical play in four acts, with Indian pageant features and Indian melodies / by Stella Prince Stocker. (1917, August). HathiTrust. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=loc.ark:/13960/t7qn6r10m&view=1up&seq=3&skin=2021

The script was used during the Apostle Islands Indian Pageant. This four-act play was acted out over the course of 3 days to highlight the history of the Great Lakes region starting around 1634. 

Postcard: Apostle Island Indian Pageant

Apostle Island Indian Pageant | Postcard. (2003, December 1). Wisconsin Historical Society. https://www.wisconsinhistory.org/Records/Image/IM85151

This postcard is a photographic scene from the Apostle Island Indian Pageant. Spectators can be seen sitting on a hillside overlooking teepees and people in Native American dress. 

Bayfield Pageant Opens Sunday Run to Aug. 16

Clipping from Leader-Telegram. (1925, August 4). Newspapers.Com. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/38651743/leader-telegram/

 

This newspaper article, published in the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram in 1925, provides a narrative of actors and preparations needed to support the production of the Apostle Island Indian Pageant. 

Apostle Island Indian Pageant August 2 to 16 

Apostle island indian pageant august 2 to16 | Newspaper Article/Clipping. (2012, January 1). Wisconsin Historical Society. https://www.wisconsinhistory.org/Records/Newspaper/BA5084

This source, containing two newspaper articles, describes to readers the lives of the actors, actresses, and pageant directors involved in the planning and production of tribal history. 

Postcard: Scene from the Apostle Island Indian Pageant

Scene from the Apostle Island Indian Pageant | Postcard. (2003, December 1). Wisconsin Historical Society. https://www.wisconsinhistory.org/Records/Image/IM85153

This postcard is a photographic scene from the Apostle Island Indian Pageant. Two children are sitting on a covered wagon being pulled by two oxen. Two men are leading the animal. Children and adults in the background are wearing traditional Native American regalia. 

Apostle Islands Indian Pageant

Apostle islands indian pageant | Newspaper Article/Clipping. (2012, January 1). Wisconsin Historical Society. https://www.wisconsinhistory.org/Records/Newspaper/BA5114

This newspaper article, published by the Eau Claire Telegram, describes the excitement and interest of pageant spectators on the second day of the first annual Indian Pageant. 

 

History of the Apostle Islands Indian Pageant 

History of the Apostle Islands Indian Pageant | Newspaper Article/Clipping. (2012, January 1). Wisconsin Historical Society. https://www.wisconsinhistory.org/Records/Newspaper/BA5032

Described as America’s great summerland, rich in beauty and Native History, the Bayfield Progress newspaper explains how a Scout picked the shores of Lake Superior and the Bayfield peninsula as the ideal spot to stage a pageant. 

Counties plan aid to Indian Pageant

Counties plan aid to Indian Pageant | Newspaper Article/Clipping. (2012, January 1). Wisconsin Historical Society. https://www.wisconsinhistory.org/Records/Newspaper/BA5033

Several communities in the Northern Wisconsin region submit a proposal for an annual historic pageant. 

"We All Have a Part to Play": Salvage Tourism in American Indian Historical Pageantry

Phillips, K. (2019, December 11). “We All Have a Part to Play”: Salvage Tourism in American Indian Historical Pageantry. University Digital Conservancy. https://conservancy.umn.edu/handle/11299/208981

This source includes three historical pageants in Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Oregon. It examines how Indian pageants were created for the purpose of supporting and maintaining regional tourism and not for the purpose of preserving Native history. 

Indian Pageant: Villas County News 

News Printing. (925, July 29). Vilas County news. [volume] (Eagle River, Vilas County, Wis.) 1896–1927, July 29, 1925, Image 5. The Library of Congress. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85040613/1925-07-29/ed-1/seq-5/

 

This newspaper source describes the scenes and history included in the Apostle Islands Indian Pageant. Readers gain a sense of the planning and preparation it takes to plan such an event and the life of the actors involved in the production.