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little traverse bands of odawa indians

© J. Carl Ganter/Circle of Blue

At the shoreline, between lake and land, Melissa Wiatrolik reflects on those who were here before Michigan became Michigan. She had been raised in a community that honored the dead, that understood that their ancestors were always present. As a child, she had watched her own family clean the gravestones of those before her. She had attended ghost suppers to both celebrate and feed the deceased. She had grown up with remembrance, and now, at the shores of Lake Michigan, Wiatrolik worked to keep her ancestors at peace.

protesters against Line 5 on the water
Courtesy of Andrea Pierce

This Saturday, a flotilla of kayaks, paddleboards, and birch bark canoes will paddle out into the Straits of Mackinac between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

It's the fourth annual Pipe Out Paddle Protest against the pair of oil and natural gas liquids pipelines known as Line 5 that lie beneath the Straits. 

Woollam Nature Preserve in Harbor Springs
Charles Dawley / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Some of Northern Michigan's top vacation destinations are at the heart of a lawsuit filed by the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians.

The tribe argues that a treaty signed in 1855 set the boundaries of a reservation that would cover 337 square miles in what is now Emmet and Charlevoix Counties. That would include popular vacation spots like Harbor Springs, Petoskey, and parts of Charlevoix.