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Sunrise Ceremony:

Sunrise Ceremony and Start of the Walk

Since a large portion of the Sunrise Ceremony involves activities that should not be photographed or video recorded, we offer here a condensed version of that event, hopefully capturing the flavor of the event as well as the number of people in attendance. However, in one portion, Pipe Carrier George Martin offers a teaching on how semaa (tobacco) is used in the all-important pipe ceremony, which teaching was left in this video. This video clip (which runs around 10 minutes) also shows the beginning of the walk, from the Tribal Operations building all the way to the center of Mt. Pleasant. Play

Chief Cantu addresses audience at the Sunrise Ceremony

Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Chief Fred Cantu Jr. shares his thoughts at the Tribal Operations Gymnasium during the Sunrise Ceremony. Play


Isabella County Building:

Hunter Genia

Hunter Genia, with the Tribe's Behavioral Health program, was a key local planner for this event - and master of ceremonies at the County Building stop along the walk. Watch his opening remarks. Play

Mt Pleasant Mayor James Holton

Mt. Pleasant was represented by it's top elective official in Mayor James Holton who was the first local government dignitary to speak before the crowd gathered on the county building's lawn. Play

Isabella County Commissioner David Ling

Isabella County Commissioner David Ling opened with some humor, but duly acknowledged the seriousness of the years in which the boarding schools operated and their terrible actions for which responsible governments should apologize. Play

Union Township Supervisor John Barker

A large portion of the Isabella Reservation as well as the site of the Indian Industrial Boarding School resides within what is today the Charter Township of Union. Supervisor John Barker, Union Township's top official spoke on behalf of township membership. Play

MP Area Diversity Group member James Moreno

James Moreno currently sits on the Isabella County Commission, but also belongs to the Mount Pleasant Area Diversity Group, for whom he spoke. Play


Isabella County Human Rights Committee member Sean Novak

Sean Novak represents the Isabella County Human Rights Committee of which he is a member since last September. Mr. Novak also is vice-chair of the Mt. Pleasant Area Diversity Group and assistant director of Minority Student Services at nearby Central Michigan University. Novak spoke with a great deal of passion. Play

Hunter Genia

Hunter Genia commented about the affects of abuse (his area of professional expertise) before the Anishinabekwe Singers concluded the County Building stop along the walk. Play

The final offering at the County Building stop was a performance by Anishinabekwe Singers. Here is one of their songs. Play


Journey For For-giveness:
Mt. Pleasant Indian Industrial Boarding School

Journey Forward

View a photo gallery of the final stop in Washington D.C.

July 1: Read the thoughts of some who participated in the Journey...

The group pictured at left is leaving to participate in the Journey For Forgiveness event scheduled to take place in Washington DC - a next phase in the nation-wide observance.

General Information on Mt. Pleasant/Isabella Reservation Event (June 17)

In conjunction with the 2009 Wellbriety Journey for Forgiveness, White Bison ( and the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan presented a day-long observance and forum to address the U.S. imposed Indian Boarding School era and the ensuing effects of historical trauma on Wednesday, June 17.

View an agenda.

The day began with a Sunrise Ceremony at the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Operations Building (7500 Soaring Eagle Blvd) at 7am, followed by a Three Fires Confederacy 5-Mile Forgiveness Walk to the Mt. Pleasant Indian Industrial Boarding School. The program continued on the grounds of the boarding school site with guest speakers, panel discussions, a 100 Drums honor song and Jingle Dress Healing Dance.

The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan was pleased to present the Healing the Circle Concert with Kevin Chamberlain and special guests, ULALI at 9 pm on the outdoor soundstage in Seventh Generation's Woods, located on the corner of Remus and Shepherd Roads.

Jingle Dress Healing Dance

The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe's Planning Committee extended semaa (sacred tobacco) to sisters Maia, Melissa & Iliana Montoya to coordinate a Jingle Dress Healing Dance. The dance took place on the grounds of the Mt. Pleasant Indian Industrial Boarding School near the close of the day on June 17th.

In keeping with the spiritually beautiful gifts of healing that were bestowed upon the Anishinabe, this powerful and moving dance ceremony will bring spiritual, physical, emotional, and intellectual restoration to those in need.

The planning committee is thankful for these sisters for making provisions for this ceremony. The committee also wishes to say miigwetch to all of the ladies participating in this special dance, for they will be healing and strengthening the people.

View our gallery of images from Isabella County Courthouse:

The sequence at left starts with Chief Fred Cantu Jr. speaking to those attending the Sunrise Ceremony at the Tribal Operations gymnasium and the sequence follows their walk the County Courthouse at the center of Mt. Pleasant. Around 200 or more people walked in the Journey. They gathered at the courthouse to hear tribal, city and county government representatives show their respect for those who suffered so badly from the boarding school experience, and it's heavy impact on Native culture.

For an overview of life in the Mt. Pleasant Indian Industrial School and it's many impacts, visit Central Michigan University's Clark Historical Library online. Many resources can also be accessed from this page.

2009 Saganing Powwow

Petition Requesting Apology for Abuses at US Indian Schools

This petition calls upon the President of the United States to issue a formal apology for what the US government allowed to happen to Native American children at the schools and for the effects it continues to have on Native American individuals, families, and communities to this day. Support this historic journey and Native American healing by signing our petition today.

Click here for detailed information(.pdf)

Walk's End - Journey's Beginning

Walk's End - Journey's Beginning:
From County Building to Boarding School Site

Hunter Genia offers thoughts on the conclusion of the meeting at the County Building with area government representatives and then urges all to complete the day's walk to the site of the Indian Industrial School. This video takes you from those concluding comments through the final leg of the walk and blessings to those assembled upon arrival. Play

All video and photographs produced by SCITMedia (Saginaw Chippewa Information Technology Multimedia Development) with the exeption of the archival main image, of the boarding school and children, and the map next to the petition appeal.