Location: Lac du Flambeau, WI
Years of Operation: 1895-1932
Brief History: The Lac du Flambeau Boarding School opened in 1895, with a capacity of 200 students. By 1899, there were 150 students and 5 staff members; prior to its closing in 1932, there were around 300 students. The original complex consisted of 18 structures along with a farm and forest. While most of the original buildings have been torn down, the boy’s dormitory has been in use almost continually, first as Bureau of Indian Affairs’ housing, then as a BIA office, a tribal government building and most recently, as a homeless shelter. The building was permanently closed in 1999. It is now being preserved to be developed into an interpretive center, an archival storage facility and a traditional skills learning center. Tribal elders who were interviewed about the old school were supportive of preserving the dorm as a symbol of survival through a harsh era.
The Lac du Flambeau Tribe’s Historic Preservation Officer, Kelly Jackson, received the first Secretary of the Interior Historic Preservation Award last year in part for her work on “Legacies of Survival,” the effort to restore the former boy’s dorm to its 1906 footprint.
Primary Sources: Tribal Historic Preservation Department, http://www.ojibwehistory.org
Kelly Jackson, Idfthop@nnex.net
Contact number: 715-588-2270
Original School Site: 838 Whitefeather Lane
Lac du Flambeau, WI