by Tara Rose Westin)
Lac du Flambeau, WI For decades families have experienced
the beauty and culture of the Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe at the Tribe's
historic "Indian Bowl." And until a few years ago, it
was one of Wisconsin's best-known introductions to tribal culture
and traditions offering tourists as well as talent from all over
Indian Country an opportunity to share and experience cultural traditions.
Since the early 1920's, Lac du Flambeau has been a cultural
gem for the State of Wisconsin and continues to provide cultural
experiences for travelers from all over the world.
Realizing the cultural assets in his own community, Darren Thompson
created a musical retreat focused specifically on the Native American
flute on the Lac du Flambeau Indian Reservation in Northern Wisconsin
and had no idea it would continue to be an annual event. In its
second consecutive year and acclaimed as "one-of-a-kind,"
the retreat exposes students to the Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe community,
its history and its future all while offering participants with
instruction and inspiration to learn about the Native American flute
and its history.
Darren Thompson is a renowned Native American flute player from
the Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe who specializes in the performance of
both modern and ancient Native American flutes reintroduced through
rigorous studies of museum archives and collections. He is quickly
becoming one of Indian Country's most recognized Native American
flute players by emphasizing the strengths and talents within American
Indian cultures. A self-taught musician, Darren has been performing
for the past 10 years throughout Indian Country sharing the rich
history of original American Indian music. Originally from the Lac
du Flambeau Ojibwe Reservation, Darren now specializes in a diversity
of Native American flutes that reflects many American Indian cultures.
The all-in-one retreat is hosted at Dillman's Bay Resort,
a lakefront resort on the reservation that has a long and cherished
history in Wisconsin's Northwoods. Offering 4 beaches, a marina
for a variety of water sports on pristine White Sand Lake, unlimited
picnic areas, limited cellular service, the resort couldn't
be more perfect for a retreat tailored specifically for the instruction
of the Native American flute. Unlike many resorts, Dillman's
also offers art workshop retreats with internationally known instructors
providing students from all over the globe an opportunity to focus
on creativity and get to know other like-minded learners.
"When Darren brought his passion to Dillman's Bay
Resort last year, our students and guests were overwhelmed with
satisfaction at such a unique offering," said Dillman's
Bay Resort Owner Sue Robertson. "With such positive feedback
from the community and our guests, we thought it would be a wonderful
opportunity to make this offering an annual tradition. We are so
lucky to continue a total cultural immersion opportunity that is
truly unique in arts."
"The idea of a workshop arose from my desire to invite people
to experience the beauty of Wisconsin's American Indian communities,"
said Native American Flute player and Lac du Flambeau tribal member
Darren Thompson. "There is so much beauty in Indian Country."
A first in his community and considered a pioneer example of
American Indian cultural tourism, the retreat not only focuses on
flute instruction, but exposes participants of all ages to various
attractions and places of significance to the Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe
people including the tribe's cultural museum, the world- renowned
Waswagoning Indian Village, which is a historic recreation of an
Ojibwe village, and the future site of the Waswagoning Living and
Cultural Arts Center, soon to be a cultural icon for the tribe and
the State of Wisconsin. Participants are immersed in Ojibwe culture
while lodging at a world-class lakeside resort within Indian Country.
Among those taking note and endorsing the event is Native American
Tourism of Wisconsin, a statewide organization dedicated to creating
and promoting tourist opportunities within Wisconsin's American
Indian communities. Home to the largest number of American Indian
tribes east of the Mississippi River, Wisconsin's eleven tribes
occupy some of Wisconsin's most beautiful and unique landscapes:
pristine lakes, rivers and streams, towering forests and ancient
wild rice beds, each teaming with an abundance of wildlife.The organization
exists solely on creating opportunities in Wisconsin that are accessible
to the general public, to share Wisconsin's Native communities,
their history, talent and culture with the rest of the world.
"It's not always the easiest to promote one opportunity
with so much diversity among Wisconsin's Tribal communities,"
said Native American Tourism of Wisconsin's Executive Director
Ernest Stevens III. "It's challenging to develop a package
that meets the desires of tourists and Darren's retreat provides
much of what Wisconsin's Native communities offer. Located
on one of the many picturesque lakes on the Lac du Flambeau Indian
Reservation, the retreat offers students and vacationers a genuine
opportunity offered in Indian Country by Indian Country."
Also commending the event is the Wisconsin Department of Tourism.
"It is a prime example of what Wisconsin's Native
communities can offer, both material and immaterial," said
Wisconsin Department of Tourism Tribal Liaison Andrew Nussbaum.
"Tribal art, traditions and culture are significant parts of
both Indian and non-Indian communities in the State, making Wisconsin
a remarkable place to explore the history of Wisconsin's Native
people. With a widely recognized Native talent like Darren Thompson
offering an opportunity highlighting much of what Wisconsin's
Native communities offer, the State of Wisconsin is truly fortunate
to be the home of this world-class event."
"It is a living dream to welcome people to my community
and invite them to learn from the environment that has not only
inspired me and my work for years, but countless others as well,"
continued Darren Thompson. "There are very few opportunities
for people to experience and learn in Indian Country and it is my
goal to share the rich and often misunderstood history and heritage
of the Ojibwe people."
Set for June 21-25, Darren Thompson's 2nd Annual Native
American Flute Retreat hosted at Dillman's Bay Resort on the
Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe Reservation is set to expand new horizons
within American Indian cultural tourism. In addition to the retreat,
Darren has scheduled an album release concert highlighting his new
music compositions with ancient Native American flutes prior to
the retreat during a special appearance by Bayfield's (WI)
Big Top Chautauqua's Blue Canvas Orchestra where hundreds of
guests attend the yearly event featuring both acts.
"Consider joining us for this landmark event on June 21-25
at Dillman's Resort," said Director of Dillman's
Creative Arts Department Dennis Robertson. "Our students and
guests have been shared they have had times of their lives and have
expressed only one wish - that the workshop was longer."
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