Press Release: Isle Royale Delivers Handwoven Mats to Grand Portage

Grand Portage - Mats loaded in WOLF at Mott Island and ready for the journey to Grand Portage

Isle Royale National Park News Release

Release Date:    October 14, 2020

Contact:            Liz Valencia, 906-369-7146,

Isle Royale Delivers Handwoven Mats to Grand Portage

HOUGHTON, MICH – In September, a significant journey across Lake Superior from Isle Royale to Grand Portage, Minnesota, took place.  The cargo?  Five culturally significant woven mats (anaakanan) from the Isle Royale National Park museum collection.  The mats, four woven from cedar bark and the fifth made of sweetgrass, are now on long term loan to Grand Portage National Monument.  They joined twelve other mats in the Grand Portage museum collection; six from Grand Portage NM, four others from the Isle Royale collection, and two owned by the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

At least two of the mats from Isle Royale and several more in the collection at Grand Portage, were made by Tchi-ki-wis, Mrs. Helen Robinson Linklater, an Ojibwe woman who lived on Isle Royale in the late 1920s and early 1930s with her game warden husband, John Linklater. She crafted mats and other items of cedar and birch bark and sold them to tourists and summer residents. The mats are a one-of-a-kind collection, representing what has been described by a researcher as the largest collection of Anishinaabeg cedar mats crafted by one artisan in North America.

Grand Portage - Handwoven mat of dyed cedar bark strips; black, red and natural plad check pattern with medicine eye design.Photo caption:  Handwoven mat made of dyed cedar bark strips; black, red, and natural plaid check pattern with medicine eye design.  The mat was possibly crafted by Tchi-ki-wis Linklater in 1930. The mat is eight feet long and four feet eight inches wide.

Packing and moving five fragile mats for an autumn trip on Lake Superior in a small boat was no easy task and required careful preparation and planning in advance by the staff of Isle Royale and the Lake Superior Collection Management Center based at Keweenaw National Historical Park.  Museum Curator Penelope Yocum, who organized the project, also called on the expert advice of a professional conservator from the NPS Harpers Ferry Center.  All supplies and materials needed for project had to be acquired in advance and sent to Isle Royale.

Before shipment, the mats were removed from their storage crate at Mott Island and carefully cleaned.  Four of the mats were pliable and able to be rolled around large tubes, wrapped in muslin fabric, secured with cotton ribbon, and covered with plastic for the trip.  The final mat was brittle and unable to be rolled. A special cardboard folder was constructed so it could be transported flat.  The mats were loaded into the 22 ft. park vessel WOLF and transported the 60 miles to Grand Portage where the Grand Portage Band Tribal Council welcomed them home.  Grand Portage - Mats loaded in WOLF at Mott Island and ready for the journey to Grand Portage

Photo caption:  Mats loaded in WOLF at Mott Island and ready for the journey to Grand Portage. Curator Penelope Yocum kept watch while Archeologist Seth DePasqual piloted the boat.

The loan of the mats highlights just one of the many connections between the Grand Portage Ojibwe and Isle Royale.  In 2019, Isle Royale was designated as a Traditional Cultural Property (TCP) and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The TCP documents and celebrates the traditional and long-lasting use of Minong (Isle Royale) by the Grand Portage Band and identifies the unique relationship between Grand Portage and Isle Royale.  According to Isle Royale National Park Superintendent, Denice Swanke, “the park was honored to protect these mats over the years and appreciates the collaboration with the Grand Portage Band and Grand Portage National Monument to now host all seventeen mats together.”

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for the 421 parks in the National Park System and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at, on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube


 Contact Info: 

Liz Valencia

Manager, Interpretation and Cultural Resources Division

Isle Royale National Park

800 E. Lakeshore Drive

Houghton, MI 49931




Press Release: $9,339 Raised for the Local Community from the One Moose Apart T-shirt Fundraiser

One Moose Apart Campaign Raises over $9000 - $5,339 in donations to Empty Bowls


$9,339 Raised for the Local Community from the One Moose Apart T-shirt Fundraiser

Grand Marais, Minn. (October 6, 2020) – What started off as a playful way to promote social distancing, grew to a fundraiser for the community that raised $9,339 in donations. 

“When we launched the “One Moose Apart” campaign in March, we quickly started hearing feedback from folks that they wanted this image on a t-shirt” said Linda Jurek, Executive Director of Visit Cook County. “We saw this as a great opportunity to spread the word about staying vigilant to slow the spread of Covid-19 in our community as well as raise money for local community members in need.” 

Once the fundraising campaign was launched in July, support came in from across the country from both lifelong residents as well as frequent visitors. With each purchase, supporters were given the opportunity to post a comment about why they chose to contribute to this campaign. Here are a few testimonials:  

“Cook County is a special place with incredible people. I want to give back for all the memories they’ve given me” – Brianna Larson

“We just LOVE Cook County and hope that everyone there stays healthy and safe!” – Sharon A Ostlie

Even local business owners were proud to support the campaign:

“Because we love Cook County and we want to help support our neighbors through this difficult time!” – Kim Corliss, co-owner of North Shore Winery.  

To view testimonials from supporters, visit the campaign websites: 

The original campaign ended on August 11, 2020. However, demand remained strong and a second campaign was completed in September. In total, the combined campaigns sold 658 t-shirts and raised $9,339.  

The proceeds were distributed to two local organizations. $4,000 going to the Violence Prevention Center and $5,339 going to the Empty Bowls organization. Both not-for-profit organizations provide critical relief to the local community supporting a broad group of individuals and families from children to the elderly. 

Empty Bowls is an organization that hosts an annual fundraiser in November that focuses on providing food to those in need. However, due to the coronavirus, the event will not be able to be held as usual. Proceeds raised from the Empty Bowls event are distributed to multiple organizations including the local food shelf, schools, Good Samaritan Fund, Snacks & Packs program, Cook County Council on Ageing, Ruby’s Pantry and the Cooperation Station Daycare.  

The Violence Prevention Center provides critical services for individuals and families in times of crisis. Among their vast array of services they provide temporary housing, legal, medical and emotional support. 

Visit Cook County would like to extend a sincere thank you to all supporters of this campaign for their generous support. To learn more about One Moose Apart, please visit: 

About Visit Cook County 

Visit Cook County encompasses the northeastern Minnesota communities of Lutsen, Tofte, Schroeder, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail and Grand Portage, commonly referred to as “the Arrowhead” and the “North Shore of Lake Superior”.  Grand Marais, Minn., has earned several national accolades — most recently it was named USA Today’s Best Midwestern Small Town, Outside Magazine’s The 16 Best Places to Live in the U.S. 2016, and Budget Travel’s 2015 Coolest Small Town in America. Rekindle your sense of adventure by exploring the Superior National Forest or paddling through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Discover what makes the communities of Cook County, Minn. “Naturally Unforgettable.” Connect on social media using #donorthmn, Twitter @CookCoVisitors, Facebook, or Instagram @donorthmn. Learn more at


One Moose Apart Campaign Raises over $9000 - $5,339 in donations to Empty Bowls

One Moose Apart Campaign Raises over $9000 – $5,339 in donations to Empty Bowls. Pictured here: Pat Campanero board member of Empty Bowls , Linda Jurek executive director of Visit Cook County and Murray the Moose.

One Moose Apart Campaign Raises over $9000 - $4000 in donations to Violence Prevention Center

One Moose Apart Campaign Raises over $9000 – $4000 in donations to Violence Prevention Center. Pictured here: Lindsey Gau, director of Violence Prevention Center, Linda Jurek executive director of Visit Cook County and Murray the Moose.

Kjersti Vick | email: | phone: (218) 387-2788 ext. 104