Wind chimes jingled as I walked reverently through the cemetery. For some only simple wooden crosses marked the grave. Other grave decorations were much more elaborate. Great carved wooded eagles with wings rising up and bears standing on hind legs set where traditional headstones might rest. White linked chains fenced the perimeter of some burial sites. A cast iron gateway created a courtyard for one plot. Sun faded pink, yellow, blue and white silk flowers honored many of the dead giving the flat field splashes of color. American flags waved for the veterans. And, statues of elves, parrots, Mickey& Minnie Mouse, and a Dalmatian made me wonder about the significance of their presence.
In an older section of the cemetery, weathered headstones leaned at angles. Many of these people laid to rest here had died over 100-years ago: John 1873 -1904; Our Darling 1905 – 1906; Mary Leamux died 1899 21-years; and Chief Antoine Cloud 1842 - 1910. Giant pines and a huge stone cross cast quiet shadows over the graves. No wind chimes rang here.
These cemeteries are located in Odanah, Wisconsin
on the reservation of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Tribe of
the Chippewa Indians.
July 15, 2009