Oral History Collection
Mille Lacs Indian Trading Post Project
All narrators in this collection resided on or near the Mille Lacs Reservation for many years, worked at the Mille Lacs Trading Post, and were well acquainted with its owners, Harry and Jeannette Ayer. Fred Benjamin was a tour guide, Letitia Caldwell a salesperson, Sally Mitchell and Batiste Sam restaurant and cleaning help, and Maude Kegg a friend and craftsperson. Kegg has written several books about the Ojibwe people.
In their interviews they describe the appearance of the trading post buildings and discuss the operation of the post-- the daily routine during summer operation; items sold in the general store and museum, including locally made goods as well as Mexican and Navaho rugs and pottery; credit arrangements with the Indians in exchange for work and/or crafts to be sold; and noted visitors to the post. The narrators also talk about such local Indian crafts as beadwork, birchbark, maple sugar candy, and basketry; social activities such as the moccasin game and medicine dance (powwow); and fishing and boat building.
Only the transcripts of these taped interviews are available at the Minnesota Historical Society.