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Leech Lake USACE Supports "The Great Anishinabe Canoe Race"

Zeb Hemsworth, a ranger at Leech Lake Recreation Area, uses the rescue boat to assist contestants and assure their safety on the wind-swept Leech Lake.
Clyde Bellecourt talks to and prays with participants who listen while gripping tobacco in their hands. Clyde talks about the gifts the “great spirit” has given us and prays to give thanks for all the resources that mother earth continues to offer. After the prayer, the tobacco will be tossed into the water and offered to the “great spirit”.

Lake: Leech Lake

Partners: USACE; The Nowacumig Institute; AIM-American Indian Movement

Corps POC: Zeb Hemsworth

Story: In July, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Leech Lake Dam and Recreation Area supported the second annual "Great Anishinabe Canoe Race." This event was put on by the Nowacumig Institute, a non-profit group organized under the corporate laws of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. The objectives of this event, like AIM, are to instill pride, to revive active use of the canoe and canoe racing, to encourage Native American youth to participate in cultural activities, and to defeat the high incidence of alcohol and drug use. The youth experience traditions of their culture that they may otherwise never have the chance to experience. The winners of the race win an expense-paid trip to Tokyo, Japan and a $250 scholarship. The leaders of the event, Dennis Banks and Clyde Bellecourt, are known for founding AIM (American Indian Movement), which has the objective of improving the quality of life among American Indians. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers supports the event by allowing it to take place on Corps property, supplying firewood, and assisting during the canoe race. The Corps of Engineers keeps a close eye on the safety of race participants.

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