Mission Statement

Indigenous Borderlands and Border Rites is a research project and website presentation meant to break the silence that surrounds the more than fifty indigenous peoples in the northern borderlands of the United States and Canada. There is a surprising lack of knowledge about these indigenous borderlands inhabitants and the challenges they face due to increasing restrictions on cross border movement. 


Nimkee-Wae-Widom (Richard Lewis), Odawa-Potawatomi. Image from https://mynorth.com/2008/04/the-awakening/

The research and website presentation are guided by minaadendamowin, which means ‘respect’ in the Anishinaabe language. My wife Patricia (enrolled member of the Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians) and I learned about minaadendamowin during a three-month stay with her tribe in fall 2010.  I will address any concerns that native nations have about the information presented on this website by including alternative or opposing viewpoints or by removing material that is deemed objectionable to them.  Please send questions or concerns to me via the contact page. 

It was our stay in Bawating (Anishinaabe name for Sault Ste. Marie) that inspired this project because it was there that we experienced the divisive effect of the border visiting friends and relatives, participating in a sweat, attending an eagle staff gathering and going to Pow Wows.  The website is dedicated to Nimkee-Wae-Widom (Richard Lewis), Odawa-Potawatomi, whom Patricia and I met during our first stay in Sault Ste. Marie.  His spiritual guidance and encouragement has been the guiding light behind this project. We are deeply grateful for his friendship and support. Miigwech!


Guntram H. Herb, PhD
Professor of Geography
Middlebury College