Birchbark Canoe Artist Wayne Valliere, Sr., Honored by NEA

Congratulations to Wayne Valliere, Sr., a member of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, on his recent recognition as a 2020 National Heritage Fellow by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)!

Mr. Valliere is a traditional birchbark canoe builder from Lac du Flambeau and works as an Ojibwe language and culture teacher at the Lac du Flambeau Public School. CCHE first met Mr. Valliere through CCHE Research Ambassador Tim Frandy, PhD, in 2013. The UW-Madison Art Department brought Mr. Valliere to campus as an artist-in-resident for the woodworking program during the fall 2013 semester. Check out this 15 minute video documenting the canoe building process.

The canoe took shape with the help of UW–Madison faculty and art students, as well as middle-school students from Lac du Flambeau school district’s ENVISION program, and Madison’s Goodman Community Center. Aside from the artistic and cultural components, the program was designed as a preventative and culturally-situated intervention to improve health and wellness outcomes within targeted youth. Read the 2013 UW News piece on the birchbark canoe launch.

We’re thrilled to see Mr. Valliere’s talent celebrated at such a high level. Congratulations and miigwech, Minogiizhig!