Perpetuating A Way Of Life

Great Lakes Ojibwe have spearfished through the ice for centuries. The practice is especially widespread among the Ojibwe of Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin, where many spearfishers skillfully carve fish decoys. Although their artistic qualities appeal to collectors, the decoys were made primarily to lure fish to feed families.


Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe John V. Snow and his fish decoys in process and at work, 1994
Photos by Lewis Koch, Wisconsin Folk Museum Woodland Indian Traditional Artist Documentation Project

Ojibwe fish decoy and jigging stick
by Buddy Wayman 1988
Gift of the Kimball Family (1988.83.2)

Ojibwe fish decoy
by Ross Allen, 1988

Gift of the Kimball Family (1988.83.1)

Ojibwe fish decoy and jigging stick
by John V. Snow 1994-1996

(1996.118.105a-b)