Totem Pole Legend
This project really started over 200 years ago, when a pine tree was born in a stand of virgin timber along the shore of Trout River in the year 1776. When the tree, a monarch White Pine was cut in 1981 it was 121’9’’ tall. It measured 38’’ in diameter and was 10 feet in circumference. This tree was placed in a cocoon for over 2 years. Some people call it Lion Jerry Meyer’s office basement. This was where the Lions like a bunch of beavers went to work on it. It was after many days of chewing, chipping, gouging and painting that the tree was converted and ready to emerge from the cocoon. It had become the Totem Pole Na-Wak-Wa, 38 feet tall.
Totem poles are not native to Indians except for the Northwestern tribes of our continent. They were used primarily to tell the history of a family or clan. If there were still clans today, we are sure the Lions would be well represented in all of them. Although the totem pole carved by the Lac du Flambeau Lions Club is somewhat symbolic to Indian carvings, this totem pole was designed and created by the Club.
The top figure selected was the Bald Eagle, whom we call ‘mi-gi-zi-wag’. The eagle was best known for his courage and bravery. It is not only our national emblem, but it also represents one of the most famous birds from Wisconsin, Old Abe, the mascot of the 8th Regiment, Company C. In the Civil War, he took part in 22 battles and 60 skirmishes. Old Abe came from the Lac du Flambeau Indian Reservation.
The second figure is the Beaver, whom we call ‘amik’ known for his ambition as a hard worker. One who is always willing to work together as a team to get the job done. It also represents the Lions Clubs who work together for the good of others.
The third figure is the Raven, whom we call ‘gaa-gaa-gishii’. This raven is special because he has the eyes of an Owl, one who sees in the dark. The raven is a very crafty bird, known to be mischievous, very loud and one who likes to attract attention. He is well represented by the Tail Twister in every Lions Club. The little raven, whom by legend, put the stars and moon in the sky, represents the Lions worldwide.
The next figure is the wolf, whom we call ‘ma-iin-gan’. Known for his cunning, he has tremendous stamina, and strength. He represents the Lions Clubs who come up with the clever and new ideas to raise funds for their programs of service.
The next figure is the Bear, whom we call ‘ma-kwa’. One of the strongest of all the wild animals in North America and one of the fastest, known to be an expert fisherman and family provider. He represents the Lions Clubs as the strongest service club in the world.
The Lions Emblem, representing the Lion, whom we call ‘mi-shi-biz-ii’ is the low man on the totem pole, but is also the most important. It is holding up all the rest. The Lions emblem represents the millions of Lions around the world supporting every project, every event, every program of service for their community.
To all the people who attend the Lions Camp, we, the Lac du Flambeau Lions Club, dedicate this totem pole to you. We call it Na-Wak-Wa, which means “a meeting place for friends”. We hope this will always be your Na-wak-wa. May your stay at this camp and all those who follow you, find it to be a place of friendship.
For a complete history of our totem poles please visit the Wisconsin Lions Newspaper.
The Legend of Sneaky
One of the enduring traditions at Camp is our friend Sneaky! Sneaky is a half of a popsicle stick that travels from pocket to pocket at Camp. There are some rules for Sneaky.
- He has to be passed on the person
- If you are caught passing Sneaky, you must take him back
- You cannot pass Sneaky using tape – he has an allergy to adhesives!
- Sneaky cannot be passed in the dining hall.
If you have Sneaky at lunchtime, you must go up and draw a Sneaky from the Sneaky jar. As we know, Sneaky can be something really good or something not so good.
Some good examples could be you get to eat your counselor’s dessert or your Unit Director will be your waiter for the meal.
Some not-so-good examples include eating under your table, a lifejacket test, or singing a song to the dining hall.
Last year, Sneaky’s cousin Pokey, who has diabetes, joined us for the youth with diabetes weeks. Sneaky has had many imitators, including a set dressed up like the racing sausages from the Brewers…but the Sneaky council always finds out the truth!
The addition of the lighthouse on Indian Point was a surprise donation in 2001. The lighthouse is a replica of an original lighthouse in Sheboygan. A woman won the lighthouse in a raffle, but quickly realized it was too big for her home. Because it had space to play in and climb on, she thought she would donate it to the Wisconsin Lions Camp. It was installed on the Point, and generous assistance from a work group from Rawhide Boys Ranch enabled a light to be installed and wired on the top of the lighthouse to shine at night. The lighthouse is also a popular photo spot and adds to the charm of Lions Lake.
Louie the Lion came into existence out west in Salem, Oregon in 1935. A man named “Hod” McManners was visiting relatives in Salem and was admiring the lion statues produced by local industry. To Mr. McManner’s surprise, Mr. Ed McLean stopped at Black River Falls with a bus that he was delivering to Detroit that was carrying a “passenger”, a lion made of concrete and old gun barrels.
The Lion served as a landmark in Black River Falls and was often tipped over by local youth. After some injuries to the Lion, he was donated to the local Lions Club which put him in storage. In 1960, a resident, Don Woodford, was doing some work around Lion Louis Gardipee’s house and asked what happened to the Lion. Mr. Woodford suggested that the Lion be donated to the Wisconsin Lions Camp.
After some cleaning and refurbishing, the Lion was brought over to the Wisconsin Lions Camp on a new base and with a plaque on it. He was originally named Leo, but the club had a sense of humor and renamed him Louie. These days Louie the Lion watches over the Camp from his position at the front gate and is a popular photo spot for our campers and visitors. A Lions Club recently donated another Lion to guard our lower Camp area from his post at the parking lot. Louie’s little brother Leo, is not as heavy and is more colorful. Stop by and see both of the Wisconsin Lions Camp’s lions!