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When the tribe donated the land, its members hoped that the new park unit, complete with a visitor center and museum, would revitalize the reservation's struggling economy and bring jobs to Grand Portage.
But soon after Grand Portage was created, the federal government dramatically reversed its stance toward Indian tribal authority.
Deschampe and other tribal leaders thought a self-governance agreement might work at Grand Portage.
In theory, such an agreement would be a straightforward undertaking: simply sign a paper that says maintenance staff now work for the Grand Portage Band.
Grand Portage's maintenance staff now does everything from repairing boardwalks along the Grand Portage trail to providing janitorial services for staff housing.
Moving on, they arrived at the south end of portage on October 3, 1798.
Portage La Biche is the link between the Churchill basin, which eventually drains into Hudson Bay, and the Athabasca-Mackenzie basin, which empties into the Arctic Ocean.
A first hand description of a journey over Portage La Biche was provided by Ross Cox in 1817 while travelling from the Pacific coast to Montreal.
Fidler left Cumberland House on August 5, (16) proceeded westward along the Beaver River, then travelled over Portage La Biche and arrived on the shores of Lac La Biche on September 26.
Portage La Biche thus became the gateway to the fur rich resources of the southern Athabasca country.
Second, when it comes time to carry the boat (as happens when the water doesn't flow where you want to go), make the portage in a single trip.
Ojibwa Indians occupied this country for hundreds of years, traversing these same lakes by birch-bark canoe, wearing down these same portage trails.