Grand Portage Rendezvous Days is a weekend-long celebration honoring the Anishinabe culture and the area’s historic fur trade. The historic trade took place between the Ojibwe and French in the 1730s, and with the British in the 1760’s. During this time, traders made a nine-mile portage, named the Grand Portage, around the Pigeon River. The portage allowed them to access the fur-rich areas of the state and establish trading relationships. Throughout the years, the relationship between the Anishinabe and the traders was strong.
The Great Rendezvous was celebrated each year at the end of the fur trade season. At this time, the Anishinabe and traders would come together to celebrate the year’s success. They would drink, dance, and eat wonderful food. The celebration would center around what is now known as the Grand Portage National Monument. The annual Grand Portage Rendezvous Days celebration honors these events of the past.
During the Rendezvous Days, the mid-day Grand Entry Saturday and Sunday are particularly inspirational and colorful. At this time, the U.S. flags are raised by military veterans from Grand Portage and staff bearers lead dancers, dressed in traditional regalia, into the Pow Wow ring. Throughout the Pow Wow, everyone has the chance to experience Native American culture in a wonderful way.
The Grand Portage Band of Minnesota Chippewa holds its traditional Grand Portage Rendezvous Days Celebration Pow Wow adjacent to the Grand Portage National Monument the same weekend as Grand Portage Rendezvous Days. Here, vendors offer a wide selection of arts, crafts, and Native American food. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the Grand Portage Band and its heritage. Of course, families, including non-Natives are highly encouraged to attend this event which is held each August. The schedule of events changes yearly, so be sure to do your research before heading up.