Covering topics that relate to our public lands and what's important to the people that live and visit here, in Grand Portage, and throughout the Heart of the Continent Region.

We will discuss sharing stewardship between Tribal, First Nations, and federal, state, and provincial land managers. Discussions and presentations on different management approaches relating to moose habitat, wildland fires, and dark sky preservation, across political and cultural boundaries.



Location Grand Portage Lodge and Casino

A suggested $12 U.S. at the door covers the Tuesday evening Artist Panel Discussions and all day events on Wednesday

Start Time: 5 PM, Tuesday February 20th

End Time: 8 PM Wednesday February 21st

Accommodations (on your own) Grand Portage Lodge and Casino - if reserving a room mention "Heart of the Continent Gathering" for reduced rate $107 plus taxes if you call the lodge directly - 1 800-543-1384

Verification of Tribal Affiliation will receive a further reduced rate.

Meals (on your own) at the Island View Restaurant at Grand Portage Lodge and Casino:

Travis Novitsky - View out of Lodge Restraurant

FEBRUARY 20 - 2024

Dinner at Grand Portage Lodge (optional) Meals (on your own) at Island View Restaurant at Grand Portage Lodge and Casino:

Evening Artist Panel starts at 6:30 P.M.

6:30 – 8:30 PM - Tuesday, February 20,

Artists Discussion: How Does Your Art Help Tell the Stories?

Timothy Cochrane, Timothy Cochrane was superintendent at Grand Portage National Monument for twenty years, where he worked closely with the Grand Portage Band of Anishinaabeg and the tribal council. His books include A Good Boat Speaks for Itself: Isle Royale Fishermen and Their Boats and Gichi Bitobig, Grand Marais: Early Accounts of the Anishinaabeg and the North Shore Fur Trade, both from Minnesota, and Minong: The Good Place—Ojibwe and Isle Royale.

Staci Lola Drouillard, is a Grand Portage Band of Ojibwe direct descendant. Her first book Walking the Old Road: A People’s History of Chippewa City and the Grand Marais Anishinaabe (UMP, 2019) won the Hamlin Garland Prize in Popular History, the Northeastern Minnesota Book Award for nonfiction and was a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award. Her second book Seven Aunts (UMP, 2022) won the 2023 Minnesota Book Award for Memoir and Creative nonfiction, the Northeastern Minnesota

Travis Novitsky, An enrolled member of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and lifelong resident of the Grand Portage Anishinaabe Nation, Travis has been photographing the woods and waters of his native homelands for over 25 years. He specializes in images of nature and wildlife, but his favorite subject by far is the night sky. His hope is that his images will inspire others to spend more time outside and enjoy all the beauty that nature has to offer.

Ryan Wilkie - Dark Sky Photographic

FEBRUARY 21 - 2024

9:00 - 9:30 AM - Welcome

Tonia Kittelson - Chair, Heart of the Continent Partnership

April McCormick - Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa

9:30 - 10:30 AM - Respectful Work with Tribes – What is Co-Management:

April McCormick, Grand Portage Band Secretary-Treasurer & Travis

Novitsky, MN DNR Parks and Trails, Grand Portage State Park Manager

Presenters will have 15 minutes each with a remainder of time available for questions and discussion

10:30 - Noon - Land Managers Working Across Boundaries

  • Jay Cooke Park Signage Project: Building Trust with Fond du Lac Band of Superior Chippewa - Lisa Angelos, Park Manager, Jay Cooke State Park
  • Indigenous Burning at Grand Portage: Erik Carlson, Grand Portage Band, Fire
  • Building the Bridge between Wenabozo ominasan and Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Peyton Martinson, and Lucas Westcott, NPS
  • Moose Habitat Planning Project – Vallen Cook, Trustlands and Natural Resources

Administrator, Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and Megan Eiting, MN

DNR Project Manager

Presenters will have 10 minutes with an additional 10 minutes for questions and discussion

Noon – 1:30 PM Lunch & Presentation: Development of the USFS and Tribal Nations Memorandum of Understanding

  • April McCormick, Secretary-Treasurer Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and Juan Martinez, Tribal Liaison, USFS-Superior National Forest.

Presenters have 15 minutes each.


1:30 – 2:30 PM: Presentation: Managing Transboundary Lands 

Transboundary Preservation Areas: Examples from Europe.

  • Dr Brigitte LeBlon, Dean, Natural Resources Management, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay

Presenter has 25 minutes for presentation and 25 minutes for questions and discussion with the audience. 

2:30 – 3:30 PM: How Dark Skies Bring Us Together (Presenters pending)


3:30 – 5 PM: Visit Spirit Tree with Travis Novitsky (weather dependent) Please consider appropriate footwear for un-even trail terrain.


5:30 – 8 PM: Dinner (on your own) and Dark Skies Videos

 Why We Need Dark Skies (National Park Diaries – (15 minute run time)

 Losing the Dark – A short (6:00 minute) film by Dark Sky International

(formerly the International Dark Sky Association):

 Dark Sacred Night (Office of Sustainability at Princeton University – (16 minute run time)

 Why No One Can See the Stars Anymore (12 minute run time)

 Where Are the Stars? See how light pollution affects night skies (3 minute run time)

Grand Portage Lodge and Casino

February 20th evening - Artist Panel

February 21 Presentations/conversations - field trip - evening films

A suggested $12 event cost at the door. Register below

Attendance in person is encouraged but some presentations may be made available virtually.

Open to public, please join us!