For hundreds of years Omakakakaning (Frog Bay) has been an important part of the Red Cliff Ojibwe (Anishinaabeg) community. For some families it was a seasonal setting-off place when heading out to the islands for several weeks of hunting, fishing, or gathering. For others it was where nets were set for the annual run of spawning fish. In the time of ice it was used as a base for both shallow water spearing and for deep water bobbing. It was used for as long as some of today’s reservation residents can remember.
Mary Baker Roy told how when newly married, she and her husband Joe Roy, kept a summer camp at Frog Bay. “Joe hunted and I set my net,” she once told this writer. “We lived down there – had a shack by the beach. Frog Bay is the prettiest place in all of Red Cliff. I always felt that. Years later I just used to go down there to spend the day. It was ours. Nobody else – gaawiin gichi-mookomaanag (no white people) came there. It was nice.”
Mary was born in 1892; Joe a few years earlier. They both were fluent in Ojibwemowin, the Ojibwe language, and both knew the old ways. For several years in the early twentieth century Frog Bay was their place. There were no sailboats, kayaks, or visiting tourists then, just the Anishinaabeg and beautiful Omakakakaning.
~By Howard Paap