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City, indigenous leaders advocate to change the name of Moccasin Mike Road

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SUPERIOR, WI-- Wisconsin Point is a popular place to take in the sights and sounds of Lake Superior.

A lot of people don't realize it's also rich in Native American history.

Before the sandy beaches and hiking trails, Wisconsin Point was home to the Fond du Lac Band.

"My family has been living out here, well they did live out here, for a couple of hundred years," said Bob Miller, a 7th generation descendant of Chief Osaugie.

A satellite village used to occupy the end of the point, but was moved many years ago.

Now, descendants of the original people who occupied the land are asking the city to better represent the point's history by changing the name of the road that leads to it.

"It's kind of a recognition that we were here and that we still are," said Miller.

According to Miller, Moccasin Mike was not an indigenous man, but rather the nickname given to a local politician.

"One of the things that they had back then to try and build up support from the Native community was they would take nicknames, and Moccasin Mike was his nickname," said Miller.

Now, Miller and his family want a new name for the road. They want it to be a collaborative decision.

"It needs to be decided on by all the stockholders. The city government, the city councilors, the families that were out here. I think it needs to be something we can all agree on," said Miller.

While nothing has been decided yet, Miller says a change like this could benefit everyone.

"Social change is difficult, and it always will be. In this time period right now, it's a time really to sit down and reflect before these changes come in," said Miller.

Before the name change can happen, it must go through city committees before landing in front of the city council.

Superior City Councilor Jenny Van Sickle has shown her support for the change.

"This will be a slow, educational and healing process," said Councilor Van Sickle in a statement. "It is without question the duty of Superior to build a stronger relationship with the First Nations."

According to Van Sickle, the public will be invited to a Wisconsin Point Committee meeting later this year to learn more about the proposed change and share their thoughts.

Natalie Grant

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