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Saginaw Chippewa, state to co-manage Sanilac Petroglyphs

On Monday, Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Chief Ronald F. Ekdahl was joined by Michigan Department of Natural Resources representative Sandra Clark to sign a groundbreaking Memorandum of Understanding to establish the beginning of the tribe’s co-management of the Sanilac Petroglyphs Historic State Park, or ezhibiigadek asin (written on stone).

The deal marks the first state/tribal co-management of a state park in Michigan.

Donated by the Michigan Archaeological Society and managed by the DNR since 1971, the petroglyphs are the largest known group of ancient rock carvings in the state.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the park covers 240 acres along the Cass River near Cass City in the Thumb.

Stone tools and pottery found on the petroglyphs site on the Cass River floodplain show tribal groups have occupied the area periodically throughout the last 8,000 years.

The petroglyphs were likely carved within the last 1,400 years, with some possibly created in more recent centuries.

“This site is special and sacred to the Anishinabe. It is a clear indication of the unique origins and history of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe. We know our Ancestors were thinking of us when they left the lessons in stone,” explained tribal elder and former Director of Ziibiwing Bonnie Ekdahl.

Guided tours of ezhibiigadek asin (Sanilac petroglyphs) are available in the summer months.

Learn more about Sanilac Petroglyphs Historic State Park on the DNR website.

To see the 2018 Michigan Archaeology poster featuring the petroglyphs and the LiDAR survey, visit Michigan.gov/Archaeology.

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