Sokaogon Chippewa Community
In the early autumn when the leaves begin to change color, the Sokaogon Indians of Mole Lake make their way to Rice Lake, and one of the last remaining ancient wild rice beds in the state of Wisconsin. The annual harvest of wild rice, an essential part of the Indian diet, has altered very little in the hundreds of years that the Sokaogon have lived here.
Family clans migrated from eastern Canada to Madeline Island a thousand years ago, led by a vision that their journey would end in a land where the "food grows on water" --Manomin or wild rice. The Sokaogon band's journey ended here in this area of abundant wild rice. Competition from the Sioux resulted in the Battle of Mole Lake in 1806. Today there stands a marker on Highway 55 in the Village of Mole Lake to mark the battleground where more than 500 warriors were slain in fierce hand-to-hand battle.
Sokaogon means "Post in the Lake" people, because of a spiritual significance of a post -- possibly the remains of a petrified tree - that stood in Post Lake nearby. The Sokaogon Ojibwe are also known as the Lost Tribe because the legal title to the 12 mile square reservation from the treaty of 1854 was lost in a shipwreck on Lake Superior. The band, under the leadership of Chief Willard Ackley, finally and after a long struggle, received federal recognition and reservation status in 1937. The Sokaogon (Mole Lake) Band enjoys three beautiful lakes either on or adjacent to the small reservation: Mole Lake, Bishop Lake, and Rice Lake which lies at the headwaters of the Wolf River.
The Mole Lake Casinos and Bingo are located seven miles south of Crandon on Highway 55 an 30 miles east of Rhinelander. The Mole Lake Smokeshop includes a Native American supplied gift shop.
The Mole Lake area boasts hundreds of miles of snowmobile trails, as well as hiking and mountain biking trails, ATV trails, and cross-country ski trails. There are over 800 lakes, 82 trout streams and 400,000 acres of public wilderness land teeming with wildlife in the vicinity. If you are looking for bald eagles, they are easy to spot soaring above the village of Mole Lake and nearby lakes and streams.