The Meskwaki and the Ojibwe shared the shores of southern Lake Superior in the 17th Century, but all was not peaceful between them.
Chief Biauswah of the Ojibwe returned to a camp in present-day Port Wing one day to find every man, woman and child slaughtered at the hands of the Meskwaki.
Biauswah tracked the Meskwaki to present-day Cornucopia, where a horrific sight met his eyes. Two Ojibwe had been captured alive, but their lives were not to be spared for long.
Just as he arrived, Biauswah saw an elderly man wrapped in birch bark, set on fire and beaten to death. Then a 7-year-old boy was brought forward, apparently destined for the same fate. The child was Biauswah’s son.
Biauswah stepped forward, asking to take his son’s place, knowing that because he was chief, he would suffer even worse
than the elderly man before him.
“The story just inspired me,” said Greg Price of Port Wing. “He could have walked away. Nobody knew he was there.”
Price recalled this story — known to people who have read the historical marker “Tragedy of the Siskiwit” in Cornucopia — as he made a passionate plea for help to have Highway 13 between Superior and Ashland named the Biauswah Scenic Byway and dedicated to all indigenous veterans of the U.S.A. and Canada before and after the creation of the States.
Price first encountered Biauswah’s story while doing research on Minnesota’s Veterans Evergreen Memorial Drive and working to have the highway’s bridge over the St. Louis River in the Fond du Lac neighborhood of Duluth named for Biauswah, the name of both father and the son who later became a hero among the Fond du Lac (Minn.) Ojibwe.
After successfully completing this mission, Price has moved on to push for Highway 13 being named for Biauswah, and he makes it clear that it’s to honor all indigenous veterans, both in the U.S. and Canada.
Price said he has been pleading with politicians to take up his cause, but representatives from state Sen. Janet Bewley and Rep. Beth Meyers said they have no records of receiving correspondence from him.
Samantha Linden, a representative for Bewley, said members of the state Legislature can introduce legislation to designate a highway bridge or interchange in honor of a person or group. The state Department of Transporation can designate a road a scenic byway as part of their Scenic Byway program after receiving an application showing support on the local level.
If the highway does receive a scenic byway designation, Price doesn’t expect the state to pay for memorial markers along the highway. But he has plans for that.
He envisions a motorcycle ride from Superior to Ashland dubbed “Run of the Allies.” In the first stretch to Port Wing, American- and British-made bikes from World War I and World War II would ride ahead. Afterward, Harleys would take the lead. No Japanese or German bikes would be allowed.
“It would be beyond imagination, and benefit economically, and the people will love it,” he said.
Price also wants to create and sell a Blues CD filled with original songs — hopefully sung by world-famous performers. It would be the best of both worlds if he could arrange a Blues festival in Ashland at the end of the motorcycle ride.
Price, 65, who is not a veteran and doesn’t know his heritage although his Native American friends thinks he has indigenous blood, wants to see his dream come true soon, as he fears that his death will bring his pursuit to an end.