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Brooks Big John

Ojibwe Fish Decoys
Lac du Flambeau, WI

Brooks Big JohnJerome “Brooks” Big John learned how to spearfish through the ice for muskie from his father. He makes carved and painted wooden weighted decoys, fitted with metal fins so that they “swim” in a circle when jigged. While an experienced fishing guide and an excellent cook, Brooks works as a defense advocate in the Ojibwe tribal court system. Brooks hopes his skills and presentations will better promote understanding of the unique Ojibwe heritage. In addition to an oral history, Brooks presents the Ojibwe culture through traditional fish decoy carving, ceremonial Peace Pipe carving, birch bark crafts, beadwork and quillwork, maple sugar harvest, wild rice harvesting, and Ojibwe song and dance.

Program Formats

A general presentation

An introductory workshop

An in-depth workshop

A residency

A performance

Best for Ages

Early elementary
Grades K-2, ages 5-7

Upper elementary
Grades 3-5, ages 8-10

Middle school
Grades 6-8, ages 11-13

High school
Grades 9-12, ages 14-18

Adults, ages 18 and up

Mixed audiences of any age


Artist fee:




Program Needs:
Audio, tables, lights, small tools

Within a 200 mile radius

Past Venues:

  • Wisconsin Teachers of Local Culture conference keynote, June 2004
  • Lac du Flambeau Cultural Museum
  • Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Washington D.C., 1998
  • Wisconsin Folklife Festival, Madison, 1998

J. Brooks Big John
P.O. Box 414
Lac du Flambeau, WI 54538
715/588-1398 (phone)
715/588-2073 (fax)

Best to contact by phone 8 AM - 5 PM

last updated: 12/22/2011   


Wisconsin Folks

For Educators:

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