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Bonga: A Safe Abode in the Wilderness

"This historical work is a must read for those interested in Minnesota and the nation's history!"

- Leo Soukup, co-author of Ojibwe Imprints on Northern Minnesota


Bonga: A Safe Abode in the Wilderness is the incredible story of how an African slave and family made their escape from the West Indies to the Northwoods of the Great Lakes where three generations married into the Ojibwe tribes and distinguished themselves in the fur trade, were seen with great respect by the Anishinaabeg and European settlers alike, and propelled themselves into the vortex of the great events that occurred at this time in the making in the territories of the Great Lakes region and the Headwaters of the Mississippi River.


They were stalwarts among men and were intimately involved in the first murder trial held decades before these territories became states. They tracked down escaped prisoners, opened trading posts in hostile countries where others dared not set foot, and they were multilingual-known for their language skills as interpreters at almost every important treaty in what would become Minnesota. They were looked upon by the major luminaries in the territories and states as people of importance who possessed a unique ability to move back and forth among the existing cultures and political boundaries.


Unfortunately, for various reasons, namely racism, their name and deeds have fallen through the cracks of history. Bonga: A Safe Abode in the Wilderness attempts to give them the recognition these extraordinary people deserve.


Note: This book was not published by Riverfeet Press, but is being sold and distributed by us in collaboration with its author, Barry Babcock, who's book Teachers in the Forest was published by Riverfeet in 2022.

Bonga: A Safe Abode in the Wilderness

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