About La Pointe Indian Cemetery – History & Location

La Pointe Indian Cemetery is the common name of the St. Joseph Mission Cemetery, located on Madeline Island in La Pointe, Wisconsin. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. It is a frequently visited historical site.


A photo of the cemetery in the late 1800s
The cemetery traces its origins to a Catholic mission, started in 1835 by a Catholic missionary named Frederic Baraga. Fr. Baraga came to La Pointe from Europe in the summer of 1835, to evangelize the Native American population.

The mission was dedicated on August 9, 1835, under the name St. Joseph’s Chapel. It was made of logs, and was located about 100 feet south of the current graveyard. The graveyard was consecrated the following year as the official burial place of the Catholic mission. However, earlier burials probably already existed at this location, as later archaeological studies have revealed several earlier ancient graves in the vicinity.

There are several notable historical people buried in the cemetery. Lake Superior Chippewa Chief Kechewaishke, also known as Great Buffalo, is perhaps the most recognizable. Also buried in the cemetery is Madeline Cadotte, whom Madeline Island is named after.

Location S. Old Main St.
La Pointe, Wisconsin
Built 1836
NRHP reference No. 77001665
Added to NRHP August 3, 1977
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