Published December 5, 2017
The two float copper specimens are well over 11,000 years old and weigh five tons combined
SOUTH BEND, INDIANA – The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and Four Winds Casinos are pleased to announce the installation of two large copper rocks at Four Winds South Bend. The rocks, one installed at the entrance of Copper Rock Steakhouse, the other inside the restaurant’s dining room, are two of many objects at the new property culturally significant to the history of the Pokagon Band.
“The Potawatomi consider copper a sacred healing metal,” said John P. Warren, Chairman of the Pokagon Band. “And the Pokagon are descendants of the Copper Culture people, an ancient Indigenous cultural tradition and lifeway of early inhabitants of northern Michigan and Wisconsin. Stories tell that copper was created from a lightning strike to Mother Earth, and ancestors fashioned copper found in this Great Lakes region into tools, adornments, and weapons. Modern Pokagons value copper still, especially as vessels for life-giving water in ceremonies.”
The newly installed rocks, known as float copper, were found in the area of Michigan’s Northern Peninsula called Copper Country. It is located across several counties with the largest section, the Keweenaw Peninsula, extending into Lake Superior. Copper mines were prevalent in the region from as early as the mid-1800s on through the 1960s. For a long time, it was considered to be the world’s biggest producer of copper.
Arriving at Four Winds South Bend after a nine-hour journey, the larger of the two rocks was installed at the entrance of the Copper Rock Steakhouse, one of five restaurants in the new facility. Weighing nearly 7,000 pounds, it stands more than ten feet high and is five feet wide. The smaller rock was placed in the main dining room of Copper Rock Steakhouse. Roughly 3,500 pounds, this specimen is roughly four feet tall and three feet wide.
Each rock underwent extensive preparations prior to their delivery and installation at Four Winds South Bend. A geologist in northern Michigan oversaw the detailed finish work.
“These two huge float copper specimens were cleaned and prepped for polishing to highlight the raw native copper surface,” said Ken Flood, mineral dealer and owner of Keweenaw Gem in Houghton, Michigan. “The process took about four and a half weeks.” Copper rocks of this size are rare, Flood added. “Most of the big nuggets like these are gone. It’s nice to have these stay in the Midwest.”
Ten years ago, when the original Copper Rock Steakhouse opened at Four Winds New Buffalo®, Flood led the preservation of the copper rocks at that location.