Garrison man dies in Mille Lacs boating incident

John Holmquist, a member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, died when his boat capsized on Mille Lacs Lake near Vineland.


VINELAND — A 35-year-old Garrison man died Wednesday, April 14, after his boat capsized on Mille Lacs Lake.

John Holmquist, a member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, and three others were setting nets when the boat took on water and became partially submerged about 200 yards off shore.

The Mille Lacs Tribal Police received a call about 7:07 p.m. of a capsized boat off Iskigamizigan landing (pow wow grounds) on Shaw Bosh Kung Drive with two people hanging onto the boat and two people afloat in the water. Tribal police responded to the scene and requested an ambulance, Garrison Fire Department and a rescue boat from state or tribal conservation officers.

With no rescue boat available, band members Curt Kalk and Luther Sam launched a privately owned boat to assist with search and rescue. Kalk and Sam found three of the boaters and brought them to the landing, where they were taken by ambulance to Mille Lacs Health System in Onamia. The Mille Lacs Band did not identify these other boaters in a news release Thursday.

After continued searching, Kalk and Sam later found Holmquist, who was not responsive or breathing. At the landing, tribal police and tribal community members began CPR on Holmquist until emergency medical services arrived and took over care. Holmquist was transported to Mille Lacs Health System in Onamia, where he was later pronounced dead.


“This is a tragic event for our community,” Mille Lacs Band Commissioner of Natural Resources Katie Draper stated in the release. “Our hearts are heavy. This is a time for our communities to come together and be respectful to those who are grieving.”

Mille Lacs Band Tribal Police, Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Office, Mille Lacs Health System Emergency Services and Cuyuna Regional Medical Center Ambulance services responded to the scene.

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