Native Pride: Honoring Indigenous Identity and Culture
Monday, Nov. 20
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Turtle Lake Public Library
301 Maple St. S.
Turtle Lake, WI 54889
Miscobinayshii is a published author and a Community Spirit Honoree from the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin. Miscobinayshii is a first speaker, meaning she is able to teach and pronounce the Ojibwe language in the correct dialect of the St. Croix Tribe.
She will be presenting on her medium, moccasin-making, and how she honors her Indigenous culture. This is an event in celebration of Native American Heritage Month.
From the First Peoples Fund, April 2019:
Miscobinayshii (St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin) was a year old when her mother died, and her grandmother began raising her and her sister, Margaret. Their grandmother taught them what she did — make moccasins for all occasions. When someone passed, families called on her to make “going home shoes.”
Miscobinayshii didn’t fully dedicated herself to moccasin-making until she was grown. Her sister Margaret was her main motivator, urging her to carry on the tradition.
Before long, the sisters were sharing their work at the state capitol grounds and folk art festivals, and then, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. in 1998. Their work began to become so recognized that workers from the Smithsonian Institution approached them, asking of they would create a pair of moccasins to be displayed.
Miscobinayshii and Margaret got busy. She made one, her sister made the other — in one day.
“That was the quickest we ever did anything!” she laughed.
Melissa Fowler (Lac Courte Oreilles, St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin), Miscobinayshii’s granddaughter-in-law, nominated her for the [First Peoples Fund] Community Spirit Awards. Melissa feels as though Miscobinayshii’s life has been dedicated to not only practicing traditional art and speaking the language, but to continually sharing that knowledge by teaching both youth and adults.
“Without her, St. Croix Tribe wouldn’t know many of the stories, history, and language,” Melissa said. “As a first speaker, she is able to teach and pronounce the Ojibwe language with the correct dialect of the St. Croix Tribe. When she gifts her knowledge, she is gifting a person the ability to carry this knowledge throughout their lifetime.”
On a sunshine-filled day, FPF representatives, participants from culture camps, family, and friends gathered to celebrate and honor Miscobinayshii near her home in the Round Lake Community of the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin. Held at the St. Croix Danbury Conference Center, drumming, song, and stories filled the atmosphere.
FPF President Lori Pourier (Oglala Lakota) said the most incredible moment for her was when the question was asked of how many people in the room had learned the language from Miscobinaysii.
“Over two-thirds of the room raised their hand,” she said. “You could see right then the impact she has had in her community and just how much her warmth and generosity have helped people carry on their culture.”
Ojibwe culture keeper Lee Staples was one of the speakers. “Each of us has a purpose and a reason for existing on this earth,” he said. “Miscobinayshii is a prime example. May she make many more moccasins.”