Defoe and Howes selected as Proctor Public Schools Artist in Residence

Proctor Public Schools Art program has made learning about Anishinaabe people, art, and making connections with the community a priority.  Art teacher Tiffany Quade coordinates this program and points out "...Hosting an Indigenous Artist in Residence expands education by establishing a culturally-relevant experience for all students.  I am passionate to put into action incorporating local and world cultures in classroom work and our school community.  I think it's vital for students to find aspects of life where they feel connected.  This allows students to be internally motivated... Art education is just one vehicle for culturally relevant learning... This breaks the monoculture education that traditional schooling has perpetuated.  This also allows students access to a more informed perspective of all people."

Red Cliff Artist Michelle Defoe and Fond du Lac Artist Sarah Agaton Howes will teach about Ojibwe art, moccasin making, design, and teach beading with students in the Proctor Public Schools. 

According to Defoe "...this is a chance for students to learn about the indigenous culture that is here in this area. There is a lack of indigenous representation within the public school curriculum and also within the classroom. Hopefully this will help bridge that gap a little and also help students make connections with local indigenous artists. We have such a rich indigenous artist community here in the Duluth/Fond du Lac area that I would love to be a part of bringing that into the classroom. It also helps indigenous children in public school feel a sense of pride and that the teacher/staff value their point of view and that they aren’t always immersed in a culture that is different from their own. 

Lastly this aligns with our cultural teachings of passing knowledge down to our children. Our children are the future and most importantly they should be receiving this knowledge. Through the moccasin and beadwork making process children not only learn how to make the moccasins but it also teaches them about life skills all kids can benefit from such as patience, problem solving, working through frustration and the joy of completing something from beginning to end."

For Howes this is a great opportunity for  learning all around "Imagine if all schools committed the time and resources towards learning about each other through art.  I learn just as much as the students and I am so glad to have Michelle in on this residency this year.  She has so much knowledge and experience to add to these students understanding of our art and history."  


Defoe and Howes are also collaborating on a Minnesota Historical Society Residency "Nookomis Obagijigan" to create a bi lingual moccasin pattern book.

For more information about residencies, workshops, and speaking engagements email


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published