News RSS



We are all learners

Yesterday the Nokomis Obagijigan project was fortunate to spend some time with Animikiikwe, Christina Woods, from Bois Forte.  She shared her split toe moccasin style, pattern, and sewing style she learned from Margaret Hill (Mille Lacs).  Christina took the time to look at our attempts-some better than others- at this style, help us learn about materials, puckering, and how we can improve what we are doing.  We are all learners.  One of the big pieces of this residency with the Minnesota Historical Society is the opportunity to learn and grow ourselves.  As a round toe moccasin maker, we feel confident in our ability to both create, teach, and make patterns from this style.  But the split toe, quite frankly, has...

Continue reading



Moccasin Patterning Video Release!

At Nokomis Obagijigan we are working to build makers.  Many of us did not grow up with a grandma sewing in her kitchen.  Life is complex and we are always on the road to recovering who we are as Anishinaabeg.  Many of us spend our lifetimes searching for our grandmother's gifts.   We at Nokomis Obagijigan are not experts but we work tirelessly to share the little we know with our communities. Available on YouTube, these videos are meant to compliment your learning from teachers, mentors, the existing Ojibwe Pucker Toe moccasin making videos,and our forthcoming pattern book.  Please share and use widely.     Part 1  Making the bottom of the Moccasin Part 2 Making the top of the Moccasin Miigwech the...

Continue reading



The River Flows Through Us

Cultural Art belongs to us all. It is our inheritance. And we are all just the conduits.   For those of us on the end of teaching and sharing about our cultural arts, we can often empty out our rivers. Lately I've been feeling that I'd given away all I had.  When we feel the river running dry it is time to find the sources that fill us up.  I know what I need is some time with people on the step above me.  I need some time with our elder artists, historians, and mentors. They carry stories, information, laughter, and are so full of the wisdom of experience.   This weekend I spent time with one of my mentors Wendy Savage, expert moccasin...

Continue reading



Passing on the little we know

Strange thing about being an Indigenous person in this middle part of life, we are now (rightfully so) expected to carry forward the gifts we are given.  The work of our generation is largely one of revitalization, recovery, and carrying on.   Today I held tiny hands and danced.  We shared dance stories, styles, songs, and our laughter with 150 headstart students today.  Its hard at this age to know what they hold onto.  What always stays though is the way the heart feels.  Not everyone is a dancer but we all have things that need to be shaken off.  This is the gift of our way of life.  We have the surface and we have all that lays beneath.  And...

Continue reading



Up close with our ancestor's work, Michelle Defoe visits the Historical Archives

Visiting the Minnesota Historical Society is an important piece to this makizinikewin project.  It helped me to see up close the various styles and designs of how our elders made makizinan before us.  I am a young learner and I'm grateful for each experience that allows me to learn more.  I was in awe of the beauty and mastery or each artist's design.  It reminded me that I still have a lot to learn to get to that level of sewing and beadwork.  I was very inspired and moved by looking at each piece.   One thing in particular that was inspiring to me was the artist's ability to improvise with materials, fixing mistakes and altering patterns. Some of the makizinan...

Continue reading