Keewaydinoquay Peschel

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Keewaydinoquay Pakawakuk Peschel was a scholar, ethnobotanist, herbalist, medicine woman, teacher and author. She was an Anishinaabeg Elder of the Crane Clan. She was born in Michigan around 1919 and spent time on Garden Island, a traditional Anishinaabeg homeland.

Biography[edit]

She was born in a fishing boat en route to the hospital from the Manitou Islands, which capsized shortly thereafter, and her survival was interpreted by some as miraculous. Her childhood name, meaning "Walks with Bears," derived from a story told in which she was left on a blanket as her parents gathered blueberries and was walking away with bears, eating blueberries off the bushes, when her parents returned. Her adult name Giiwedinokwe, recorded as "Keewaydinoquay," meaning "Woman of the Northwest Wind," came to her during her vision quest.[1]

She apprenticed with the noted Anishinaabeg medicine woman Nodjimahkwe from the age of 9 and worked for many years as a medicine woman, at a time when her people had little access to conventional medical care and when conventional medical care failed to cure them, healing more than several patients deemed to be terminally ill. At the age of 57 she decided to study anthropology, realizing that people would listen to her more if she had a degree.[2] She received a Master of Education Degree from Wayne State University, and had finished all course work for a Ph.D. in ethnobotany at the University of Michigan. She won the Teacher of the Year Award in Michigan in 1975, however her name is not listed on the Michigan Department of Education's list of past recipients, due to the list's incomplete nature.[3][4] She taught classes in ethnobotany as well as philosophy of the Great Lakes American Indians at University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee where she was a professor in the 1980s, and lectured at many herbal conferences.[5] She was consulted for many prestigious books, including several on Great Lakes indigenous plant use.

She lived in Ann Arbor, Milwaukee, Leland, and most notably at her heart's home, Miniss Kitigan—Garden Island.

- She was the author of several books on herbs, Native American medicine and rare legends for children and adults. Keewaydinoquay founded the Miniss Kitigan Drum, a non-profit organization supporting the preservation and evolution of Great Lakes Native American traditions. Many referred to Keewaydinoquay lovingly as Nookomis (Grandmother). The group has ties with established and recognized tribes in the area.

She was the subject of a fair amount of controversy, much of it stemming from her willingness to teach those of other than native backgrounds. She said to critics that the time was late, and that people of good hearts and like minds needed to work together to offset the users and those that were actively hurting the earth. Some other elders at the time affirmed the wisdom of this, and later many who had earlier criticized her came to appreciate the wisdom of these teachings and proclaim them themselves.

She died on July 21, 1999 and was honored with a traditional Midewiwin ceremony on Garden Island. In March 2002, the Holy Hill Trust of Leland received a $11,520 Public Humanities Development grant for The Lifestory of Keewaydinoquay, Woman Between Worlds. The project includes researching the journals, work, letters, audio tapes, and oral teaching of Keewaydinoquay. The goal is to create a volume that shares a view of her working life as a teacher, including her photos, drawing, and poetry. The project will create a biography of Keewaydinoquay and offer a lecture series in the region.[6] The first volume titled Keewaydinoquay, Stories from My Youth has already been published, and a second (focusing on her adult life) is being written.

Publications[edit]

  • Peschel, Keewaydinoquay M. (1987) "Dear Grandfathers," excerpt from Truth Is Stranger
  • Peschel, Keewaydinoquay M. (1998) Puhpohwee for the People: a narrative account of some uses of fungi among the Ahnishinaabeg
  • Peschel, Keewaydinoquay M. (1979) "Directions We Know: Walk in Honor" in Miniss Kitigan Drum, Garden Island, MI
  • Peschel, Keewaydinoquay. (1978) Jawendamowin Nah: Happiness in the Half-World?/My Reverend Grandfather Challenges Coprinus Atramentarius. Botanical Museum of Harvard University.
  • Peschel, Keewaydinoquay. "The Legend of Miskwedo." Journal of Psychedelic Drugs, 11(1-2):29-31, January–June 1979.
  • Peschel, Keewaydinoquay M. (2006) Stories from my Youth. University of Michigan Press
  • Peschel, Keewaydinoquay "Nkomis" (1977) Mukwah Miskomin or KinnickKinnick "Gift of Bear". Miniss Kitigan Drum, Garden Island, MI
  • Peschel, Keewaydinoquay "Nkomis" (1978) Min: Anishinabag Ogimaawi-minan / Blueberry: First Fruit of the People. Miniss Kitigan Drum, Garden Island, MI

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Giblin, Nan J. Keewaydinoquay, Woman-of-the-Northwest-Wind: The Life and Philosophy of a Native American Teacher.1998
  2. ^ Profiles
  3. ^ MDE - MI Teacher of the Year
  4. ^ Wings18: Nakomis Keewaydinoquay Peschel Woman of the Northwest Wind
  5. ^ "Plantain: A Weedy Life-Saver | Acupuncture and Herbs". Acupuncturebrooklyn.com. 2009-07-01. Retrieved 2012-12-31. 
  6. ^ Michigan Humanities Council: Grants

Bibliography[edit]

  • Bloom, Cindy. Nakomis Keewaydinoquay Peschel Woman of the Northwest Wind
  • http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http://www.geocities.com/soarring/wings/Wings18/Article04.htm&date=2009-10-26+02:52:06
  • Giblin, Nan J. "Keewaydinoquay, Woman-of-the-Northwest-Wind: The Life and Philosophy of a Native American Teacher" in Counseling & Values, April 1998, Vol. 42
  • Peschel, Keewaydinoquay M. (1987) "Dear Grandfathers," excerpt from Truth Is Stranger
  • Peschel, Keewaydinoquay M. (1998) Puhpohwee for the People: a narrative account of some uses of fungi among the Ahnishinaabeg
  • Peschel, Keewaydinoquay M. (1979) "Directions We Know: Walk in Honor" in Miniss Kitigan Drum, Garden Island, MI