Keewaydinoquay Peschel

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Keewaydinoquay Pakawakuk Peschel was known as a scholar, ethnobotanist, herbalist, medicine woman, teacher and author. She was said to be 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 claimed 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[who?] as miraculous. Her childhood name, which she said means "Walks with Bears," derived from a story told[by whom?] in which she was left on a blanket as her parents gathered blueberries. She said her parents returned to find her walking away with bears, eating blueberries off the bushes. She said her adult name, "Giiwedinokwe", recorded as "Keewaydinoquay," meant "Woman of the Northwest Wind." She adopted this name after a vision quest.[1]

She said she apprenticed with the noted Anishinaabeg medicine woman Nodjimahkwe from the age of 9 and worked for many years as a medicine woman, although numerous tribal members in the area have stated they had no knowledge of an elder named Nodjimahkwe.citation needed Keewaydinoquay has claimed that she has healed several patients deemed to be terminally ill.citation needed

At the age of 57 she decided to study anthropology, realizing that people would listen to her more if she had a degree.[2][dead link] 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 claimed she won the Teacher of the Year Award in Michigan in 1975[citation needed], however her name is not listed on the Michigan Department of Education's list of past recipients.[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 an instructor in the 1980s, and lectured at herbal conferences.[5] She was consulted for many prestigious books, including several on Great Lakes indigenous plant use.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed] Keewaydinoquay founded the Miniss Kitigan Drum, a non-profit organization supporting the preservation and evolution of her interpretations of Great Lakes Native American traditions.[citation needed] Some[who?] within the group referred to Keewaydinoquay as "Nookomis" (Grandmother). The group had some ties with established and recognized tribes in the area, but was also treated with disdain by some tribal members.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed] She responded to critics that the time was running out, and that people of good hearts and like minds needed to work together to offset the damage done by those that were actively hurting the earth.[citation needed] Others[who?] said her role within the Minis Kitigan Drum was less about spreading her message and more like that of a charismatic leader gathering followers.[citation needed]

She died on July 21, 1999 and was honored with a 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.[citation needed] 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][dead link] The first volume titled Keewaydinoquay, Stories from My Youth has already been published, and a second (focusing on her adult life) is being written.[citation needed]

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