Keewaydinoquay Peschel

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Keewaydinoquay Peschel
Born1919 (1919)
Died(1999-07-21)July 21, 1999
Occupation(s)herbalist, author
Known forethnobotany

Keewaydinoquay Pakawakuk Peschel (1919 – July 21, 1999) was a scholar, ethnobotanist, herbalist, teacher, and author from Michigan.

Early life[edit]

Keewaydinoquay Peschel was born in 1919 in Michigan. She identified as being an Ojibwe.[1]

According to her biography, Keewaydinoquay was born in a fishing boat en route to the hospital from the Manitou Islands, which capsized shortly thereafter, and her survival was interpreted as miraculous. Her childhood name, meaning "Walks with Bears", derived from an incident where as a toddler she was left on a blanket as her parents gathered blueberries, returning to see her standing by bears, eating blueberries off the bushes. Her adult name Giiwedinokwe, recorded as "Keewaydinoquay", means "Woman of the North[west Wind]" and came from her vision quest.[citation needed]

Ethnobotany and education[edit]

Peschel said that she apprenticed with an Anishinaabe medicine woman Nodjimahkwe beginning at age of 9.[citation needed] Peschel studied education and taught science while raising her children. At the age of 57, she decided to further her education, realizing that people would listen to her more if she had a more advanced degree. She received a Master of Education Degree from Wayne State University and finished all coursework for a Ph.D. in ethnobotany at the University of Michigan.


She was awarded the Michigan Conservation Teacher of the Year in 1975 for her "Outstanding Work in the Field of Conservation". In the 1980s she was a lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and taught classes in ethnobotany and philosophy of the Great Lakes American Indians. She was consulted for many books, including several on Great Lakes Indigenous plant use.[citation needed]

She lived in Ann Arbor, Milwaukee, Leland, and Garden Island. She wrote many books on herbs, Native American medicine, and Native American legends for children and adults.

Keewaydinoquay founded the Miniss Kitigan Drum.[citation needed] In 1990, Miniss Kitigan Drum became a nonprofit organization, based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with Lynn Simonsen Noel as its principal officer.[2]

She was the subject of controversy, much of it stemming from her teaching non-Native people.

Death and legacy[edit]

She died on July 21, 1999.

University of Michigan Press published her autobiography, Keewaydinoquay: Stories from My Youth, edited by Lee Boisvert in 2006.[3] Lee Boisvert also edited Cedar Songs, an autobiography about her adult life, released by Trafford Publishing in 2013.[4]


  • 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]

Further reading[edit]

  • 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


  1. ^ Kaufman, Peter B.; Cseke, Leland J.; Warber, Sara (2010). Natural Products from Plants. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. p. 251. ISBN 9781420049350.
  2. ^ "Miniss Kitigan Drum Inc". GuideStar. Retrieved 8 April 2024.
  3. ^ "Keewaydinoquay, Stories from My Youth". University of Michigan Press. Retrieved 8 April 2024.
  4. ^ "Cedar Songs". Google Books. Retrieved 8 April 2024.