Tasha’s not afraid of taking risks—in fact, she’s willing to go out on a limb because she wants more for her community. “We’re not taking enough risks to sustain ourselves because we’re so dependent on federal funds. I figured if I learn how to take the right business risks, we could bring in our own income to provide funds for things like traveling, schools, and keeping our language alive. We can bring in revenue from businesses on our reservations and provide for ourselves.”
Tasha’s love for her community is the cornerstone to her ambitions. She just received her bachelor’s degree in tribal governance at Northwest Indian College and is applying for her master’s degree in tribal governance and business administration at the University of Minnesota, Duluth.
Tasha knows her higher education will ensure a bright future for her community, “I know I will be a great commodity to my community because I take my education seriously. American Indians are compassionate, smart, and educated. We are fast learners. We are protectors of this earth. I want to see my tribe thrive, keep our language alive, keep our ceremonies alive, and keep our food, that has grown in our areas for thousands of years, sustainable.”
Wild rice is an indigenous food grown in the Great Lakes area. It has always been a part of our Ojibwe foods. Wild rice is harvested in the fall and it goes great with some frybread as well.
This is one of the main dishes we eat at ceremonies and during the holidays we celebrate. I’ve had it many ways: plain, with berries, inside frybread, or in casseroles. It’s one of my favorites.
Cook time: 1 hour 15 mins
This is one of my favorite books and it’s special to me because Mountain Wolf Woman is my great-great-grandmother. She was my mother’s father’s mother’s mother. It was quite an experience reading it for a class assignment, hearing the names of her kids, and learning about her life experiences.
Learning how hard it was to raise her family was so powerful and helped me realize I can raise a family and be a strong-willed woman like her. I think her story is important to share because it gives an inside glimpse of the hardships my ancestors endured and it shows the cultural side as well. I think that’s why it was important for the author to capture her story and rewrite it word-for-word in English.
I am a jingle dress dancer. I love dancing outside in powwow arenas with the fresh air that is filled with prayers being sent to the creator and our ancestors in the afterworld. It is the best feeling.
I’d like to share the story behind the jingle dress and how it is a healing dress. A woman’s granddaughter was very ill. The grandmother dreamt of this dress one night and was told to have her granddaughter wear it and dance in it. After wearing the dress, the granddaughter got well, overcoming her sickness. Since then, women and girls wear these dresses to help heal sick people through prayer and dance.
I am so thankful I’m an Ojibwe woman who can make my own dresses and I pray for our people in this way.
One of my favorite movies to watch is Dance Me Outside. It has humor, love, Native language, and death.
We Native people love to joke around and laugh. We love hard and we try to incorporate our Native language into our everyday life, even if it’s just a few words here and there. We also must deal with the deaths of murdered or missing people from our communities, bringing our communities closer together. We realize that we must be strong and look after one another.
I think it’s important for people to see our everyday experiences and struggles because not everyone knows we still exist, or they think we’re all drunks and can’t support ourselves. But I’m here to tell you it’s not true. Many people don’t go out of their way to see how others live, so we’ll do what we do best and tell stories about our way of life and hope we can catch a listening ear along the way.
The painted centerpieces were done by my late Nani (Auntie) Fern. She was my favorite artist; she could paint, bead, and sew anything. She made the centerpieces into earrings and gave them to me when I was 10. Recently the earrings broke so I added my touch to them by beading around them.
I used to sit and watch her create all these beautiful pieces when I was younger, and I remember thinking, “I wish I could do that.” Having this piece of art by my Nani still helps me feel close to her— she passed away in 2011 from cancer. I thank her for all the art I create. While I can’t do everything she did, I love beading and sewing to this day.