The view from the front porch of the house where we stayed and shared Poo'miikapii indigo dyeing. It was here that I met Janet McCloud, Helen Augare, Tracy Day Chief, Pixie Eagle Speaker, Shelly Eli, Veronica First Rider, Diana Fletcher, Martha Fox, Veronica Oka-Wells, Tara Sun and Sophie Tail Feathers. After this photo was taken I saw an eagle fly by, swoop low and land in a tree across the road. Sheep grazed early each morning in the adjoining pasture.
The Rocky Mountains can be seen in the background. The large flat top mountain is known as Big Chief Mountain.
The big sky is ever-changing! The openness of the prairie opened up primal feelings of big expectations buried deep inside the dense claustrophobic lush green swampy woodlands of my collected Toisnot Tuscarora and Seminole ancestral memories. The land shows me that "What If?" possibilities are endless.
Lesson #1 From Kainai Land:
Be humble, generous, gentle and patient and let the prairie winds blow through me and clear out all the cobwebs in my broken heart.
Poo'miikapii Transfer Of Knowledge at Tatsikiisaapo'p Middle School
Jeannie Smith-Davis and Patti May-Derbyshire arrived in my life and imprinted my heart with kindness and generosity in May 2018. I remember the day that I met them, but I can no longer remember what my life was like before they became apart of it. My Poo'miikapii Sisters wearing ribbon skirts made from fabric I dyed before we were part of each others lives. The circle of our friendship is amazing!
These are some of the Poo'miikapii first year master of education students. The interdisciplinary program, Poo'miikapii: Niitsitapii Approaches to Wellness is sponsored by The University of Calgary in collaboration with the Blackfoot Nation and Red Crow Community College.
Shawn Singer with Regalia representing Blackfoot historical figures.
Standing beside the Honorable Clan Mother & Blackfoot Spiritual Advisor, Georgette Fox.
In her sweet loving voice, her words inspire me every day. She repeatedly stated in the fog of Dementia, “I’ve never asked you to do anything in art but I’m asking you now!” “Share our stories of survival, love, and loss in Coastal and Eastern North Carolina because we were born to The Blues!” She would go on to explain how I couldn’t let the accumulated indigenous knowledge about natural dyeing with plants, flowers, and nuts from four generations of women in our family disappear. As my mother took her last breath, her open eyes staring into mine, and her mouth open saying, “Share our stories of transformation from making color and stitching.”
In the three years since my mother’s death, I’ve honored her dying prayer. I’ve transferred knowledge to adults and children about how to grow color, harvest it, forge in the woods for it, and create it from fruits and vegetables from the grocery store and create it from plants, flowers, and nuts. I share with others what my mother, two grandmothers, and two great-grandmothers shared with me – the lessons of community, self-reliance, and transformation.
My Momma always said that if we see the transformation of color on fabric, we would know that we could transform ourselves no matter what circumstances we face. My journey is transforming my life and empowering me to share with others the spiritual healing that comes from indigenous traditional textile practices. Art Heals!
My Momma -- Doris Lee Haskins Jones