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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Tribal Member Renovates Workshops For Community
by Patricia Ecker - The (Mount Pleasant, MI) Morning Sun Staff Writer
credits: all photos by Joshua Kodis - The Morning Sun

Plenty of room to work, good lighting, the right tools, and sound, safety practices are some of what makes a creative environment more appealing.

Ben Hinmon was pleased to make public the two recently redesigned workshops at the Seventh Generation Program/ Elijah Elk Cultural Center last week.

“It is now set up for people to come out here and work,” said Hinmon, a Saginaw Chippewa Tribal member who has been working for the program for the last six months.

“I’ve been reorganizing the stone and wood workshops.

“Through practical experience as an artist, I’ve learned how to make the two workshops more functional and more safe for people to use.”

Hinmon, a stone sculptor and instructor, has been working with program staff, at organizing, setting up classes, and he even designed a plan to build lights for the stone sculpting room.

“Sculpting is all about lines and shadows,” said Hinmon. “I wanted to have floating lights, but they were just too expensive.

“So, I used common sense, and with help from the staff, and it took us six months to get this done.”

Hinmon built the pedestals for sculpting so they would turn, and said that he “used to laugh” when stone sculptors would look at a piece of rock and say, “I see it in the stone.”

Stone sculpting has been a part of the Isabella Reservation community since the early 1980s with artists like the late Dan Mena Jr., who taught his love of working with stone to artists like Jason Quigno and Alan Pego and himself, said Hinmon.

“Our goal is to offer a 16-week Tribal College curriculum course,” said Hinmon. “We will teach basic knowledge of tools, the shop environment, techniques and application.

“We have visited some area schools, so we can offer a curriculum through Tribal College that will transfer.”

Hinmon said community members will be offered the stone, the tools of sculpting such as air hammers, and they have a variety of files.

“We have it all here,” said Hinmon.”

Hinmon said that he is excited to have the opportunity to get back to working on sculpting.

His unfinished project is entitled: Victory song which is making out of limestone.

“I love limestone because it is a white stone, but as you work with it it becomes tan,” said Hinmon. “I haven’t worked since the end of 2007.

“People are already calling about times for classes. Tentatively, our first class will begin March 25, and it will run for 10 weeks.”

Hinmon said that he has received so much support from program directors and staff members on the project.

“We have a great staff here who helped me build the lights,” said Hinmon. “And Clinton (Pelcher) and Lee (Ruffino) have been great at making resources and material available.”

For more information about upcoming classes, call the Seventh Generation Program at (989) 775-4780.

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Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe
The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe Council is committed to providing information of interest to all its members, both on and off the reservation. To help achieve our communications goals, we provide links to recent press releases, important documents, and other information that may be of interest to Tribal members. Come back to this site often to keep up with important events and activities of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe.

Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College
The establishment of Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College was the first step in an educational empowerment process that is aimed at preserving and maintaining Saginaw Chippewa tribal culture. The college strives to provide a quality learning experience and environment designed to sustain the cultural continuity of the tribe from past to future generations.

Ziibiwing Center
The Ziibiwing Center is a distinctive treasure created to provide an enriched, diversified and culturally relevant educational experience. This promotes the society’s belief that the culture, diversity and spirit of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan and other Great Lakes Anishinabek must be recognized, perpetuated, communicated and supported.

Elijah Elk Cultural Center
The Seventh Generation Program is located at the Elijah Elk Cultural Center, named after our hereditary chief, who was also the first Tribal Council Chief under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1937. The facility was provided in kind by our Tribal Council. Seventh Generation offers a wide range of cultural/traditional events and activities. The facility features Wood Shop, Harvesting maple syrup (Sugar Bush), Stone Carving, Garden, Spiritual/Conference, Four Seasonal Feasts, and Basket Weaving and Instruction.

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