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(Many Paths)
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Influential SCIT leaders Featured in "Great Lakes Bay Women" Art Exhibit
by Natalie Shattuck - Editor, The Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Observer

What do Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe's very own Charmaine Shawana, Louanna Bruner and Judy Pamp have in common with Madonna? They are all featured in the art exhibit "Great Lakes Bay Women" by Edwina Jaques on display at the Saginaw Art Museum.

While Jaques currently resides in the United Kingdom, she is originally from Saginaw, Mich. The "Great Lakes Bay Women" exhibit features art that is of and about Michigan women.

Jaques is an artist, sculptor, painter and author who honors nearly 100 "Great Lakes Bay Women" in the exhibit. Jaques described the women she selected as those who have "made an impact on the community and sometimes globally," and "who have contributed to making life better or more interesting by just being themselves."

Jaques contacted Pamp to hear her story and feature Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribal Members in her exhibit.

"I knew right from the beginning that the Anishinabe were out there, and I wanted them to be a part of this," Jaques said. "And so from searching online in England, I found Judy Pamp's name… and got in touch with her."

When Jaques interviewed Pamp, she knew she wanted to speak with more women from the Tribe. Shortly after, Jaques interviewed Shawana and Bruner over the phone.

"With ‘Great Lakes Bay Women', I am hoping to make visible some of the inner workings of each woman so that it is a ‘portrait of the soul' rather an exacting replication," Jaques said.

Pamp's piece was inspired by the story of her moving to Germany with her four-week old baby when her husband was in the military. Every day workmen would show up at her apartment, Pamp automatically thought her place was unsafe or could cause some harm to her or her baby. She was ready to move back to America. Finally, one day a workman that spoke English came into her apartment and told her why the workmen were showing up at her apartment daily. It turns out, whichever room Pamp was working in, she had her baby in the cradleboard hanging on the wall.In amazement, the workers came to see the "baby hanging on the wall." They had never seen anything like it and asked in which country babies are hung on the wall.

Shawana's piece was inspired after sharing her historical background with Jaques. The detailing on her hat stands out in Shawana's piece. Jaques found a copper covered maple leaf off eBay to add to the hat. Jaques told the seller the leaf was for an art piece.

The seller told me he picked the leaves in Michigan, brought them back to England and then treated them so they would have the copper coating, Jaques said.

"So I thought that's for Charmaine, that is just meant to be," she said.

Shawana's painting is meant to show she connects to Earth and is in residence with her environment.

"The other side is marbling, usually done on paper… but I've never used it before on an oil painting," Jaques said. "I just see that she (Charmaine) is in a wonderful spiritual zone and that's what I wanted."

Bruner's piece is focused on obstacles she overcame in her life.

"I interviewed Louanna through phone and email," Jaques said. "We talked about difficulties she had and how Charmaine has been her mentor. One thing I love about the Anishinabe people is they help each other out on a real level."

"There is genius in every woman that strives to make her life and those around her a better place just by her existence," Jaques said.

On Friday, Oct. 11, Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribal membership joined Jaques and the Saginaw Art Museum staff for a smudging at an alternate opening of the exhibit.

"It is an honor to be a part of the exhibit," Shawana said. Pamp showed her appreciation of the exhibit.

"I like the theme of really showcasing the power of women," Pamp said. "The uniqueness of us, the uniqueness of our stories and the ways we lead our families. We are leaders in our community and even leaders in our nations."

Pamp went on to introduce the Wabanaisee singers and Mae Pego, song carrier, addressed the singers' history.

The Wabanaisee Singers performed two songs to show their honor to the exhibit. After the Singers honored Jaques and the exhibit, Jaques was filled with emotion.

"You have me crying all the way through this," Jaques said. "I am so grateful and honored that you have come… I am very appreciative."

The relationship between Jaques and the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe seems to be an everlasting one. On Thursday, Oct. 17, Jaques visited SCIT, was given a tour of the Reservation by Shawana and was presented with a SCIT blanket with the Tribal logo.

Jacques' art will be displayed at the Saginaw Art Museum 1126 N. Michigan until Dec. 31, 2013 and half of her exhibit is also displayed at the Castle Museum at 500 Federal in Saginaw, Mich.

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