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Discover the Art of Ojibwe Storyteller Jonathan Thunder

By Kaomi Lee

Duluth painter and multi-media artist Jonathan Thunder recently spoke to Almanac's Kaomi Lee about creating work that reflects on current events and his own place as a storyteller and enrolled member of the Red Lake Nation. His work can be described as whimsical, vibrant and sometimes political. And it's often a conversation about what it means to be an Ojibwe, but from the perspective of someone who grew up disconnected to that culture and history.

"Sometimes that commentary is a good place to position myself in the dynamics of the characters," he said.

Discover how Minnesota-based brothers Micco and Samsoche Sampson are revitalizing another Native American tradition, the art of the hoop dance, with a dash of influence from hip hop.

When Land O’ Lakes decided to remove the iconic Native American maiden from its packaging, many celebrated the move. After all, members of the public had called on the company for years to remove what they considered racially stereotypical and culturally appropriated. But Mia, as she is known, was given a refresh by Red Lake Ojibwe artist Patrick DesJarlait in 1954 – and his son, the artist and activist Robert DesJarlait, has mixed feelings about the company’s decision. So we wondered: Is Mia a racist trope or a symbol of Native pride?

“Ojibwe music centers on drum and song. The drum symbolizes a human heartbeat, while the female voice signifies a mother’s voice.” One Greater Minnesota reporter Kaomi Lee met a group of Native women who gather at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College to revitalize the longstanding tradition of women singing in drum circles. 

Kaomi Lee Read More
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