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Keewaydinoquay Pakawakuk Peschel was a scholar, ethnobotanist, herbalist, medicine woman, teacher and author. She was an Anishinaabeg Elder of the Crane Clan. She was born in Michigan around 1919 and spent time on Garden Island, a traditional Anishinaabeg homeland.
Additional recommended knowledge
According to her biography, she was born in a fishing boat en route to the hospital from Garden Island, which capsized shortly thereafter, and her survival was interpreted as miraculous. Her childhood name, meaning "Walks with Bears," derived from an incident where as a toddler she was left on a blanket as her parents gathered blueberries, returning to see her standing by bears, eating blueberries off the bushes. Her adult name Giiwedinokwe, recorded as "Keewaydinoquay," means "Woman of the North[west Wind]" and came from her vision quest. 
She apprenticed with the noted Anishinaabeg medicine woman Nodjimahkwe from the age of 9 and worked for many years as a medicine woman, at a time when her people had little access to conventional medical care and when conventional medical care failed to cure them, healing more than several patients deemed to be terminally ill. At the age of 57 she decided to study anthropology, realizing that people would listen to her more if she had a degree.  She received a Master of Education Degree from Wayne State University, and had finished all course work for a Ph.D. in ethnobotany at the University of Michigan. She won the Teacher of the Year Award in Michigan in 1975, however her name is not listed on the Michigan Department of Education's list of past recipients due to the list's incomplete nature.  She taught classes in ethnobotany as well as philosophy of the Great Lakes American Indians at UW-Milwaukee where she was a professor in the 1980s, and lectured at many herbal conferences. She was consulted for many prestigous books, including several on Great Lakes indigenous plant use.
She lived in Ann Arbor, Milwaukee, Leland, and most notably at her heart's home, Miniss Kitigan—Garden Island.
She was the author of numerous books on herbs, Native American medicine and rare legends for children and adults. Keewaydinoquay founded the Miniss Kitigan Drum, a non-profit organization supporting the preservation and evolution of Great Lakes Native American traditions. Many referred to Keewaydinoquay lovingly as Nookomis (Grandmother). The group has ties with established and recognized tribes in the area.
She was the subject of a fair amount of controversy, much of it stemming from her willingness to teach those of other than native backgrounds. She started doing this at a time when native people had just secured their abilities to openly practice traditional ceremonial rites and religious observances. At that time she said to critics that the time was late, and that people of good hearts and like minds needed to work together to offset the users and those that were actively hurting the earth. Some other elders at the time affirmed the wisdom of this, and later many who had earlier criticized her came to appreciate the wisdom of these teachings and proclaim them themselves.
She died on July 21, 1999 and was honored with a traditional Midewiwin ceremony on Garden Island. In March 2002, the Holy Hill Trust of Leland received a $11,520 Public Humanities Development grant for The Lifestory of Keewaydinoquay, Woman Between Worlds. The project includes researching the journals, work, letters, audio tapes, and oral teaching of Keewaydinoquay. The goal is to create a volume that shares a view of her working life as a teacher, including her photos, drawing, and poetry. The project will create a biography of Keewaydinoquay and offer a lecture series in the region.. The first volume titled Keewaydinoquay, Stories from My Youth has already been published, and a second (focusing on her adult life) is being written.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Keewaydinoquay_Peschel". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|