Dance and Beadwork
Therese St. Cyr was taught by her grandmother at a young age to dance and create beadwork. Today she lives on the Winnebago reservation in Nebraska with her family where she learned many of the Ho-Chunk customs and tribal art forms. Therese taught herself how to make burial moccasins and clothing and is called upon by tribal members who often require them in a short period of time which she does without hesitation. She states, “With the guidance of the Creator, I often think that these items are the last thing their loved ones will ever wear and that I made them for their journey.” Through her gifts of making traditional regalia she started her own youth dance group, Many Moccasins Dance Troupe. She believes strongly that if young people are empowered to learn their history and traditions they will be instrumental to the Nation as a whole.
“In our community, when a member passes on into the spirit world, Therese is always summoned by family members to make the final pair of moccasins for their loved ones.” - Garan Coons, Director, Woodland Trails Art Retail and Learning Center, nominator
Storyteller and Teacher
Trudie Lamb Richmond was born and raised on the Schaghticoke reservation in northwestern Connecticut, but her storytelling and teachings are shared amongst other tribal members in southern New England who share a common history and culture. Trudie believes that the role of storytelling is essential to cultural survival and that this form of art teaches us about our relationship and responsibilities to the natural world. In her efforts to maintain a sense of pride and community amongst tribal members she plans and organizes social and education activities while encouraging a deep connection to original homelands. Currently, Trudie serves as the Program Director at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum.
“Trudie is significant, knowledgeable, generous and kind…she has become the most sought after source of authentic information and education with and for Connecticut Indians.” - Lynne Williamson, nominator
Ramona Peters grew up on Cape Cod, Massachusetts in the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe. Ramona works with clay and other natural materials making ceramic vessels. She uses and teaches the ways of the ancestors with a sense of awareness to collaborate with the elements of fire, water, earth and air. She chose to revive the lost form of Wampanoag pottery which she describes as “bringing a long relative back home”. Ramona uses her art form to nourish tribal community members about ancient practices. Often times upon returning home she finds freshly dug clay on her doorsteps from community members. She says, “In the old days someone known for his/her gracefulness and careful way of walking through the world was assigned the job of carrying the family cooking pot.” She finds joy in teaching others and has a deep desire to use her knowledge as a form of healing. Some of her students have gone on to teach their own children.
“Ramona embraces the essence of her cultural heritage…in her humble yet forthright way, she demands that her own people, the wider community with which she interacts, and humanity, face themselves spiritually, and in relation to their own histories.” - Ellen Lutz , Executive Director of Cultural Survival, nominator, Executive Director of Cultural Survival, nominator
Wade Fernandez is from the Menominee reservation in Keshena, Wisconsin. A professional musician and songwriter/composer who teaches a mixture of Menominee style and modern blues, rock, country, jazz, soul and folk music using native flute and guitar, hand drum, percussion, bass, keyboards, bouzouki, mandolin and the harmonica. He teaches native flute and guitar lessons at the Menominee Tribal School. He is honored knowing that many of his students have gone on to perform nationally. He says, “Healing though art is a gathering of peoples’ emotions and in the release is the creation of art.” He adds, “As artists we are not the healer or the crier. We are merely the instrument that tries hard to stay in tune…and when art is ready to heal we do not obstruct its path.”
“Wade has a gentle, magnetic personality and draws people to him. He has developed an implausible relationship with our community and youth who not only respect him but who trust him and believe in him.” - Shannon Chapman, nominator.
Richard believes strongly that “art” is not extracurricular but foundational to a healthy society and that “without art, society is without heart and soul.” He uses Wyandot language, storytelling, singing and ceramics as a method of healing within his community while focusing much of his energies on preschool and elementary children. He also teaches ceramic courses to adults.
“Richard is gifted in language, music, dance, storytelling, carving and more, all of which he utilizes to uplift others, inspire pride in heritage, and increase spiritual growth and understanding.” - Sallie Cotter Andrews, nominator