Anishnabe Wall Cabinet

This piece is a collaborative effort between my husband and myself.  Dennis is Ottawa from the Great Lakes and I am Kiowa from the Southern Plains. 

Surrounded by the forests and the lakes, Dennis’ people are woodworkers:  canoe makers, basket weavers, bowl makers, etc.  He has chosen to work with wood like his grandfather and great-grandfathers before them though he, like all Native peoples today, has access to exotic materials and tools and is influenced by contemporary life.

I come from a long line of beadworkers and like him have chosen to work with the “traditional” beads and hides.  Of course, prior to contact with Europeans, we did not have glass beads so for my people at least, it is a new tradition.

For many years I have admired the beautiful floral beadwork of the Great Lakes region.  Their use of local plant life so carefully represented on their clothing and objects has always awestruck me.  But, as much as I liked their florals, I did not want to appropriate their culture and aesthetics.  I have seen too many times Kiowa designs stolen and used incorrectly.

About 15 years ago, I met Dennis, this Ottawa man from the Great Lakes.  And 12 years ago we had our first son, Ahbedoh White Eagle.  Nine years ago, we had our second son, Nimkees Ankwaad White Eagle.  And now, with an Ottawa husband and two Ottawa/Kiowa sons, I feel I have some right to interpret those beautiful Great Lakes beaded florals.

…of course those people up north would look at this piece and just shake their heads wondering what we were thinking with our crazy looking woods and crazy looking beadwork.

Teri Greeves (Kiowa)   

Dennis Esquivel (Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa)

Materials:  Maple, Cherry, Spanish Cedar, brass hinges, Size 13 cut beads, smoked brain tanned deer hide, seed pearls, natural pearls, turquoise, ocean jasper, jade, spiny oyster shell, lipidolite, sterling silver

Dimensions: H-30 ½”, W- 13 ¾”, D-5 ½”

Date:  2007

Price available upon request