The artwork to the right was created by Lois, and appears in a cool feature about her years ago by Jim Rink in our Northern Michigan Journal entitled Lois Beardslee, Daughter of the Earth. It was about her artwork, but I think it gives a great sense of Lois’s dedication to the preservation of her culture:
…Beardslee is good at filling the gaps–she feels a strong responsibility in her role as a cultural emissary for Native Americans. Whether she’s telling stories on paper or in person, the imagery she creates is the essence of life in the Ojibwe and Lacandon tribes into which she was born. Make no mistake–the myths and the legends she distills are for our benefit. Long part of an oral tradition, the spirit world of the past has been kept alive through a well organized underground. Only recently have these cultural icons resurfaced, as a soothing balm for troubled and restless times.
Beardslee has had her own share of troubles, and the gaps here are a little bit wider. Born into a family of nine siblings, her mother died when she was 10; her father at 15. But she has no complaints.
“I grew up around here, came from a rural background,” she says. “We hunted, fished, farmed. I grew up in a privileged era–I remember ducks being piled on the table, each of us having our own duck for dinner. It was a time of plenty–a lifestyle that’s disappearing.”