Cloquet Anishinaabe artist honored with national award
By: Press release, Pine Journal
Anishinaabe artists Elizabeth Jaakola of Cloquet and Duane Goodwin of Bemidji are two of six Native American artists being recognized by First Peoples Fund this year.
On Tuesday, March 6, the Fund announced artists from six states – including these two from Minnesota –will receive a prestigious 2012 Jennifer Easton Community Spirit Award fellowship. Each year, the national organization honors and celebrates exceptional American Indian artists who embody Collective Spirit, “that which manifests self-awareness and a sense of responsibility to sustain the cultural fabric of a community.” Each honoree is recognized with a $5,000 no-strings-attached fellowship.
Elizabeth Jaakola’s art medium is music: singing, playing, writing and gathering people to make music. A life-long resident of the Fond du Lac Reservation, Jaakola has been a professional musician since 1990, composing string quartets, blues songs, hand drum songs, children’s musical theater and basic folk as well as recording and teaching. Because of her actions, her community is rediscovering themselves through song and reinforcing community ties. She teaches music, American Indian studies classes, coordinates a language and culture resource center at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College in Cloquet, and volunteers with the Anishinaabe Youth Chorus and Oshkii Giizhik Singers.
“I see this reinvigoration of singing traditions tightening up our relationships while also encouraging us to turn our attentions back to the language, our traditional ways, and many other aspects of being Anishinaabe,” Jaakola said. “In my work, I encourage our people to find their voice, the voice that they had used freely as a child, and nurture its use.”
First Peoples Fund’s President Lori Pourier (Oglala Lakota) explained the Community Spirit Award honorees are chosen not only for artistic excellence but for exemplifying indigenous values of generosity, wisdom, respect, integrity, strength, fortitude and humility.
“Each artist exemplifies Collective Spirit, which moves each one of us to stand up and make a difference, to pass on the ancestral knowledge, or simply extend a hand of generosity,” she said.
This year’s honorees are:
+ Elizabeth Jaakola from Cloquet (Anishinaabe) – music/voice/composition/performance
+ Duane Goodwin from Bemidji, Minn. (Anishinaabe) – sculptor
+ G. Peter Jemison from Victor, N.Y. (Seneca) – fine art painting, mixed media
+ Jackie Parsons from Browning, Mont. (Blackfeet) – traditional arts
+ David Boxley from Kingston, Wash. (Tsimshian) – visual arts
+ Charlie Hill from Oneida, Wis. (Oneida) – stand up comedian, spoken word
Honorees were nominated for the national award by members of their own tribes and were selected by an independent panel of American Indian cultural leaders. This year’s panel of reviewers included Shannon Martin (Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians), Ron Martinez Looking Elk (Isleta/Taos Pueblo) and Darrel Norman (Blackfeet).
Over the past 13 years, First Peoples Fund has recognized a total of 59 Community Spirit Award honorees representing 43 tribal nations. For more information, visit www.firstpeoplesfund.org.