We met Christy of Indigenous Legacies when we took her Fry Bread Tacos call through Moorhead Community Education! She creates and shares her Indigenous art, craft and creations around our community. Be sure to check out her current workshops at Moorhead Community Education!
Tell us a bit about yourself:
Boozhoo (Hello in Ojibwe). Wiishkobizi Nibi Ikwe (to be sweet like the water women) is my Indigenous name and my English name is Christy Goulet. I am a tribally enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. I strive for cultural preservation and education and am grateful that I try to live my traditional lifestyle and teach it to my family. Also, I am equally grateful to have been adopted by Wanbli Ishnala Win/Anna LittleGhost and gone through a ceremonial rite of passage. I have lived in the F-M area my whole life, except for four years when I moved to Devils Lake, ND to mentor under Wanbli Ishnala Win/Anna Littleghost on how to conduct women’s traditional Indigenous ceremonies and teachings.
Describe what type of art and craft you create?
The art/craft that I do varies as the Indigenous culture is very vast! Sometimes, my mood tells me to do beadwork (earrings, moccasins, shawls, leggings) and other times I get special requests such as the jingle dress. Dawnette Eastman and I recently made a jingle dress that was from a dream she had had about the colors and style of the dress. It took about two months to create the dress and she debuted it at Indigenous People’s day 2021!
I make women’s ribbon skirts, men’s ribbon shirts, fancy shawl regalia, sundance skirts (worn by men), etc. My family loves to help with the Red Willow Dreamcatchers. We planted the Red Willow at Fort Abercrombie, ND 12 years ago and can harvest it not only to make the dreamcatchers but also to make Red Willow Tea from the bark. This is a traditional medicine for respiratory viruses.
Tell us how you got started making these pieces?
I got started making my first fancy shawl regalia when I entered my eighth year of sobriety (I am twenty-six years sober now) and was having very vivid dreams about the colors, patterns and dance itself. My stepmother, Paula Jackson-Goulet, was skilled in the art of sewing both traditional regalia and star quilts, which was a gift handed down from her mother. I went to my parent’s home and told them of this dream and we immediately went to work making the dress. This was done in traditional floral colors and design as used by the Chippewa and Ojibwe. That dream represents the healing path I take to stay committed to my sobriety and represents my Indigenous identity which I am responsible for.
What is your personal favorite item you have created?
My personal favorite item to make right now is the jingle dress!
How do you come up with a new piece of art or design? What are you inspired by?
New ideas and inspiration come in different ways such as dreams. I dream in full colors and can see designs. I may also be inspired by seeing something in someone else. As Indigenous people, we have faced many issues which we address such as historical traumas, genocide, loss of language and loss of ceremonies. So, when Dawnette Eastman told me of her dream and how she saw herself, I have a responsibility to help our youth build a positive self-identity that she will carry into her future!
What is something you’ve enjoyed the most from creating these items?
What I have enjoyed the most is the ability to quiet the mind, body and spirit to allow the Creator to work through me as an Indigenous Woman who was taught by her elders. It is to give all acknowledgment of these gifts (sewing, painting, singing, ceremony, dancing) back to the Creator to help create humility which is a true virtue.
What is the most challenging thing?
The most challenging thing is to balance creativity with daily responsibilities, as I have four adult children and fifteen grandchildren!
Creativity is a positive outlet for stress, anxiety, disappointment and changing society’s judgment and perspectives about Indigenous people. I would like to state that I cannot speak for ALL Indigenous persons as each has their own belief, understanding and knowledge so no one person can speak for the whole.
What is a word that best describes you?
The word that describes me the best is LOVE!
What advice would you have given yourself 10 years ago?
The best advice I could have given myself ten years ago is to think for myself, and follow my intuition as it is almost always right!
You share your creativity and traditions by teaching at places like Moorhead Community Education–tell us more about the types of classes you offer?
Frybread Tacos and Indigenous Music and Meditation. I also cater for special events and groups wanting to learn about the Dreamcatchers, Frybread Tacos, Winter Medicines and Music and Meditation.
The CD I use for the Music and Meditation class “The Never Ending Journey Continues” 2018 was nominated at the Native American Music Awards for three awards: Female Artist of the Year, Artist of the Year, Traditional song of the Year (it was the first time a woman had ever been nominated into Traditional Song of the Year). Although I did not win, I flew to Niagara Falls, NY!
Where can people find your work or keep intouch about classes you do?
People can register for my classes at moorheadcommunityed.ce.eleyo. com/ and find some of my work at the Hjemkomst Center and at Bonanzaville. You can also feel free to reach out to me at: email@example.com, or call 701-541-6256, or facebook.com/ christy.m.goulet/
My Indigenous Legacy.com website is currently being built, but please stand by as it should be up and running by the end of the month.
Chi-miigwech (Thank you in Ojibwe), Christy Goulet