We would first like to acknowledge that we are here on the ancestral lands of the Council of The Three Fires Confederacy of the
Ojibwe, Odawa and Potawatomi peoples. We recognize, support, and advocate for the sovereignty of Indian nations, for historic Indigenous communities, for Indigenous individuals and communities who live here now, and for those who were forcibly removed
from their Homelands. We collectively understand that offering Land Acknowledgements or Land Recognitions do not absolve
settler-colonial privilege or diminish colonial structures of violence, at either the individual or institutional level. We recognize that
Land Acknowledgements must be preceded and followed with ongoing and unwavering commitments to American Indian
and Indigenous communities. By offering this Land Acknowledgement, we affirm our commitment to promote and work together
with Indigenous artists, authors, translators and graphic designers.
(Latvian Summer Solstice
- Brita Vija Brookes - Founder - Writer - Ally - Graphic Designer
Brita Brookes is a first generation 50% Latvian & second generation 50% mix of Irish-Scottish-French Seychelles -Cornish American designer & photographer based in Michigan. Though not of aboriginal descent, Brita has been active in Anishinaabemowin for 10 years. Brita has been taught by Margaret Noodin, Howard Kimewon, Alphonse Pitawanakwat, Ma nee Chacaby, Maya Chacaby, Isadore Toulouse & Shirley Williams. Brita received her Masters Degree from Harvard University & her Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Michigan. As an Ally, Brita was on the Longest Walk II, participates in ceremony, pow wows, has presented at the A-teg conference 3 times with Albert Owl & Rachel Mae Butzin and at the Manistee Language Camp in Michigan twice with Isadore Toulouse. Brita was a volunteer marketing & moderating the Online Anishinaabemowin program with Isadore Toulouse for 7 years. Brita is a Marketing Specialist & Graphic Designer for a global Architectural & Engineering firm. Her web page is at www.britabrookesgraphics.com
- Isadore Toulouse - Teacher - Translator - Educator
Isadore is a speaker and teacher of the Ojibwe and Odawa languages. He is from the community of Wikwemikong Unceded Reserve. For over forty-five years language has been a priority in Isadores life. He has worked at various schools, universities and groups teaching language. Isadore has been a critical part of Anishinaabemowin Teg as their President for several terms. This is the 27th year in Sault St. Marie, Michigan for the A-teg language conference. Isadores book, Kidwenan, published in 1996 is a language resource used across the US and Canada in schools and universities. Isadore shares his skill of language by travelling to conferences and by visiting schools throughout the nation. His stated goal for language is that it becomes recognized as a first language in the province. Isadore has been teaching FREE Online Anishinaabemowin as a volunteer for 7 years to 100's of students. His facebook page has over 9000 likes as a result of his teaching online. Isadore serves as a translator for the Assembly of First Nations and Union of Ontario Indians.
- Professor Shirley Ida Williams - Translator - Elder
Shirley Ida Williams is a member of the Bird Clan of the Ojibway and Odawa First Nations of Canada. Her Aboriginal name is Migizi ow-kwe meaning that Eagle Woman. She was born and raised at Wikwemikong, First Nations Unceded Reserve on Manitoulin Island. She attended at St. Josephs Residential School, Spanish, Ontario. Shirley has lectured across Ontario promoting Nishnaabe language and Culture. She received her B.A. degree in Native Studies from Trent University. She received her diploma in Native Language Instructors Program, Lakehead University and did her M.A. at York University on Environmental Studies on Language and Culture on Manitoulin Dialect in 1996. Shirley started her work in the Native Studies Department in 1986 to develop and promote Native language courses within the department.
Shirley has several books available at www.GoodMinds.com
- Rachel Mae Dennis Butzin - Artist - Illustrator - Cartoonist
Rachel Mae is a graduate of Michigan State University. From children's books to comic strips, her artwork is always evolving and changing. Rachel Mae is very proud of her Haudenosaunee and Latino heritage and uses her art as a way to share her culture with the world. As a mother of two beautiful little boys she feels it is very important to promote language preservation to protect native culture for future generations. Rachel has done designs for Rez Dog Clothing Company, the Dia de Muijer Conference at MSU, the MSU Pow Wow of Love, Broken Icon Comics and many other events. Rachel is also working on a new comic book series to be done in anishinaabemowin. Rachel is an Art Teacher at St. Joseph's Indian School in South Dakota where she uses her classroom to inspire Native American Youth in Arts and STEAM education. To see more of Rachel's work you can visit her web page,
- Albert Owl - Translator - Language Teacher
Albert Owl is from Sagamok Anishnaabek First Nation. Ojibwe is his first language.
"I especially like the expressions on children's faces when they are learning the language. I first studied writing Oijbwe language while going to Cambrian College in Sudbury then recently obtained my Ojibwe Language Teachers Diploma at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay. I have translated other story books such as "The Drum Story" published by Reality Media. Other stories that I've worked on include "Niibaakomh, The Recreation Story, The Dream Catcher Story, Birchbark and Storm and Ayana Goes Fishing."
- Arthur McBain - Graphic Designer - Artist
Arthur McBain is based in Webbwood, Ontario. Arthur is a graphic designer and talented artist who has his own business at http://www.mcbain.ws/. Arthur created the much loved watercolor artworks for our Makwa books. His whimsical sketches bring life to our characters. Fun facts about Arthur include his travels to South Africa, he has an off-the grid home, cooks up a mean chicken curry and makes some of the best breakfast scones ever. He is currently working on a book series for a Mystery Writer on the East Coast.