About the Artist
To begin this description, the strength of our culture evolves from the woman. She has been and always will be the life giver. Selecting the woman for the main stage to this monument was [my] intent. She represents the spirit and soul of the Anishinaabe; without the strength of the woman, our culture may not have survived as much as it has. The woman is the backbone in many Native American families, the pillar that holds the family together. Surviving trauma took strength to prevail the hardships of time.
Selecting the mother/grandmother figure was appropriate to symbolize the spirit and strength of our culture. She is humbly wrapped in a sacred blanket, holding an eagle fan to her heart: a symbol of courage and honesty. She represents the past as well as the future; the children standing next to her represent the future and past.
Facing the sculpture directly stand the mother and children; the boy child standing closely, regiment-style, represents change taken place through the horrors of boarding schools. His style of dress is an example of the boarding school era and the change that has taken place. The other child a little girl not showing her face, looking back is afraid; she is clinching tightly to grandma, refusing to look in the direction her brother has taken. The little girl is refusing to change: looking back is that symbol of unwanted change.
The sculpture symbolizes the plight of the Native American, from a traditional people to an assimilated, but still proud, people. We have endured colonization, retaining our most valued traditions—our identity, language, ceremonies, and arts. —Duane "Dewey" Goodwin