Read the full story about the arrival of the Mobile Market vehicle here.
Leech Lake Early Childhood has been making many strides to revitalize language and indigenous foods. Ryan White Photography & Design, a Leech Lake local company, captures these budding initiatives in a powerful and artistic manner to show the strength within the Leech Lake communities. Using a combined skill set White beautifully weaves together the many parts of this cultural and community revitalization movement.
For more information about Ryan White Photography & Design or the Leech Lake Early Childhood please see the following links: facebook.com/RyanWhitesPhotographyDesign
Leech Lake Early Childhood Development:
Aabinoojii Oshkii Bimadiziiwin Center (AOB)
The creative commissioned projects showcased in the video engaged five local artists:
Sharon Nordrum: Sharon is an experienced artist that started painting in 2012. Her inspiration comes from her dreams, her Ojibwe heritage, language, and stories and the natural world. Her work is filled with traditional Ojibwe symbolism. She is active in the communities of northern Minnesota and they range from art projects, youth work and radio shows. She has been a member of the Indigenous Foods Experts’ committee which keyed the foods highlight in AOB’s Farm to Early Care initiative and has been a key piece to its success in the classroom and in the kitchen. For this project, she created the traditional floral designs with needle felt work and taught of how we use our surroundings in our art and how they connect to tell a story.
Lolly Aguilar: Lolly is an experienced artist and has offered various classes with women teaching them different techniques and teachings that go along with her art as well as teaching involving the Three Sisters. She is a lover of mandaamin (corn) and reaches beyond central Minnesota to become known as “the corn lady” in the tribal communities of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. She has been gifted many beautiful corn seeds, teachings and stories from all across Turtle Island and Mexico. One of the teachings she highlighted during this project is how to make the traditional corn husk dolls and the teachings of mandaamin and the Three Sisters. She created a beautiful corn husk doll that is now displayed at Sprout.
Wesley Mays: Wesley is an experienced artist whose art gained popularity in 2011 and later evolved into authentic Native American Wearable Art. He views his art as a positive image for ourselves and has provided a positive influence and a positive example with the words and images he shares with everyone he comes into contact with. His art and his businesses help him raise American Indian people up, increase self-esteem, and increase pride in one self. Wesley created a collaborative canvased painting with some of the youth and families that are part of the Leech Lake Early Childhood program. This provided a more modern take on indigenous paintings and highlighted the importance of those teachings and the impact of community.
Ryan White: Ryan is an experienced artist with 5 years of professional photography. He currently works with the Leech Lake Tribal College (LLTC) as their Multimedia & Marketing Specialist and also does professional photography outside the LLTC and at several community events. He has captured amazing photos from different cultural events and the community of Leech Lake as a whole. He documented the various teachings through photographs and video and compiled them to create the video above. This highlights the intergenerational transfer of knowledge and skills in Indigenous culture as a whole and the methods and the meanings of their stories told through their art.
David Northbird: Dave is currently the Director of Operations of the Boys and Girls Club of the Leech Lake Area. Dave is a life long learner of Anishinaabe song and dance culture. Dave has instructed drum teachings in the Leech Lake area for 20 years in the Cass Lake-Bena School District, Boys and Girls Club, and Leech Lake Tribal College. Drum making is an important part of a singers development so learning how to construct ones owe drum provides a high level of respect for his/her drum.
This project was facilitated by Claire Chase, Leech Lake Area SNAP-Ed Coordinator.
By Faith, Owner of Made By Faith
My name is Faith, you may know me from past Sprout Markets. When I first started Made By Faith I didn’t think it would go anywhere. Sprout has made it a dream come true I wouldn’t be where I am now without them. I’ve met amazing people who’ve taught me so much and tried new things. To all kids out there that are creative and talented you don’t have to be an adult to be successful. So to anyone who wants to try something new and fun come to Sprout Market.
Faith chats with Sprout after winning "Best Vendor Booth" at the 2017 Vendor Awards.
Uncle Wheat & Eddie, a musical duo made up of Brad Wallace on cajón and Ed Koehler on guitar, performed at the Sprout Growers & Makers Marketplace on January 26th, 2019. While Brad “Uncle Wheat” Wallace grew up in Indiana, early connections to Minnesota pulled him and his wife to move to Cross Lake in 1977. “My wife vacationed in Longville as a kid and my family spent summers in Cross Lake,” Brad said. “We started dating in high school, got married in 1976, and knew we wanted to live here in Minnesota. We thought, if we were ever going to do it, we should do it right now.” Brad’s bandmate, Ed “Eddie” Koehler, also has roots in Minnesota, growing up in Hibbing and then teaching in Brainerd. Ed continues to teach on Thursday evenings to guitar students at Bridge of Harmony. "It would be hard to find a better guitar player than Ed Koehler, and it is just a pleasure to sing with him,” said Brad, whose stage name is “Uncle Wheat.” Uncle Wheat was a term lovingly given to him by his nieces and nephews. “My sister-in-law is from Chicago and she has a pretty strong accent. She says ‘Brad’ and my nieces and nephews tease her asking, ‘What kind of bread is he?’ And so, I became Uncle Wheat.”
Brad and Ed have been playing together for 20 years, but only as a duo in recent years. “We've been friends for 20 years and were both in different bands over the last few years. Both of those bands broke up, so we got together as a duo,” said Brad. While both Brad and Eddie played in large bands of six to nine members, Brad says it became more difficult to find venues for the larger bands. “The band I was in, Decade Seven, had nine members and we really filled out the sound for music by Blood, Sweat & Tears as well as Chicago and Steely Dan. There was a lot of pride in that band because we played a lot of songs that other bands couldn't do. We used to say we played ‘Everything from Chevy Van to Steely Dan,’ and we did that for about eight years. Venues have become more reluctant to take a chance on hiring a bigger band. ” said Brad.
Both Ed and Brad played in a six member band called SKATYRS (Still Kids After All These Years), which played music from the 50's, 60's, and 70's. As Brad says, “It was during a time when there were more events happening and people would hire bands for private parties. That band was around for about 15 years.” Brad says he hopes the region gets back to hiring larger bands, and that summer musical festivals in Pequot Lakes and Cross Lake have demonstrated the regional demand for more performance opportunities. Finding more consistent, year-round opportunities is an important factor to being able to keep a larger band together. “Our band Decade Seven practiced a lot, every week. When you have only six to eight opportunities to perform a year, it can be hard to sustain.”
When Brad and Ed decided to play as a duo, they knew they would have many more opportunities to perform. “We went into the duo knowing that we could, if we wanted to, play every weekend in the summertime. But, I do still miss that big band sound.” Uncle Wheat and Eddie play a mix of tunes from 60's rock to Summertime by Ella Fitzgerald. New breweries and summertime venues in the region are great places for smaller musical acts. It’s clear when watching Uncle Wheat & Eddie that they are having a blast performing. “We just loved the opportunity to play at Sprout because it was something new to us, and helped give us an opportunity to play in the wintertime to stay sharp.”
Follow Uncle Wheat & Eddie on Facebook for upcoming performances.