Author Topic: Lois Beardslee, Author & Artist  (Read 21901 times)

Offline Advanced Smite

  • Posts: 186
Lois Beardslee, Author & Artist
« on: February 28, 2024, 06:49:57 am »
Lois Beardslee posted a comment critical of Margaret “Keewaydinoquay” Peschel on a blog, “Singing to the Plants.” I was going to share the interesting comment on Peschel’s NAFPS thread but then noticed inconsistencies in Beardslee's own claims of Native American ancestry.

Here is Beardslee’s comment regarding Margaret "Keewaydinoquay" Peschel with a link to the “Singing to the Plants” blog:

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Lois Beardslee says:

Dear Mr. Beyer,
Thank you for your thoughtful comments questioning Peschel’s legitimacy as a source for Chippewa (Ojibwe) cultural knowledge and her integration into local Native culture. Indeed, she avoided local Indian people as much as we avoided her. Her daughter still lives in the region, and denies any Native identification. Anishinaabe cultural insiders question even Peschel’s apparently-manufactured linguistic terms. Her greatest claim to fame in her adopted homeland, northwest Lower Michigan’s Leelanau County, is that she allegedly led to the inadvertent poisoning death (by ingestion of wild mushrooms) of one of her enthusiastic young non-Native followers while on a field trip to Lake Michigan’s Beaver Island. The island was formerly the home of several aboriginal families who were forced onto the mainland to make way for a burgeoning population of affluent non-Native “cottagers.” Peschel and her non-Native followers continue to promote cute stereotypes about the region’s indigenous population; this in turn has contributed to rampant cultural appropriation, morbid racism, and an off-reservation unemployment rate among Native Americans in excess of 99%. Peschel’s other cultural impersonation and teachings contribute to the ongoing dimunization of Native people and substitute fiction for fact. There is no place for this in science, in credible literature, or in functional cultural intercourse.


Source: "Hallucinogens in North America" Singing to the Plants - Steve Beyer's Blog on Ayahuasca and the Amazon
Direct Link: https://singingtotheplants.com/2008/02/hallucinogens-in-north-america/
Archive Link: https://archive.ph/9DGIO


Lois Beardslee is an author and artist from Maple City, Michigan. She claims to be Ojibwe and Lacandon. Below are five, relatively recent, article/interview excerpts that contain descriptions of Beardslee's background. Text is in bold for emphasis.

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Lois Beardslee, an Ojibwe writer and artist, will give a reading and slide show of her artwork on Thursday, Nov. 6, at 4 p.m. in Payne Hall, Room 21, at Washington and Lee University. This event is open to the public. A book signing and a sale of Beardslee’s books and some of her artwork will be held after the reading in Payne Hall, Room 26.

A lifetime spent in more than one Native American culture and tradition at the same time-(her mother was Ojibwe and her father was Lacandon) has led Beardslee to write about the ways in which traditional and modern lifestyles conflict and merge for contemporary Native people. She grew up in northern Michigan and northern Ontario, dividing her time between her extended family’s farms and remote bush camps.

Beardslee writes both fiction and nonfiction and contributes scholarly writings in the field of multicultural education and literature. She is the author of “Rachel’s Children: Stories from a Contemporary Native American Woman” (Alta Mira Press, 2004); “Not Far Away: The Real-life Adventures of Ima Pipiig” (Alta Mira Press, 2007); and “The Women Warrior’s Society” (University of Arizona Press, 2008), among others. She also is a contributor to “A Broken Flute: the Native Experience in Books for Children,” winner of a 2006 American Book Award.

Beardslee has been an artist for much of her life. She has done painting, illustrating and creating rare traditional Ojibwe art forms, including porcupine quillwork, sweetgrass baskets and birch bark cut-outs and bitings. Her work is in public and private collections worldwide. She continues to divide her time between the family farm and remote bush camps.

Currently an adjunct instructor in communications at Northwestern Michigan College, Beardslee has a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College and a master’s degree from the University of New Mexico.


Source: W&L’s Glasgow Series Presents Lois Beardslee, Native American Writer and Artist – By Julie Cline
Direct Link: https://columns.wlu.edu/wls-glasgow-series-presents-lois-beardslee-native-american-writer-and-artist/
Archive Link: https://archive.ph/wip/ZpBku

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Lois Beardslee rummages through some boxes and bags in a corner of her Maple City home. She is surrounded by her art--contemporary Native American prints, lithographs, oil paintings, baskets, bead-work, quill-work, and audio cassette tapes--all reflecting ancient Woodland legends and lore.

"Here, look at this," she exclaims, holding up two small stones that look and feel like chalk. "Red and yellow ochre. One time we were planting cherry trees and I found just enough yellow ochre to do a painting."

The fine, powdery stone, she explains, is mixed with water and sealed with acrylic to form the paint pigment which she uses for her Red Ochre People motif. This motif is characterized by two-dimensional "stick figures" similar to ancient rock drawings found throughout North America.

"Red Ochre People are a culture I have created to fill the gap between past and present," says Beardslee. "They are comprised of my family, friends, ancestors, oral tradition and the unknown artists who left petroglyphs, pictographs and texts on skin and bark."

Beardslee is good at filling the gaps--she feels a strong responsibility in her role as a cultural emissary for Native Americans. Whether she's telling stories on paper or in person, the imagery she creates is the essence of life in the Ojibwe and Lacandon tribes into which she was born. Make no mistake--the myths and the legends she distills are for our benefit. Long part of an oral tradition, the spirit world of the past has been kept alive through a well organized underground. Only recently have these cultural icons resurfaced, as a soothing balm for troubled and restless times.

Beardslee has had her own share of troubles, and the gaps here are a little bit wider. Born into a family of nine siblings, her mother died when she was 10; her father at 15. But she has no complaints.

"I grew up around here, came from a rural background," she says. "We hunted, fished, farmed. I grew up in a privileged era--I remember ducks being piled on the table, each of us having our own duck for dinner. It was a time of plenty--a lifestyle that's disappearing."

Now she's back in the art corner, sifting through more boxes. She brings out a basket with an intricate quill design. "This is by Yvonne Walker-Keshick," she says. "She's one of the Sisters of the Great Lakes. There are 22 of us between the ages of 18 and 81. We were hand-picked by tribal leaders and elders from five states and Canada." Funded by W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the one-year project is titled: "Native American Women: Transcending Boundaries for Future Generations." The project provides for a series of three four-day workshops for the 22 Native American women artists participating.

"There is a need to develop role models and mentors among Native American artists for future generations to look and learn from," says Jan Reed, project administrator and director of the Nokomis Learning Center in Okemos.

Beardslee is such a role model. She has been an artist for more than 20 years and has work in public and private collections worldwide. She has attended Northwestern Michigan College, Oberlin College, and received her master's degree in the History of Native American Art at the University of New Mexico. She is a certified teacher.

In 1992, she combined her teaching skills and her love for Native American culture by recording some of the oral traditions on tape. The end result (so far) is Leelanau Earth Stories, Earth Stories, Too and More Earth Stories. "I'm a real talker," she says with a smirk. "I decided to use it as an asset. The kids really love the Native American stories. So, I went to the recording studio--the stories are all memorized, not written down. A lot of the stories are true events that really happened."

Courtesy of her extended family--Auntie Connie and Uncle Leonard, among others--the stories were handed down over the years. Many of the stories are used to explain natural phenomenon, such as Northern Lights. Her voice is strong and sure--and filled with lively intonation: "The northern lights are the pathways or the campfires to the soul...as each of the people from the different clans pass through, they take something that is important to them and they throw it into the fire. That makes the colors...as the people from the Sturgeon Clan pass by, they take their tails and fins and throw water on the fire...the flames hiss and crackle. That's why the northern lights appear to pulse and move."

Other stories are based on everyday events, such as Betty at Pow Wow: "I saw you on TV," she (Betty) said. "You are a celebrity. You are a famous person. Her sons began to drum; she danced off on their voices. As she turned and her hair spun around, the fringe on her buckskin dress swirled out around her with the beads and the quills shimmering in the sunlight, and I thought, "Oh Betty--you are the celebrity, for surely you are famous among the spirits. They know you well. Surely you are blessed because you have your family, your friends and your culture."

Beardslee is proud of her culture, but it has not always been a blessing. In the not-too-distant past, ethnic stereotypes have loomed large.

"Once, I was going to substitute teach in a local school," she recalls. "I was mistaken for a Native American parent and escorted out."

On another occasion, she was told by a school administrator not to stray too far from her home room without proper notification. "You're being paid to be in that art room," he said. "If you want to leave, you're going to have to tell my secretary where you're going." After school, two miles down the road, Beardslee burst into tears. Now, she shrugs it off. "That happens sometimes. People jump on what's available.

"Harry Belafonte was performing at a well-known theater at the height of his career, but he was not allowed to use the main entrance--he was forced to go in through the back door. When I was younger, I received no respect due to my outside appearance. When I went back as a celebrity, I was treated with much more respect. Through the arts, I do come in through the back door. People don't burn crosses on front lawns anymore, but we carry stereotypes in our minds. This can be changed through the arts. We can use the arts to change people's perceptions."

Beardslee's audience might do well to take a lesson from the Woodland spirit Mani Boozho. He often takes human form in his attempt to teach things to man. "We learn through his mistakes," she says. "Every town would give him different manifestations; none of the characters are purely evil. I kind of wait until he talks to me before I begin painting--I try to be careful; you have to balance one character with another on the canvas."

Another of Beardslee's Native American motifs, in addition to the Red Ochre People, is that of the "shawl dancers." This motif appears in her work as wavy lines with intricate designs, attached to the face of a woman. To the untrained eye, it looks like the waves of a large sea.

"Women are traditionally keepers of the water," she explains. "There's a certain duality to my work. Often, you don't know if you're looking at sky or water. It's a visual illusion. I like to create a little confusion in the viewer's mind; force the eye to confront something that may be uncomfortable."

From the art corner, she fishes for and finds a dry fungus known as skwatoggin. She scrapes out some of the fleshy, soft fungus onto a plate and lights it with a match. It glows bright red and sends a trail of smoke into the air.

"This is used in pipe ceremonies or as a fire starter," she says, as she produces some sweet grass tobacco, mixed with commercial tobacco and cedar. "There's only one place in northern Michigan where sweet grass grows...it's been subdivided."

On the way out the door to resume the day's chores (she and her husband John own a cherry farm), Beardslee pauses to pluck an eagle feather from a glass jar. After some discussion about the proper way to obtain an eagle feather (you don't shoot them) and the proper way to harvest porcupine quills (wait until the animal has been dead three days), she offers some parting words: "I follow the eagle. He leads me to the best fishing spots. They say only a warrior can pick up an eagle feather...God knows I've earned that title."


Source: Lois Beardslee, Daughter of the Earth (The Northern Michigan Journal) – By Jim Rink
Direct Link: https://www.leelanau.com/nmj/views/earth_daughter.html
Archive Link: https://archive.ph/bm6hv

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We are literate, intelligent and sophisticated. We are conservationists, scientists and mathematicians. We always have been and always will be.

That’s the message Lois Beardslee said she hopes to convey with her fifth book, “Words Like Thunder: New and Used Anishinaabe Prayers.”

“I’m not interested in pointing fingers and saying, ‘You people didn’t recognize that about us,’” said Beardslee. “I’m interested in saying, ‘This is who we are, this is who we’ve always been and we’re not going to stop.’”

Beardslee, a Maple City resident, is Anishinaabe, but is not part of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. Beardslee said she’s from Lake Superior Ojibwe.


Source: ‘Words Like Thunder' shares Anishinaabe lessons, struggles (Traverse City Record Eagle) – By Alexa Zoellner
Archive Link (No Paywall): https://web.archive.org/web/20220125075853/https://www.record-eagle.com/news/arts_and_entertainment/words-like-thunder-shares-anishinaabe-lessons-struggles/article_b3ea8842-6879-11ea-a0d1-9f721e9497ee.html
Direct Link (Paywall): https://www.record-eagle.com/news/arts_and_entertainment/words-like-thunder-shares-anishinaabe-lessons-struggles/article_b3ea8842-6879-11ea-a0d1-9f721e9497ee.html

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Beardslee, Ojibwa and Lacandon, became the first Native American to win the Michigan Notable Book Award for “Words Like Thunder: New and Used Anishinaabe Prayers,” released in 2020, which also received a silver medal in the 2021 Midwest Book Awards.


Source: 'Often overlooked:' Dennos exhibit showcases art by Indigenous women, two-spirit (Traverse City Record Eagle) – By Sierra Clark
Archive Link (No Paywall): https://web.archive.org/web/20230128125143/https://www.record-eagle.com/news/local_news/often-overlooked-dennos-exhibit-showcases-art-by-indigenous-women-two-spirit/article_1b5cb7c6-9db9-11ed-b4c8-275d0dc0295c.html
Direct Link (Paywall): https://www.record-eagle.com/news/local_news/often-overlooked-dennos-exhibit-showcases-art-by-indigenous-women-two-spirit/article_1b5cb7c6-9db9-11ed-b4c8-275d0dc0295c.html

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Lois Beardslee, 1974: As a student, Beardslee was the first woman to join NMC’s then-men’s cross-country team. Today an adjunct Communications faculty member, her former coach, John Pahl, is her colleague, and she’s still trying new things. A Native American writer and artist who lives in Leelanau County, Beardslee debuted a course in Native American literature this year and will teach it again in spring 2008. “There’s a need in the community. Native American literature just barely creeps into standard literature courses,” she said. Communications Chair Bronwyn Jones said the course fits NMC well. “NMC’s service area is home to the largest Native American population east of the Mississippi River; so it makes sense we offer the best Native literature class possible,” Jones said. Beardslee also teaches introductory English and keeps up with her own writing. She’s pictured at right with “A Broken Flute,” the 2006 American Book Award winning reference guide to Native literature to which she contributed. “Not Far Away,” a semi-fictional memoir, was published this year. A novel, “The Women’s Warrior Society,” is on tap for 2008.


Source: NorWester – A Publication for Alumni & Friends of Northwestern Michigan College (Fall 2007)
Direct Link: https://www.nmc.edu/news/media/norwester/files/norwester-fall-2007.pdf
Archive Link: https://web.archive.org/web/20150924090424/https://www.nmc.edu/news/media/norwester/files/norwester-fall-2007.pdf


A second post will look at Beardslee's early claims of Native American ancestry from the 1970's and 1980's followed by a third post with genealogy.

Offline Advanced Smite

  • Posts: 186
Re: Lois Beardslee, Author & Artist
« Reply #1 on: February 29, 2024, 02:27:14 am »
There are nine articles and records excerpted below regarding Lois Sonkiss. If you compare the Lois Beardslee articles and records in the first post to the Lois Sonkiss articles and records below, it becomes clear that Lois Beardslee's maiden name was Lois Sonkiss. While it would be ideal to have documentation directly connecting her maiden and married names (like a marriage record), in this situation, the commonalities found in the articles and records are too significant to be a coincidence.

Here's a list of the most significant commonalities between Lois Sonkiss and Lois Beardslee:
- Attended Northwestern Michigan College
- Northwestern Michigan College Cross Country Team
- Attended Oberlin College
- Attended University of New Mexico
- Studied Art History
- Studied Native American Art
- Claims to be Lacandon
- Claims to have “[grown] up in Northern Michigan”
- Artist

EVOLVING CLAIMS EXPLAIN INCONSISTENCIES
False claims evolve over time as seen with many other frauds featured on NAFPS. In my opinion, a few inconsistencies seen in the articles and records below can most likely be attributed to the evolution of Beardslee's false claims.

"Garcia" Surname: In 1975 and 1976, while at Oberlin College, Beardslee added "Garcia" to her name. She went by "Lois Garcia Y Sonkiss" in the 1975 archeological excavation article and "Lois Garcia Sonkiss" in the 1976 Oberlin College yearbook. This is consistent with Beardslee claiming to have been born in Chiapas, Mexico and having Lacandon and/or Maya ancestry. Beardslee is actually Polish, Hungarian, and Romanian which will be outlined in a third post covering genealogy.

"Brill" Surname: In 1980, Beardslee went by "Lois Sonkiss Brill" in an article about her artwork appearing in an exhibit at the Southern Plains Indian Museum. Lois Sonkiss married Thomas Brill in New Mexico in 1979. She is currently married to John Lantta Beardslee.

Ojibwe: There's no evidence Beardslee was claiming to be Ojibwe in the 1970's and 1980's while known as Lois Sonkiss.

Birth Year: Lois Sonkiss claimed to have been born in 1956 during several interviews in the 1970's. She was actually born in 1954. Lois Sonkiss’ high school yearbook corresponds with the correct birth year of 1954 though. It's impossible to know whether this was an inadvertent mistake or intentional.


1970

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U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-2016
Name..........................Lois Sonkiss*
Estimated Age..............16
Birth Year.....................abt 1954
Yearbook Date..............1970
School.........................Dearborn High School
School Location.............Dearborn, Michigan, USA

*Page attached to NAFPS post

1972

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NMC Harriers Bow

Northwestern Michigan College's cross country team fought a number of foes in Saturday's meet at Lake Superior State College in Sault Ste. Marie and lost to most of them. NMC competed against Ferris State College and Lake Superior in a meet won by Ferris. The Bulldogs compiled 20 points while Lake Superior tailed 47 and NMC 80. Brian Aho won the race, running his home four-mile course in 23 minutes, 12 seconds.

Running for NMC were John Carlson, Mark Stormzand, Ken Smith, Tim Benson and two women, Pam Dalitz and Lois Sonkiss. All the runners were hampered by high winds, cold temperatures and snow. NMC's first home meet will be Oct. 24 against Alpena Community College.


Source: "NMC Cross Country - Lois Sonkiss" Newspapers.com. Traverse City Record-Eagle, October 16, 1972. https://www.newspapers.com/image/54951268/.

1975 

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Indian Mound - They Hope To Solve Puzzle With Two Billion Pieces
By SCOTT DERKS News-Press Staff Writer

It's a puzzle with two billion pieces and no guarantee that it all fits together.

Excavating a 2,000-year-old Indian mound has captured the attention of a cluster of college students from Ohio and a dedicated group of Sanibel Island volunteers.

Searching for the tools, pottery and fragments of the Caloosa Indians in the hump-backed mound near the J.N. "Ding" Darlinq Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel, the group members are rediscovering their imagination.

Oberlin College student Amy Davidson is spending her "winter quarter" away from her Ohio campus and deep in a hole at the shell mound, scraping out sand and shells to get a better picture of the lifestyle of the Indians who roamed the area and built the mound thousands of years ago.

"When you are digging, you are thinking, using your imagination. It's not like digging a ditch. You are always looking, using every fact to understand," she said.

It is like reading a mystery novel that has no end. Charles Wilson, a Sanibel Island resident who has been directing the digging of the mounds, said the whelk-stacked hill, rising out of the coastal shelf and topped by a massive gumbo limbo tree "is an interesting site."

Probably a campground that built up over hundreds of years, the mound was being built as that portion of the island was being formed.

In fact, there is evidence from a deep hole that the mound extends below the present water table showing changes in the area and the early appearance of the Indians on the island.

Tugging at his white beard, Wilson watched the groups sifting through the piles of shells in search of archeological treasures. "Caloosa" identifies a type of activity in Southwest Florida, but not necessarily one tribe or group of people, Wilson said. But the Indians "had a highly developed social structure and were a powerful tribe whose influence extended to the east coast of Florida. Apparently they did this without agriculture and remained a hunting and gathering society," Wilson said. Each spadeful of dirt is charted and all finds are noted and bagged carefully so pottery can be related to other discoveries found in the same layer of the mound.

Wilson said he has applied for two grants to have the material studied, but he would not speculate on the chances of getting a grant.

Little work has been done in Southwest Florida, and the lifestyle and most of the habits of the original Indians remain a mystery.

All morning the group worked, all week long. Bucket after bucket was scooped out. Shell after shell was sifted through and examined. The five Oberlin students, under the direction of Dr. Lee High, spend a month "discovering" without the pressure of grades or other studies.

"It is a chance to do something you have always wanted to do," High said.

A scattered collection of heavy, unmarked pottery shards was found in one corner of the mound, hidden for years by a mountain of shells. The entire group came to see the discovery, to hold the clay pieces in their hands and feel the excitement of doing something new, uncharted.

After much puzzling and piecing, parts of the pot were put together, forming a crude half bowl.

Numerous cars stopped along the road to watch. But no one is allowed to dig in historical sites without permission, and Wilson's shell mound work is being done on private property.

Studying the number of whelks, probably used for food, or the differently colored rings on the sliced hillside, student Lois Garcia Y Sonkiss carefully drew sketches of the items found and wondered about the people who left the hill behind.

Amy Davidson picked up a tiny piece of pottery and passed it out of the hole. Removing a heavy glove, she watched Wilson look at the pottery find. "There is so much mystery, your imagination keeps going. Any little thing can mean something," she said.


Source: "Indian Mound - Lois Garcia Y Sonkiss" Newspapers.com. News-Press, January 27, 1975. https://www.newspapers.com/image/214085550/.

1975

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Louis [sic] Sonkiss*

*"Louis" appears to be a typo and was intended to be "Lois." I recommend visiting this link: https://ohio5.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/digtalbks/id/12942.


Source: New Students, 1975 Oberlin College Yearbook
Direct Link: https://ohio5.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/digtalbks/id/12942
Archive Link: https://archive.ph/wip/4Q6Gd

1976

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Lois Garcia Sonkiss, Art History*

*I recommend visiting this link: https://ohio5.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/digtalbks/id/12274.


Source: Seniors, 1976 Oberlin College Yearbook
Direct Link: https://ohio5.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/digtalbks/id/12274
Archive Link: https://archive.ph/wuOfw

1976

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Ecumenical Assembly Plans Meeting

The newly-organized Grand Traverse Ecumenical Assembly has planned to meet for worship, discussion, and a special program on Aug. 9 at 7:30 in the Lounge of Central United Methodist Church, 222 Cass Street, Traverse City.

Lois Sonkiss will be the featured speaker. She will give a slide-lecture presentation on Native American Art, archaeology, and culture, drawn from her personal experience.

Sonkiss has recently been accepted into the master's program in tribal and American art at the University of New Mexico. She has had archaeological field experience in the first systematic excavations of the Pre-columbian Caluse Indian shell mounds off the Gulf Coast of Florida and has been scholar at the University of Michigan museum of Anthropology, setting up an exhibition of Indian ethnographic objects.


The public is invited to share an evening with this creative artist and see the Grand Traverse Ecumenical Assembly in action.


Source: "Lois Sonkiss - University of New Mexico" Newspapers.com. Traverse City Record-Eagle, August 6, 1976. https://www.newspapers.com/image/55763439/.

1980

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Museums Offering Indian Art

Indian art – sculpture, sandpainting, serigraphy, beading, basketry, pottery, prints, collage and photography – will be on view these last weeks of July in two Oklahoma museums.

Sculpture exhibits by self-taught Indian artist Charles E. Pratt will be shown at the Museum of the Western Prairie, Altus, beginning Sunday. A reception for Pratt from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday will launch the exhibit which includes intricate metal works representing animal and plant life. The display will run two weeks.

At the Southern Plains Indian Museum in Anadarko, an exhibit is already in progress and will continue through July 31. Titled “Conceptual Art: Four Native American Women Artists," the unusual display focuses on abstraction and reflects the intellect and emotions of Lois Sonkiss Brill, Jaune Quick-To-See Smith, Kay Walkingstick and Emmi Whitehorse. Viewing hours are 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1-4:30 p.m. Sunday.

Ms. Brill is of Lacandon Indian descent, born In Mexico in 1956. She is primarily an art historian and holds a master's from University of New Mexico. Her artistic talents are directed toward quillwork, beadwork, basketry and pottery.

Jaune Quick-To-See Smith is of French-Creek and Shoshone descent. She was born on a reservation in Montana and her name means “insightful awareness." Quick-To-See also has a master's and her painting exhibits have netted her favorable reviews in leading art publications.

Kay Walkingstick is of Oklahoma Cherokee descent. A highly educated woman she concentrates on painting and drawing.

Emmi Whitehorse, who is a poet as well as artist, makes her splash in sandpainting, sculpture, silversmithing, serigraphy, printmaking and photography. Spotlighted will be her painting, “For That, Only Good Indian" created in acrylic and encaustic over ink on canvas. Since showings are limited to two weeks, it’s a good idea to make plans to see them soon.


Source: "Museums offering Indian art" Newspapers.com. Wichita Falls Times, July 18, 1980. https://www.newspapers.com/image/781426987/.

1980

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Lois Sonkiss – (Maya) – artist, painter, reviewer; born in Chiapas, Mexico in 1956; grew up in Northern Michigan; studied art at the University of New Mexico; published in La Confluencia; Lives in Tijeras Canyon, New Mexico.


Source: The Remembered Earth: An Anthology of Contemporary Native American Literature –edited by Geary Hobson (1980)
Direct Link: https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Remembered_Earth/U9fR_gHTxeUC?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=the%20remembered%20earth%20lois%20sonkiss&pg=PA416&printsec=frontcover


2004

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STATE OF MICHIGAN -PROBATE COURT COUNTY OF LIVINGSTON 
ESTATE OF MARY PULTER, DECEASED. FILE NO. 04-06951-DE

TO ALL INTERESTED PERSONS:
including Sandra Korycinski, Susan Korycinski, Judy Korycinski, Tammy Korycinski, Steve Korycinski, John Korycinski, James Sonkiss, Tom Sonkiss, Lois Sonkiss, Cynthia Watczak, 3 children of Sophie Ducinski - Names unknown, 4 children of Carol Barduka - Names unknown,
1 child of Stella Gizinski-Walczak - Name Unknown***

The decedent, who lived at 3003 W. Grand River, Howell, MI 48843 died 03/29/2003. An application for informal probate of decedent's will was filed by John D. Sonkiss, 5198 Bradford Circle, Brighton, Ml 48114. On 1/26/04 the Livingston County Probate Court 204 S. Highlander Way, Howell, MI 48843 informally admitted the will. No personal representative has been appointed, and there is no administration of the estate.

ATTORNEY:
James F. Malinowski, P23037, 39111 W. Six Mile Road, Livonia, MI 48152, (734) 420-4170.

***all of whose addresses and whereabouts are unknown.

(2-10-04 DAILY 112122).


Source: "Estate of Mary Pulter - Lois Sonkiss" Newspapers.com. Livingston County Daily Press and Argus, February 10, 2004. https://www.newspapers.com/image/480675151/.

The 2004 probate notice for the estate of Mary (Korycinski) Pulter is a good preface for the next post of genealogy. Beardslee will be shown to be Polish, Hungarian, and Romanian without any Ojibwe or Lacandon or Maya ancestry.

Offline Advanced Smite

  • Posts: 186
Re: Lois Beardslee, Author & Artist
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2024, 04:51:58 pm »
FATHER OF LOIS BEARDSLEE

Ervin Julius Sonkiss
B: 24 Jun 1914 - Illinois, USA
D: 10 May 1976 - Michigan, USA


In 1914, Ervin Julius Sonkiss was born in Illinois to John and Anna (Szilagyi) Sonkiss. John and Anna (Szilagyi) Sonkiss were born in Hungary and immigrated to the United States around 1910. Ervin Julius Sonkiss married Anna Marietta Korycinski in 1938. The couple had four children: John Sonkiss, Julius Sonkiss, Thomas Sonkiss, and Lois Sonkiss. He died in 1976 in Wayne County, Michigan.

1930 United States Federal Census
Name.........................................Julius Sankios*
Birth Year....................................abt 1915
Gender.........................................Male
Race..........................................White
Age in 1930.................................15
Birthplace....................................Illinois
Marital Status...............................Single
Relation to Head of House..............Son
Home in 1930...............................River Rouge, Wayne, Michigan, USA
Street Address..............................Haltiner Street
House Number..............................296 1/2
Able to Read and Write..................Yes
Father's Birthplace.......................Hungary
Mother's Birthplace......................Hungary
Able to Speak English....................Yes
Household Members (Name, Age)
John Sankios*, 49
Anna Sankios*, 40
Julius Sankios*, 15
Anna Sankios*, 12

*Possible transcription error. Reviewed original census to confirm it is the correct family.

Michigan, U.S., Marriage Records, 1867-1952
Name................................Julius Sonkiss
Gender..................................Male
Race..................................White
Age.......................................24
Birth Date..............................abt 1914
Birth Place...........................Illinois
Marriage License Place.............Wayne
Marriage Date..........................22 Oct 1938
Marriage Place........................Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, USA
Residence Place.......................Detroit, Michigan
Father..................................John Sonkiss
Mother.................................Anna Szilagyi
Spouse................................Anna Marietta Korycinski


1940 United States Federal Census
Name..........................................Ervin J Sonkiss
Age..............................................25
Estimated Birth Year.......................abt 1915
Gender.........................................Male
Race............................................White
Birthplace....................................Illinois
Marital Status................................Married
Relation to Head of House...............Head
Home in 1940................................Detroit, Wayne, Michigan
Street...........................................Woodmere Avenue
House Number................................2504
Inferred Residence in 1935...............River Rouge, Wayne, Michigan
Residence in 1935...........................River Rouge, Wayne, Michigan
Resident on farm in 1935.................No
Occupation.....................................Deseamer
Industry.........................................Great Lakes Steel Corp.
House Owned or Rented...................Rented
Highest Grade Completed.................Elementary school, 8th grade
Household Members (Name, Age)
Ervin J Sonkiss, 25
Anna Sonkiss, 20
John D Sonkiss, 6/12

1950 United States Federal Census
Name............................................Ervin J Sonkiss
Age..............................................35
Birth Date.....................................abt 1915
Gender.........................................Male
Race..............................................White
Birth Place....................................Illinois
Marital Status...............................Married
Relation to Head of House...............Head
Residence Date..............................1950
Home in 1950................................Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, USA
Street Name..................................Lauder
House Number...............................16592
Farm.............................................No
Acres............................................No
Occupation....................................Foreman
Industry........................................Steel Industry
Hours Worked................................48
Household Members (Name, Age)
Ervin J Sonkiss, 35
Ann K Sonkiss, 50
John D Sonkiss   , 10
Julius J Sonkiss, 8
Thomas Sonkiss, 6

Michigan, U.S., Death Index, 1971-1996
Name..................Ervin J Sonkiss
Birth Date............24 Jun 1914
Death Date..........10 May 1976
Gender................Male
Residence............Dearborn, Wayne, Michigan
Place of Death......Dearborn, Wayne, Michigan



MOTHER OF LOIS BEARDSLEE

Anna Marietta Korycinski
B: abt 1920 - West Virginia, USA
D: Unknown


In 1920, Anna Marietta Korycinski was born to Joseph and Katherine (Wanczlik) Korycinski in West Virginia. Joseph and Katherine (Wanczlik) Korycinski were born in Poland and immigrated to the United States around 1905. Anna Marietta Korycinski married Ervin Julius Sonkiss in 1938. The couple had four children: John Sonkiss, Julius Sonkiss, Thomas Sonkiss, and Lois Sonkiss. I was unable to locate a death record for Anna Marietta Korycinski.

1930 United States Federal Census
Name....................................Anna Korycinski
Birth Year................................abt 1920
Gender...................................Female
Race.....................................White
Age in 1930............................10
Birthplace.............................West Virginia
Marital Status..........................Single
Relation to Head of House.........Daughter
Home in 1930..........................River Rouge, Wayne, Michigan, USA
Street Address.........................Frazier Avenue
House Number.........................359
Able to Read and Write..............Yes
Father's Birthplace.................Poland
Mother's Birthplace................Poland
Able to Speak English.................Yes
Household Members (Name, Age)
Katy Korycinski   , 44
Stella Korycinski, 11
Anna Korycinski, 10
Stanley Korycinski, 8
Caroline Korycinski, 7
Sophia Korycinski, 6

Michigan, U.S., Marriage Records, 1867-1952
Name................................Anna Marietta Korycinski
Gender..............................Female
Race................................White
Age...................................18
Birth Date..........................abt 1920
Birth Place.......................West Virginia
Marriage License Place.........Wayne
Marriage Date.....................22 Oct 1938
Marriage Place....................Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, USA
Residence Place..................Detroit, Michigan
Father..............................Joseph Korycinski
Mother.............................Katherine Wanclik
Spouse.............................Julius Sonkiss

1940 United States Federal Census
Name.........................................Anna Sonkiss
Age............................................20
Estimated Birth Year.....................abt 1920
Gender........................................Female
Race..........................................White
Birthplace..................................West Virginia
Marital Status...............................Married
Relation to Head of House..............Wife
Home in 1940...............................Detroit, Wayne, Michigan
Street..........................................Woodmere Avenue
House Number..............................2504
Inferred Residence in 1935.............River Rouge, Wayne, Michigan
Residence in 1935.........................River Rouge, Wayne, Michigan
Resident on farm in 1935...............No
Highest Grade Completed...............High School, 3rd year
Native Language...........................English
Household Members (Name, Age)
Ervin J Sonkiss, 25
Anna Sonkiss, 20
John D Sonkiss, 6/12

1950 United States Federal Census
Name.........................................Ann K Sonkiss
Age.............................................30
Birth Date....................................abt 1920
Gender.........................................Female
Race...........................................White
Birth Place..................................West Virginia
Marital Status................................Married
Relation to Head of House...............Wife
Residence Date..............................1950
Home in 1950................................Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, USA
Street Name..................................Lauder
House Number...............................16592
Farm.............................................No
Acres............................................No
Occupation Category.......................Keeping House
Household Members (Name, Age)
Ervin J Sonkiss, 35
Ann K Sonkiss, 50
John D Sonkiss, 10
Julius J Sonkiss, 8
Thomas Sonkiss, 6

Offline Advanced Smite

  • Posts: 186
Re: Lois Beardslee, Author & Artist
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2024, 05:55:06 pm »
It is interesting how similar in tone Lois Beardslee's article "F'd by the Vagina Monologues" (see below) is to several pieces written by Kay LeClaire. I bolded text that seems especially outrageous knowing now that Lois Beardslee is Polish and Hungarian...not Ojibwe or Lacandon. She even claims to have been "Uncle Tommed" by the "white ladies of Northwest lower Michigan." Yikes.

Quote
F’d by the Vagina Monologues - By Lois Beardslee
Archive Link: https://web.archive.org/web/20140724134737/http://www.indiancountrynews.info/fullstory.cfm-ID=47.htm




I’ve been getting a lot of phone calls lately, from the ladies who’ve claimed ownership of the Traverse City contingent of the Vagina Monologues. They put on a show last year, featuring Eve Ensler’s celebrated work honoring women and their anatomy, interspersed with essays by local white women. Ensler’s essays include pieces in the voices of women of color as well, written not by women of color, but by Ensler herself.

The first phone call was from a woman asking me to try out for the part of the Native American woman who would be reading the Native American portion of Ensler’s monologues. It was put to me in such a way that I felt I was expected to prove I was good enough for the distinction of reading the words a white woman had written for me, a Native American woman.

Since I’ve probably had more experience with public speaking than most of the community leaders and staff at my local junior college and university center, it was an odd request, to my mind. And since I’ve probably written and published as much as Eve Ensler, it was an even weirder request.

I suggested to my caller that I might have as much to say about the sexual roles of Native women as Eve Ensler, because I, unlike Ensler, am a Native American woman, and – what a bonus! – I share my strong opinions on the topic through the written and spoken word.

Alas, it was not her job to consider giving me my own voice. She had merely been instructed to invite me to the “try-outs,” as though the ladies were putting on a high school play, and I were one of so many wistful young Native American maidens wringing my hands and hopeful for the part that Ensler, and subsequently my white neighbors, had determined it was appropriate for me to play.

It’s a phenomenon I encounter every day of my life. My friends and neighbors from the dominant culture expect me to live up to their stereotypes of a docile young Indian maiden, not unlike Pocahontas, or perhaps some young, sweet girl in a beaded headband and buckskin fringes who no doubt handed the deserving Pilgrims a basket full of venison tenderloins and wild blueberry corn muffins.

People often get downright huffy if I don’t act that way. So I didn’t join the nonexistent line of Native American women trying out for the part, even though she was a really nice lady.

The second call came from another really nice lady, younger than the first. She’d taken on the task of finding artwork for the back cover of the performance program and thought maybe Native American women could be represented by my contributing maybe the artwork and maybe a little poem for the cover, to show that maybe they had, like, you know, taken Native Americans into consideration.

Suggestions were made as to the nature of the new original piece of artwork I would be expected to create for this volunteer assignment. And so, being the teacher that I am, and having a receptive and intelligent audience, I began to explain why, why, why...

I cannot be Uncle Tom for the women of Traverse City any more than I can for your school districts, your museums, your parks, your churches, your families, your children’s literature, or your fantasies.

And, at the end of it all, I agreed to provide a signed, limited edition print for scanning, and a copy of it to be sold to fund the project, along with a quote from a book I’d written, and a no-way-definitely-not-short poem that would address women’s issues pertinent to the northwest corner of Michigan’s lower peninsula... because, oddly enough, I was as competent as the local white women whose pages were to be interspersed throughout the program. My friend the printer found a male business sponsor for the extra pages I had generated.

But, alas, the poem was left out, and the benign illustration and quote were proudly displayed. I’d been Uncle Tommed, and the white ladies of northwest lower Michigan patted themselves on the back for giving the impression of being culturally sensitive and compassionate and inclusive, while I tried to wipe the experience of my interaction with them from my mind, as though it were offensive goo on the heel of a boot.

A week later, I heard one from that selective group of civic-minded women on the local public radio channel, congratulating herself for developing the ability to say “vagina” out loud. I was saddened, because the women of this region would never know that the Ojibwe have a tradition so respectful of women that we only use anatomically correct terms for human body parts, counter to every European language I have ever learned.

We are genteel, intelligent. We have a wealth of traditional stories that deal with women’s roles, verbal abuse, domestic violence, trans-gender issues, and every other social issue that any society would need to function for millennia... as we did, and still do.

Outside of your public schools, we have our own social institutions that teach mechanisms for avoiding dysfunction, because dysfunction happens in all cultures.

Yet the ladies of Traverse City did not have the opportunity to learn this, because they could not fathom a Native American voice bigger than their own stereotypes of ignorance and docility, perhaps mirroring their own culture’s attitude toward women. Just as importantly, it voiced their culture’s attitude toward people of color.

These women are a few of the thousands of white escapists from Chicago and Detroit who have worked their way up the coastlines and the interstate highways into the ancestral homelands of the Woodland Indians of the northern Great Lakes.

In our neighborhood, the existing sparse populations of whites and Native Americans had begun to make their peace and intermarry one another, just when the white flight began in the 70s, after that messy bussing/integration/poverty-driven-race-riots thing that nobody wants to take responsibility for.

The phenomenon of white flight into this area happened with such speed and intensity that we could not overcome the fear and ignorance you brought with you. Perhaps we should call it “white blight.”

Last week, I was mailed a copy of the part of Ensler’s monologues that are written as the voices of Native women. It was an act of friendship, from one of the women who genuinely wanted to know, after the fact, if the monologues met my approval. No one had originally considered that the monologues might not meet the needs of the Indian women who were “included” as a form of political correctness.

It’s hard teaching you all of this, one at a time, at the expense of many of my own unpaid hours. I would much rather be paid what a white woman with my credentials makes, or better yet, what a white male with my credentials makes – but minority employment in education in this corner of the state runs at, oh... around zero percent.

I would have like to have had the opportunity to have spoken out before the damage was done, before Ensler’s damaging words and stereotypes pertaining to Native American women were performed, celebrated, espoused as the gospel by a white school teacher from Traverse City, who will take those stereotypes back into the classroom with her.

You see, public education is one of the least integrated professions in America today, and the option of educating you in groups is not available to me in the mainstream press, in the public schools, or in any format other than as a token Indian.

So I will be reluctant in the future to let my artwork be used, giving the impression of consensus for the status quo, consensus for the bizarre forms of racism, sexism, and ignorance you have brought with you while you’ve been busy fleeing from those awful colored folks down in those awful big cities you left crumbling. I do not like Ensler’s stereotypes of me any more than I like the ones you brought with you.

Ensler did damage to Native American women. Her essays in Indian voices spoke only about domestic violence, in contrast to the essays in white women’s voices. Ensler did not make clear to her audience that, in fact, the bulk of partners who abuse Native American women are not Native Americans themselves, but non-Indians who have sought out a weaker, vulnerable element of society – as abusers do.

You see, Native American women who are abused – by domestic spouses, neighbors, employers, big business, and even suburban escapees – are not trash deserving abuse as depicted by Ensler and interpreted by my neighbors... we are wasted human resources.

Even worse than Ensler’s stereotypes is the fact that today, in this twenty-first century, when Native American authors, artists, and activists are educated, outspoken and available, she took it upon herself to tell our stories for us, as though she could possibly be a competent substitute for our own voices.

By wearing the hat of a writer rather than that of an open-minded editor of contemporary Native women’s voices, Ensler has trivialized us and presented us as stereotypes within a vacuum. While Ensler and dozens of other non-Indian authors who write about Indians reap the economic benefits of giving the dominant culture what it needs and wants to think about the competence of Native American people, Native scholars find themselves waiting years for the publication of materials contradicting those stereotypes.

Native American women in Michigan have more college diplomas per capita than any other group, yet we have the highest unemployment in the state. Our children’s schools are staffed almost exclusively by whites. Public school administration has become a highly paid white male gravy train that models racism and sexism to our children.

We are followed around your stores by security guards. White women tighten their grips on their purses when we or our family members enter the room. Ears close to our concerns. We fear for our safety, and the safety of our children. All this, because you have found our neighborhood to be more desirable than your old neighborhood, and you have reinstituted the policy of Manifest Destiny.

So I offer up to you the poem that was left out of the Traverse City performance of the Vagina Monologues. (See “A Love Letter To My Community” on page 9.)


Lois Beardslee is an Anishinabe teacher and writer, who is accomplished in basketry, quillwork and birchbark biting. Beardslee is the author of Lies to Live By (grades 7 -up), Michigan State University Press 2003. Her article “Arguments for Integration in the Field of Education” appears in the Spring ’04 issue of Multicultural Education Magazine.



Offline Advanced Smite

  • Posts: 186
Re: Lois Beardslee, Author & Artist
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2024, 06:44:23 pm »
A NAFPS user found a public profile on Ancestry.com that appears to belong to Lois Beardslee’s son ‘JB.’ I will only be using his initials and Ancestry.com user name in this post, not his full name, as there is no evidence that JB is falsely claiming Native American ancestry for profit or personal gain as an adult.

‘jakebeards’ Ancestry.com Profile:
https://www.ancestry.com/profile/05450528-0006-0000-0000-000000000000?compareToTestId=349E1ADE-C53E-441C-9E8F-D8948BC3DB2A

‘jakebeards’ joined Ancestry.com on November 27, 2017, and was last active on the site a week ago.

‘jakebeards’ has one public family tree titled “Beards Family Tree.” The tree confirms the accuracy of the genealogy in the previous post:
https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/tree/117773402?cfpid=300166331762&dtid=100

I’ve attached screenshots of the Ancestry.com profile and family tree to this NAFPS post.

Offline Advanced Smite

  • Posts: 186
Re: Lois Beardslee, Author & Artist
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2024, 07:05:18 pm »
Based on information found in interviews and articles, like the article quoted below, Lois Beardslee has been selling art for more than 20 years marketed as Ojibwe and Native American art:
Quote
She has been an artist for more than 20 years and has work in public and private collections worldwide.


Source: Lois Beardslee, Daughter of the Earth (The Northern Michigan Journal) – By Jim Rink
Direct Link: https://www.leelanau.com/nmj/views/earth_daughter.html
Archive Link: https://archive.ph/bm6hv

Lois Beardslee currently sells art through the Leelanau Historical Society classified as "Anishinaabek Arts."

Leelanau Historical Society - Anishinaabek Arts
Direct Link: https://leelanauhistory.square.site/shop/Anishinaabek-Arts/7?page=1&limit=30&sort_by=category_order&sort_order=asc

Below are links to three items that are/were available at the Leelanau Historical Society. All three were described as being made by a "Native American" or "Anishinaabek" artist. The birch bark prints and cards are referred to as "Ojibwa."

Birch Bark Cards by Lois Beardslee
Direct Link: https://leelanauhistory.square.site/product/birch-bark-cards-by-lois-beardsley/110
Archive Link: https://archive.ph/JjCxa
Quote
Native American author and artist, Lois Beardslee creates rare Ojibwa art forms, including birch bark cut outs, biting, quillwork, and sweet grass baskets, as well as paintings of traditional stories. Each card comes with an artist statement and is protected by a cellophane sleeve. Inside, the cards are blank ready for your personal message.

Sweet Grass Turtle Quillwork Baskets - By Lois Beardslee
Direct Link: https://leelanauhistory.square.site/product/Sweet-Grass-Turtle-Quillwork-Baskets/237?cp=true&sa=false&sbp=false&q=false&category_id=7
Archive Link: https://archive.ph/wip/Jau7t
Quote
Anishinaabek author and local Leelanau artist Lois Beardslee create these beautiful sweet grass baskets. Each basket has detailed porcupine quill imagery woven into birch bark lids. You have to smell them in person to experience the relaxing aroma. Each basket is one of a kind and signed by the artist.

Birch Bark Prints - Lois Beardslee
Direct Link: https://leelanauhistory.square.site/product/birch-bark-prints-lois-beardslee/49
Archive Link: https://archive.ph/O1FoO
Quote
Made by local Native American artist and author, Lois Beardslee. Each Ojibwa birch bark cut-out or biting are mounted and signed by the artist. Comes shrink wrapped.



Here is a link to report violations of the Indian Arts & Crafts Act to the U.S. Department of the Interior:

U.S. Department of the Interior – Indian Arts & Crafts Act, Report a Violation
https://www.doi.gov/iacb/should-i-report-potential-violation#no-back

Offline cellophane

  • Posts: 56
Re: Lois Beardslee, Author & Artist
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2024, 09:09:09 pm »
Quote
Beardslee has been selling art for more than 20 years marketed as Ojibwe and Native American art

The Nortern Michigan Journal article ("Lois Beardslee, Daughter of the Earth") is ©1996. It is not linked to from the journal archive page for the 1996 issue, but it is linked to from an article in the Summer 1997 issue, so it seems to be indeed from 1996, and she was not new then to representing herself as an native American artist. So she's been doing this for at least about 30 years now.