General > Frauds

Nibiiwakamigkwe AKA Kay LeClaire AKA Kathryn Le Claire in Madison, Wisconsin

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advancedsmite:
I came across “nibiiwakamigkwe” when information on one of their performances showed up in my social media newsfeed. They were only identified by a single Anishinaabe name which piqued my interest about whether we could have friends or family in common. Their bio contained language often associated with people that may be misrepresenting their race or ethnicity.


nibiiwakamigkwe / Kay LeClaire / Katie Le Claire / Kathryn Le Claire identifies as a “Two-Spirit Métis, Onyota’a:ka (Oneida), Anishinaabe (Ojibwe), Cuban and waabishkiiwed artist.” They “co-own and operate giige, an Indigenous and Queer art and tattoo space” in Madison, Wisconsin and are the “first Community Leader-in-Residence with the University of Wisconsin School of Human Ecology” which is a grant-funded position through the Equity & Justice Network.


nibiiwakamigkwe / Kay LeClaire / Katie Le Claire / Kathryn Le Claire has been given a platform to share their perceived knowledge on these topics in Madison, Wisconsin, and the surrounding areas (not intended to be a complete list):
•   Indigenous Art
•   Indigenous Craftwork
•   Indigenous Feminism
•   Indigenous Culture & Identity
•   Indigenous Tattooing
•   Jingle Dancing
•   Throat Singing
•   Food Sovereignty
•   Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women
•   Oneida, Anishinaabe, and Metis Culture


Questionable Claims:
•   Cuban: Claimed to be Cuban in bios, interviews, and elsewhere through August 31, 2020. In bios and interviews that have occurred since September 2020 to the present day it appears they are no longer actively claiming to be Cuban.
•   Oneida: Claims to “…sit in the bear clan of the Oneida Nation of New York.” They said they provided “two laceworks made by my grandmother, Kateri Johnson and her mother Theresia Hill—both Bear Clan Oneida women” to the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection at the Lynn Mecklenburg Textile Gallery at UW-Madison. Stated in a presentation that “several Haudenosaunee groups have moved further west or north, including the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin who came here with the 1838 treaty. My family was not one of those to come over and so they remained in New York until about the Great Depression when they came to Wisconsin to try to farm.”
•   Anishinaabe: Claims to be “Martin Clan from the Leech Lake Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe.” There is one example of them saying “I’m Martin Clan, a descendant of the Leech Lake Band of the Minnesota Ojibwe.”
•   Metis: Claims to be “Métis from the Red River Settlement in Manitoba." There is one example of them saying “I am a Metis descendant from the Red River Settlement in Manitoba, Canada.”
•   Northern Wisconsin: Claims to have been “born and raised in northern Wisconsin.”


In my opinion, based on publicly available information:
•   Kathryn Elizabeth Le Claire was born and raised in southern Wisconsin by their parents, Brian and Carol (Johnson) Le Claire. They graduated from Hamilton High School in Sussex, Wisconsin.
        o           Maternal Ancestry: German and Swedish
        o           Paternal Ancestry: German, Swedish, and French Canadian
•   Physical appearance has drastically changed from 2012 to 2022 – hair and eyebrows changed from dark blonde/light brown to black, skin tone appears darker


Over the next few days, I will:
•   Share nibiiwakamigkwe / Kay LeClaire / Katie Le Claire / Kathryn Le Claire’s genealogy with supporting documentation. Another NAFPS contributor assisted with development of nibiiwakamigkwe’s family tree which was greatly appreciated.
•   Breakdown how publicly available information refutes nibiiwakamigkwe’s claims of Cuban, Oneida, Anishinaabe, and Metis descent.
•   Provide a timeline of interviews, presentations, and performances with significant excerpts and/or transcribed text along with links to source material or attachments.


I hope anyone with firsthand experience or additional information will contribute to this thread.


SOURCES
Many of the sources below were utilized in this post. Others have been included as background information. I will post what I’ve been able to find in greater detail over the next few days. Everything has been saved offline in the event of broken links.

Community Leader-in-Residence
https://cdmc.wisc.edu/equity-justice-initiatives/

Center for Design and Material Culture Conversation Series: nibiiwakamigkwe https://mediaspace.wisc.edu/media/CDMC+Conversation+SeriesA+nibiiwakamigkwe/1_40nql0q5

Collateral Damage Project – Nibiiwakamigkwe Artist Gallery
https://www.collateraldamageproject.com/Artists-Galleries/Nibiiwakamigkwe/

Center the Movement, Not You – By nibiiwakamigkwe
https://ourliveswisconsin.com/article/center-the-movement-not-you/

The Great Madison LGBTQ+ Artist Survey of 2020 – “Kay LeClaire/nibiiwakamigkwe”
https://ourliveswisconsin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/OL80.pdf

Nibiiwakamigkwe Wants Madison to Re-Indigenize Pride
https://web.archive.org/web/20221112164145/https://captimes.com/news/local/q-a-nibiiwakamigkwe-wants-madison-to-re-indigenize-pride/article_91cc52d8-1b52-51de-b76e-75bb7780217f.html

nibiiwakamigkwe Artist Profile
https://www.littlebookwi.com/blog/artist-profile-nibiiwakamigkwe

“Katie Le Claire” Senior Picture
https://hhscg.weebly.com/alumni.html

Hamilton High School National Merit Scholar Article
https://www.hamilton.k12.wi.us/news-releases/2011/10/hamilton-students-recognized-in-nmsc-competition-2

advancedsmite:
nibiiwakamigkwe / Kay LeClaire/ Kathryn Le Claire (KL) claims to “sit in the Bear Clan of the Oneida Indian Nation of New York” and, of all three Indigenous nations they claim, has given the most detailed information about their allegedly Oneida ancestors. This post will primarily focus on their maternal grandmother’s genealogy and Oneida claims.

The Oneida Indian Nation of New York has a matrilineal clan system. You can read about how it still shapes the Oneida Indian Nation of New York today on their website: https://www.oneidaindiannation.com/about/oin-leadership/
If KL were indeed Bear Clan, she would have inherited the connection the following way: KL’s Maternal Grandmother > KL’s Mother > KL

Here is a selection of the detailed claims that KL has made about their connection to the Oneida; specifically, the Oneida Indian Nation of New York:

September 8, 2021: Sacred Wisdom, Sacred Earth Day One Food Panel
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5nGcR1eZSU

Transcription begins at 54:14:

--- Quote ---nibiiwakamigkwe: "So, I’ll start with my Haudenosaunee relatives. We are all kind of in the northeast or the eastern woodlands portion of- of this continent. Really moving along what is now called the St. Lawrence River. Um. You know. What is now sometimes referred to as upstate New York or New England. Several Haudenosaunee groups have moved further west or north including the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin who came here with the 1838 treaty. Um. My family was not one of those to come over and so they remained in New York until about the Great Depression when they came to Wisconsin to try to farm a little bit better -um- or with less - fewer land pressures, I should say.”
--- End quote ---

October 17, 2021: University of Wisconsin Center for Design and Material Culture
https://www.instagram.com/p/CU5Twxwrfxe/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link


--- Quote ---“Today on Indigenous Peoples’ day we feature one of the pieces on display in Lace from the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection.

The history of lace-work among the Haudenosaunee initially started in 1898, when Sybil Carter, an Episcopalian missionary, introduced lace making to the women of Oneida Nation near De Pere, Wisconsin. She developed a piecework system in which the teachers, materials, and patterns were sent to the women on reservations in Wisconsin, Minnesota, New Mexico, and California. The finished pieces were considered a high commodity among New York society women and won many awards internationally.

For many Oneida women, their work through the lace industry became a substantial revenue for their communities. Yet, many were never given proper recognition for the work they created. In many of the lace pieces, you will find no name connected to the work, and very little research is done to correct this. Included in our Lace exhibition is an example of Haudenosaunee lace-work told through the family members of nibiiwakamigkwe, a Métis, Onyota’a:ka, Anishinaabe, Cuban and waabishkiiwed Two-Spirit artist in Madison, WI. This piece represents the ongoing resilience of the Haudenosaunee people and the continuation of their traditional ways of making and looking at the adoption of newer art forms within their communities.

When the missionaries left the Oneida reservation in 1909, Josephine Hill Webster, a member of the Wisconsin Oneida Nation, became the lace-makers leader in the area. After the Sybil Carter Indian Lace Association disbanded in 1926, Webster and many other Oneida women continued making and selling lace locally for many years.

This piece was created by Theresia Hill of Oneida-Bear Clan. Theresia was born in upstate New York and was taught lacemaking at what she described as a Catholic girls finishing school. She made lace for 50 years and was taught bobbin, needle, crochet, and knit lace techniques over her life and passed them along to her daughters - she had ten children. Based on items found in her daughter, Kateri's, sewing containers, they both used cotton or linen thread and sometimes wool.
--- End quote ---

advancedsmite:
December 8, 2021: Artist Profile: nibiiwakamigkwe - Written By Rachel Werner
https://www.littlebookwi.com/blog/artist-profile-nibiiwakamigkwe
https://web.archive.org/web/20221112210236/https://www.littlebookwi.com/blog/artist-profile-nibiiwakamigkwe


--- Quote ---4) Fave installation, exhibition, writing or performance by another artist that you've recently encountered?

It is absolutely Lace from the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection at the Lynn Mecklenburg Textile Gallery (part of the UW-Madison School of Human Ecology). Not only is it gorgeously designed and curated, but I was asked to provide two laceworks made by my grandmother, Kateri Johnson and her mother Theresia Hill—both Bear Clan Oneida women. My grandmother taught me how to bead, quill, sew, tuft, weave and the importance of them. But neither she, nor her mother, would have ever considered themselves artists or expected to see their works in a gallery. This felt so special. I knew the pieces would be safe and respected there since I had viewed Dakota Mace's (Diné) and Kendra Greendeer's (Ho Chunk, Ojibwe) Intersections: Indigenous Textiles of the Americas in the same gallery two years prior. I'm so grateful there are faculty, staff and students at the UW-Madison committed to telling the stories and histories of Indigenous lacemaking and art. Getting these pieces back will be so surreal. Also I hope they can be viewed by others in the future.
--- End quote ---

advancedsmite:
May 2022: papercut work from Nibiiwakamigkwe – Collateral Damage Project
https://www.collateraldamageproject.com/Artists-Galleries/Nibiiwakamigkwe/


--- Quote ---I, and all my matrilineal ancestors before me, sit in the…bear clan of the...Oneida Nation, part of the Haudenosaunee//Iroquois Confederacy. Our role has always been that of medicine carriers and protectors of the people. Traditional Haudenosaunee tattooing practices carry medicine both physically and spiritually, and our connections to place, community, and our own identities are held within these lines.

In creating...a resting place, it was important that the piece exist on both sides of pre- and post-contact. Haudenosaunee chest tattoos depict the land the wearer comes from. After the suicide of several of my cousins, this design does not currently have a young male family member to carry it. But, this piece can still be worn as a yoke over the chest; emblematic of contemporary Oneida regalia, but only composed from pre-contact materials. It is a reminder to keep our hearts wrapped in leather for protection, and remember where we come from.

As someone with c-PTSD, descended from Native ancestors with similar trauma, these pieces combined acknowledge permanence and impermanence of mental states across families and culture.
--- End quote ---

To summarize, KL claims:
- Their Bear Clan Oneida grandmother is Kateri Johnson.
          - Kateri Johnson had lace made by her mother, Theresia Hill, in her sewing box.
          - Kateri Johnson taught KL how to bead, quill, sew, tuft, weave and the importance of them.
- Their Bear Clan Oneida great grandmother is Theresia Hill.
          - Theresia Hill was born in upstate New York.
          - Theresia Hill learned lace making at what “she described as a girls Catholic finishing school” and made lace for 50 years. She
             taught her daughters to make lace.
          - Theresia Hill had 10 children.
- KL's Oneida ancestors lived in New York until “about the Great Depression” when they moved to Wisconsin to farm.
- KL's family has a Haudenosaunee chest tattoo design that does not currently have a young male family member to carry it after the
   suicide of several of KL’s male cousins.

I looked at Kathleen Marie (Ortlieb) Johnson’s maternal AND paternal family's genealogy. Related to the claims above, this is what I found:

- KL’s maternal grandmother was Kathleen Marie (Ortlieb) Johnson, NOT Kateri Johnson.
          - Kathleen Marie (Ortlieb) Johnson’s paternal AND maternal grandparents were all born in Germany and immigrated to the United
             States between the years 1874-1887.
- KL’s great-grandmother and Kathleen Marie (Ortlieb) Johnson’s mother was Theresa (Hastreiter) Ortlieb, NOT Theresia Hill.
          - Theresa (Hastreiter) Ortlieb was born in Marshfield, Wisconsin in 1904.
          - I can find no record of her living in New York before or during the Great Depression.
- KL’s great-great-grandmother, Kathleen Marie (Ortlieb) Johnson’s grandmother, and Theresa (Hastreiter) Ortlieb’s mother was Theresia
  (Reitmeier) Hastreiter, NOT Theresia Hill.
          - Theresia (Reitmeier) Hastreiter arrived in Baltimore, Maryland from Germany on April 20, 1887, with her fiancée, Joseph
             Hastreiter.
          - The couple were married 10 days later, on April 30, 1887, in Medford, Wisconsin.
          - I can find no record of her living in New York before or during the Great Depression.

Kathleen Marie (Ortlieb) Johnson's maternal and paternal grandparents were all born in Germany, were listed as "white" on every census, birth certificate, and death certificate, AND did not live with/near the tribes claimed.

In my opinion, based on publicly available information, Kathleen Marie (Ortlieb) Johnson could not be the source of nibiiwakamigkwe / Kay LeClaire/ Kathryn Le Claire’s claims of Oneida, Anishinaabe, Metis, or Cuban ancestry. It directly calls into question her Oneida claims based on the specificity of her statements. To "sit in the Bear Clan of the Oneida Indian Nation of New York" KL would need their mother, maternal grandmother, great grandmother, and great-great grandma to be Oneida. At this point in time, the documentation indicates they were German. Now I am looking at KL's  genealogy through their paternal grandparents and maternal grandfather for Cuban, Anishinaabe (Leech Lake Band of the Minnesota Chippewa), and Metis ancestry which would prove their claims. Despite KL's  statements tying their Oneida ancestry to their maternal grandmother, I will continue to look for an Oneida connection with their paternal grandparents and maternal grandfather.

The supporting documentation exceeded the character limit for a single post. It will be posted separately.

advancedsmite:
Mother
Carol Ann Johnson
B: xx/xx/xxxx
Married: Brian John Le Claire

Maternal Grandmother
Kathleen Marie Ortlieb
B: 23 Jul 1933 - Dorchester, Clark, Wisconsin, USA
D: 23 Jan 2013 - Port Orange, Volusia, Florida, USA
Married: Donald Louis Johnson
Obituary: https://www.heritageflagler.com/obituaries/Kathleen-Marie-Johnson/#!/Obituary

Parents of Kathleen Marie (Ortlieb) Johnson
Rudolph Oscar Ortlieb
B: 17 Sep 1896 - Wisconsin, USA
D: 1 Jun 1988 - Clark County, Wisconsin, USA
Theresa Hastreiter
B: 19 Jun 1904 - Marshfield, Wood, Wisconsin, USA
D: 25 May 1977 - Marshfield, Wood, Wisconsin, USA

Maternal Grandparents of Kathleen Marie Ortlieb
Joseph Hastreiter (Immigrated in 1887)
B: 16 Feb 1862 Germany
D: 16 Jun 1937 Marshfield, Wood, Wisconsin, USA
Theresia Reitmeier (Immigrated in 1887)
B: 28 Oct 1865 Germany
D: 20 Dec 1941 Wood County, Wisconsin, USA

Paternal Grandparents of Kathleen Marie Ortlieb
Gottlob Ortlieb (Immigrated in 1884)
B: 26 Nov 1846 - Germany
D: 21 Jun 1917 - Clark, Wisconsin, USA
Johanne Friederike (Frieda) Wilhelmine Schauland (Immigrated in 1874)
B: 19 Apr 1864 - Fergitz, Uckermark, Brandenburg, Germany
D: 18 Mar 1936 - Dorchester, Clark, Wisconsin, USA

SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION: KATHLEEN MARIE (ORTLIEB) JOHNSON: 1933-2013

Obituary
Connects Kathryn Le Claire to their parents, Brian Le Claire and Carol (Johnson) Le Claire and Kathleen Marie (Ortlieb) Johnson
https://www.heritageflagler.com/obituaries/Kathleen-Marie-Johnson/#!/Obituary

Missouri, U.S., Marriage Records, 1805-2002
Name        Kathleen Marie Ortlieb
Race        White
Age           21
Birth Date        23 Jul 1933
Marriage Date     10 Jun 1955
Marriage Place     Overland, St Louis, Missouri, USA
Spouse        Donald Louis Johnson

1950 United States Federal Census
Name            Kathleen Ortlieb
Age                    16
Birth Date         1934
Gender         Female
Race            White
Birth Place         Wisconsin
Marital Status         Never Married (Single)
Relation to Head of House   Daughter
Residence Date      1950
Home in 1950         Dorchester, Clark, Wisconsin, USA
Household Members (Name, Age)
Rudolph J Ortlieb   53
Theresa Ortlieb   45
Jerome Ortlieb   21
Donald Ortlieb      20
Kathleen Ortlieb   16
James Ortlieb      15
Jeann Ortlieb      12
John Ortlieb      10
Shirley Ann Ortlieb   Mar

1940 United States Federal Census
Name            Kathleen M Ortlieb
Age            6
Gender         Female
Race            White
Birthplace         Wisconsin
Marital Status         Single
Relation to Head of House   Daughter
Home in 1940         Dorchester, Clark, Wisconsin
Household Members (Name, Age)
Rudolph O Ortlieb   43
Theresa Ortlieb   35
Bernice Pencek   20
Eugene R Ortlieb   14
Jerome A Ortlieb   11
Donald J Ortlieb   10
Kathleen M Ortlieb   6
James H Ortlieb   5
Joan Ortlieb      2

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