Author Topic: Keewaydinoquay Margaret Peschel  (Read 66119 times)

Offline WINative

  • Posts: 170
Re: Keewaydinoquay Margaret Peschel
« Reply #30 on: February 21, 2024, 05:16:34 am »
I think Margaret Peschel was a very dangerous person and delusional and it seems her followers are as well, preaching the Gospel of Keewaydinoquay and romanticizing her story into a fictional story of her life. The Miniss Kitigan Drum Inc. is literally a church, so what are the preaching? Is Kee a God now?
Her followers all consider themselves Ojibwe it seems and experts on Ojibwe and Native culture and are continuing her legacy.
They are listed on the last page of this attached paper by the biggest supporter Wendy Geniusz.

The Ojibwe names are vision names as spelled by Keewaydinoquay;
they appear here at the request of their bearers.

Ford, Richard I. (Director and Curator of Ethnology and Ethnobotany, University of Michigan Museum of Anthropology, Ann Arbor), 21 October 2004.
Geniusz, Mary Siisip (one of Kee's oshkaabewisag), 2004.
Heqet, Barbara (one of Kee's informal students), 8 October 2004.
Macklem, David (one of Kee's oshkaabewisag), 7 October 2004.
Podgorski, Cheryl (Aukeequay; one of Kee's oshkaabewisag ), 22 September 2004.
Simonsen, Lynn (Ningwiisiisis; one of Kee's oshkaabewisag), 10 October 2004.
Tanner, Helen Hornbeck (Senior Research Fellow, Newberry Library, and a personal friend of Kee's), 14 October - 30 September 2004.
Warber, Sara L. (Mikawa; Co-Director, Michigan Integrative Medicine Program, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor), 22 October 2004

Offline Sparks

  • Posts: 1422
Re: Keewaydinoquay Margaret Peschel
« Reply #31 on: February 21, 2024, 06:43:42 am »
Sparks, I have no idea what you're talking about. I only looked at Mary Lynn Shomperlen. She married a man by the name of Geniusz. I didn't look at his side of the family, only hers. There is no Polish heritage that I  could see. Her mother's maiden name is Blain. I think you're confused.
Sparks-Lucille Geniusz was the mother of Mary Shomperlen's husband Robert Geniusz and also Wendy Geniusz's grandmother. I just used her obituary to verify it is the same Mary Geniusz and her maiden name since you questioned a mistaken identity.
Yes, I was confused! The case of mistaken identity was mine. At a quick glanze, I mistook the statement in this quote to mean that Lucille Geniusz was the mother of (Mary Lynn Shomperlen). Now I realize that her being mentioned in a paranthesis means she was married to Lucille’s son Robert Myles Geniusz. I apologize to everyone who was confused by my post!
Geniusz, Lucille (Nee Sipowicz) […] Became the loving mother of Edward Tom Geniusz, Edwardine Michelle (Allen K.) Charnow, and Robert Myles (Mary Lynn Shomperlen) Geniusz. Later the delighted and loving grandmother of Wendy Makoons (Errol) Geniusz […]

Offline cellophane

  • Posts: 59
Re: Keewaydinoquay Margaret Peschel
« Reply #32 on: February 21, 2024, 05:06:44 pm »
Peschel's book, Keewaydinoquay, Stories from My Youth, published by the University of Michigan, is still in print, and the blurb at the publisher's site presents it as factual:

In the captivating art of the oral tradition-told in the author's own voice-Keewaydinoquay, Stories from My Youth brings to life the childhood years of a Michigan woman of both Native American and white. Presented here with the clarity and charm of a master storyteller, the words of Keewaydinoquay contain layers of understanding, conveyed by both what is said and how it is said. The values of the worldview that she shares with us are ones that resonate on far more than just an intellectual level.

The stories span generations and cultures and shed a rare light on the living conditions of Native Americans in Michigan in the early 1900s. They recount Keewaydinoquay's education in the public schools, illuminate the role Christianity played in Native American culture, and reveal the importance of maintaining traditional customs.

Keewaydinoquay was one of the very few Native American women who was steeped both in the ancient folkways of her people as well as erudite in the American university system. Ultimately she wove her native tradition and university learning together into a unique perspective that helped people understand the importance of nature and the human spirit.

Offline Sparks

  • Posts: 1422
Re: Keewaydinoquay Margaret Peschel
« Reply #33 on: February 24, 2024, 03:09:44 am »
Here's a Mary Geniusz biography likely written by her daughter Wendy Geniusz.

Wendy Makoons Geniusz also wrote about Keewaydinoquay Pakawakuk Peschel in the same place:

Photo courtesy of Wendy Makoons Geniusz, with permission from the Miniss Kitigan Drum.

Native American (Anishinaabe), Ethnobotany

Keewaydinoquay Pakawakuk Peschel (1919-1999)
The Aadizookaanag, our ancient stories and teaching spirits, are living beings. Keewaydinoquay’s storytelling clearly demonstrated the veracity of this Anishinaabe teaching. As she told stories, deep, “booming” voices of the Aadizookaanag echoed through the room as she spoke through her hand drum.

Raised in an Anishinaabe village on Cat Head Bay, on the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan, Keewaydinoquay was approximately nine when she began training to be a medicine woman under Nodjimahkwe. She also learned from other village elders. By the time she realized the extent of the knowledge that she had learned from them, her mentors had already passed over. Sharing this knowledge was her means of thanking them. Keewaydinoquay was a long-time educator, having taught in Michigan public schools for over 40 years before earning a MEd at Wayne State University and beginning doctoral coursework in ethnobotany at the University of Michigan. She later taught at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and founded the Miniss Kitigan Drum, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Anishinaabe culture. She said that she did not know her birth year, although census records suggest 1918 or 1919. She wanted people to understand that records of Indigenous births were not always made. She also taught that Anishinaabe people do not speak of “death.” Instead, we describe “passing over to the other side.” Keewaydinoquay passed over in 1999.

Puhpohwee (1978/1998), her most widely available publication, is an eclectic combination of materials related to fungi, including stories, teachings, medicinal and culinary recipes, and Keewaydinoquay’s drawings. In an interview, Keewaydinoquay explained that she wrote the original monograph after finding an academic article on mushrooms in a dentist’s office:

It said we Native Americans hate them, never use them, won’t walk near them, and don’t even look at them.  Scholars were quoted. I read it in disbelief. I wrote a letter disputing the article. A reply came back asking, “How do you know?” I wrote back saying that I am an Ojibway and a medicine woman.

A Harvard mycologist came to visit her, and she eventually published the first version of Puhpohwee. She later expanded it into a book edition (1998) containing more information and illustrations. When teaching, sharing one’s own lived experiences of working with knowledge, or sharing those experiences of a close relative or mentor, is crucial to Anishinaabe cultural protocols. A person without such stories is not reliable. Throughout her writings, Keewaydinoquay shares many stories of working with the knowledge she describes. As with the oral stories told in our communities, her stories are memorable and include specific instructions.

Among her works of interest to folklorists are:

Puhpohwee for the People: A Narrative Account of Some Uses of Fungi among the Ahnishinaabeg / Keewaydinoquay. [Second edition] (1998)

Wendy Makoons Geniusz

Click to view extensive bibliography

Offline Sparks

  • Posts: 1422
Re: Keewaydinoquay Margaret Peschel
« Reply #34 on: February 29, 2024, 01:35:11 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. […]

Source: "Hallucinogens in North America" Singing to the Plants - Steve Beyer's Blog on Ayahuasca and the Amazon
Direct Link:
Archive Link:

The quote is from a new topic: "Lois Beardslee, Author & Artist". The blog article linked to is entirely about Keewaydinoquay Peschel and R. Gordon Wasson (recently discussed here in this NAFPS thread).

Hallucinogens in North America — Saturday, Feb 16th, 2008 — Sacred Plants, Shamanism
In the preceding two posts, I have argued that there is little convincing evidence that shamans outside the extended culture area of the Upper Amazon have ever used hallucinogens in their shamanic work; and, in the immediately preceding post, I argued against the belief that shamans in Siberia used the fly agaraic mushroom Amanita muscaria for shamanizing.

There is also, I believe, little evidence for the shamanic use of psychoactive plants or mushrooms among the indigenous peoples of North America. As among the Khoryaks, non-shamans may attempt to emulate shamans by using psychoactive plants or mushrooms that shamans themselves do not use. For example, among the Chumash and other indigenous peoples in south central California, it can be important to acquire a dream helper, not just for shamans but for ordinary people as well: falcon helps gamblers, bobcat can help hunters, otter can make one a good swimmer, roadrunner helps midwives. Sometimes a dream helper appears in an ordinary dream; this is especially true of shamans, whose powers first appear in dreams during childhood. Conversely, to obtain a dream helper, common people rely heavily on Datura, which plays only a marginal role in the acquisition of shamanic power.

There are similar problems with the claimed fly agaric use by shamans among the Anishinaabeg — often called the Ojibwe — of the Great Lakes area. The claim, first put forward by R. Gordon Wasson in 1978, rests entirely upon the testimony of a single person, an Anishinaabe herbalist and university-trained ethnobotanist named Keewaydinoquay Peschel. She claimed that she herself had been initiated into the shamanic use of the mushroom, and had herself used the mushroom three to five times a year for the past fifty years. She prepared a birch bark scroll containing a legend of how the mushroom came to the Anishinaabeg, which, Wasson said, evidenced its shamanic use.

There are some significant problems with this claim. There is no description of fly agaric use in any detailed ethnography of Anishinaabeg shamanism. When she first met Wasson, Keewaydinoquay apparently was living a solitary and unhappy life, spending much of her time alone on an isolated island; in any event, it is difficult to say to what extent she was, at that time, integrated into Anishinaabeg culture.

Further, Keewaydinoquay admitted that many Anishinaabeg were in fact strongly opposed to the consumption of fly agaric; indeed, her own revered teacher of herbalism, a woman named Nodjimahkwe, apparently knew about the mushrooms and prohibited her student from eating them. Moreover, versions of the legend told by other Anishinaabeg differ substantially from that given by Keewaydinoquay, including versions that prohibit the eating of any mushrooms at all.

Indeed, the mushroom legend itself, even as retold by Keewaydinoquay, contains little that would connect its use to shamanizing. The story tells how the Anishinaabeg discovered the mushrooms, and points out that those who use the mushroom are happy and pure, while those who do not are worried and unhappy. Although the mushroom reveals the supernatural and other knowledge to those who use it, the story provides no reason to believe that those who reportedly used the mushroom were shamans in any sense.

Further doubt is cast on the claim by the fact that Wasson and Keewaydinoquay were, apparently, lovers, or at least enmeshed in a highly charged personal relationship — one that seems, from her letters, to have been deeply important to Keewaydinoquay. And both derived ancillary benefits from this relationship: Wasson helped Keewaydinoquay obtain a doctorate in anthropology, a teaching position, and the publication of her writings on ethnomycology by the Harvard Botanical Museum; Keewaydinoquay gave Wasson an apparently idiosyncratic account of Anishinaabeg hallucinogen use that happened to be consistent with his theories. In the absence of confirmatory evidence, it is probably fair to view this account with caution.

There are 11 Responses, pro & con (2008-2014), including the one that is quoted in the Lois Beardslee, Author & Artist thread.

Offline Sparks

  • Posts: 1422
Re: Keewaydinoquay Margaret Peschel
« Reply #35 on: February 29, 2024, 02:02:02 am »
Direct Link:
Archive Link:

There are 11 Responses, pro & con (2008-2014), […][/quote]

Here is another Response, with an interesting link:

Reid Kaplan says: — November 4, 2014 at 8:44 am
I am not sure why I am rejoining an old controversy from which I have nothing to gain and which does not hold any interest for me any longer. But I certainly would like to set part of the record straight. I was a friend of Wasson’s for a very long time, a period which included the entire Kee episode. I was then a graduate student in Anthropolgy at Yale, and it happened that Claude Lévi-Strauss brought our attention to a portion of the Jesuit Relations which described Amanita muscaria use by the shamans of the Anishinaabeg. Hence, my involvement in the project and, moreover, that excerpt shows that Kee was not the sole source of this information. I must certainly assert that the statement: “the fact that Wasson and Keewaydinoquay were, apparently, lovers, or at least enmeshed in a highly charged personal relationship” is entirely false, or, if such strong feelings existed, they were entirely one-sided. In fact, Wasson was so distressed by his experience when he went to the island the first time, that he told me he could never go back there again. So, he asked me to investigate there further, as the account in the Jesuit Relations had not yet been verified, or rather, fully examined. My account of what happened is on a tape that you can hear at until, or unless, it disappears as most things on the web do. I told the simple truth to the audience in San Francisco. I hold no opinion about its shamanic character. I am astounded that it could be thought that Wasson and Kee could be “lovers”. It was utterly out of character for an old and infirm man, suffering from recurring strokes, very upset at the encounter, and totally absorbed in the life of the mind, could behave that way. It is, in fact, disgusting to claim that, and whoever started this canard should be deeply ashamed. She was an “informant”, pure and simple. That he helped her in her life was only normal generosity – or, if you prefer, reciprocity.
One thing about the mushrooms I ate on the island that has never been told, and has bothered me since, is that it was so dark at the time that I could not see what the mushroom was; I could not identify it. I suppose that will make the skeptics happy. Actually I hope that this entire subject will be consigned to the dustbin of history. I want no more part of it.

This is the content of the link in the quote:

Gordon Wasson, Reid Kaplan, Keewaydinoquay Peschel speaking about Miskwedo (Amanita Muscaria)

These tracks were taken from a tape given to me by Paul Freeman of San Francisco.  A friend of his (Norman Woodbury) taped this at the conference "Hallucinogens in Native America" held in San Francisco 9-28 to 10-1, 1978.  I think this tape is fascinating and want to make it available to others.
Speakers on this tape are Gordon Wasson, Reid Kaplan, Keewaydinoquay Peschel.

The tracks are below.
Track 1. 20:06 Introduction, Gordon Wasson
Track 2. 21:50 Keewaydinoquay and Reid Kaplan 1
Track 3. 21:53 Kee and Reid 2
Track 4. 12:46 Story of the Scroll
Track 5. 6:34 Story of the Brothers 2
Track 6. 24:54 Use of Miskwedo stories
Track 7. 18:19 Old Hunter and other stories
Track 8. 18:06 Reid's experience

Information on Gordon Wasson:

Keewaydinoquay Peschel
From the Publisher of
"Puhpohwee for the People: A Narrative Account of Some Uses of Fungi among the Ahnishinaabeg"
Author: Keewaydinoquay Peschel
Keewaydinoquay is an Ahnishinaabe herbalist & shaman who, in her childhood, was apprenticed to the famous Ahnishinaabe herbalist, Nodjimahkwe, thus falling heir to the traditional knowledge of the plant world among her people. The native peoples of America actually believe that there is an herb to meet every possible need. The word PUH-POH-WEE is an old Algonkian term that means 'to swell up in stature suddenly & silently from an unseen source of power.' It is particularly suitable when referring to fungi. The Ahnishinaabeg can find a potential PUH-POH-WEE in their ancient cultural heritage. This is a book about the harmony of tribal life in which Keewaydinoquay weaves the medicinal uses of fungi with tales from her own life. Keewaydinoquay is well-known in medicinal circles & tribal organizations in the Lake Michigan & Lake Superior area, also having connections with institutions interested in the anthropology & history of that area. She has a Master of Education degree from Wayne State University. She is the only resident on Miniss Kitigan in Lake Michigan, where some hundreds of her people once lived. (Miniss Kitigan is the northern-most island of the Amikogenda archipelago.)

Keewaydinoquay Peschel was born around 1919 and died on July 21, 1999.

Other information about Kee:

A list of her books from

A contrary view of the material on this tape:

Open to listen to the tapes.