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My Great Grandmother's Story...

Union Star Life Teachings Lodge strengthens my connection to family, land and community acknowledging my great grandmother, Maggie Wilson through my grandfather Albert Wilson (Maymaageegawbo-iban) and daughter to Allen Wilson (Ogimaaginew).

In September 1918, Maggie Wilson, a Scots-Cree visionary at Manitou Rapids, Ontario (near International Falls, Minnesota), organized a new jingle dress dance, according to directives she received in dreams over the previous four years. Called the Union Star Dance, it quickly gained popularity because it gave people a special way to pray for the safety of their soldier-relatives serving in the war. This ceremony engaged community members for up to four days each spring and fall when the thunderbirds frequented. 

It featured dancers in cloth jingle dresses or ziibaaska 'iganagooday (ziibaaska'igan = jingle + agooday = dress) who danced to special songs that re-enacted dreams by Maggie Wilson and others...

By 1926, Maggie Wilson had disbanded the Union Star Dance, which lost its war-related purpose and she was forgotten.

‘This would be a new war dance. People were glad to help and join the dance,’ she recalled. So she began to teach the people the dance she called the Union Star Dance... (p. xxxix)

‘....about 4 years ago [c. 1928) we turned Christian. So we gave up the dance. We laid all the furnishings in the bush to rot. But I still dream of the Thunders and I do not think they are angry at me for having quit.’ (Rainy River Lives: Stories Told By Maggie Wilson)




Bebaamichiwebiik (iban)


My Grandmother

Annie Wilson

From The Woman Recreated Mosaic Project (2013) Queen's University Human Rights Office. Artists from Queen's and across the world came together to create two mosaic paintings based on an original work by Leo Yerxa. 

Each mosaic consists of 72 individual paintings.

"It was my grandmother's love and encouragement to stand up and share the Anishinaabe teachings which helps me to continue the work she began and taught me to live in that good way as Anishinaabekwe (Anishinaabe woman)."

I am determined to ensure our Anishinaabe way of life and way of being, as remembered by our ancestors is remembered in the future.

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