A personal, creative and historic journey spanning three decades reached a cross roads with the recent publication and release of Spirit of the Ojibwe – Images of the Lac Courte Oreilles Elders. The thirty-two elders’ portraits created by Sara are featured in this artistic and historically significant book published by Holy Cow! Press in Duluth, MN. The original oil portraits were supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Wisconsin Arts Board grants and with additional support by the Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Governing Board.

Accompanying the portraits are biographies written by co-authors James R. Bailey and Thelma Nayquonabe, as well as historical essays, photographs, maps and an Ojibwe language glossary. The paintings, stories and photographs tell the personal stories and historical journey of the Ojibwe people in Northwestern Wisconsin.

Following publication, the book received a wonderful review titled ‘Spirit of the Ojibwe’: Essence of an Elder by Chuck Leddy in a special to the Minneapolis Star Tribune on July 14, 2012.

Book Release at Redbery Books in Cable, WI

On June 28, a public reception for Spirit of the Ojibwe was hosted by Redbery Books (http://www.redberybooks.com/) with the gracious hospitality of the Rivers Eatery in the Ideal Market in downtown Cable (http://www.cable4fun.com/).

Friends gather in celebration

In a gathering under sunny skies the Badger Singers Big Drum from Lac Courte Oreilles welcomed a large gathering of friends with awe inspiring traditional songs.

Badger Singers with their Big Drum

Gary Quarderer a spiritual representative from LCO offered a traditional blessing in both Ojibwe and English. A tobacco ceremony united the culturally diverse attendants in a special honor of the elders book publication.

Commentary by grant writer and long time friend, Mimi Trudeau detailed her efforts in acquiring the initial and subsequent National Endowment for the Arts and Wisconsin Arts Board grants to fund the portrait paintings in the early 1980’s. Holy Cow! Press publisher Jim Perlman reflected on the lengthy and most satisfying book publishing journey. Jim gave special memorial tribute for editor and friend John Carr who passed away just prior to the book’s publication. Co-authors Jim Bailey and Thelma Nayquonabe relayed their experiences of writing the elders biographies.

Finally Sara touched the listeners with her personal stories of meeting James “Pipe” Mustache in Old Hayward many years ago. The friendships between Pipe and the youth and elders of LCO who visited her painting studio at Tony Wise’s Historyland launched the journey to create the images that became the foundation for the historic book.

Sara talks of her elders painting and book journey

The gathering was quite special for all those in attendance who celebrated the preservation of the people, stories and traditions of the Anishinaabe, the original people of Lac Courte Oreilles.

Honored Cable elders review the elders book

Duluth Art Institute portrait display and book reception

On Monday July 16, a Spirit of the Ojibwe elders portrait showing and book reception was held at the Duluth Art Institute. DAI curator Anne Dugan was most gracious in her hospitality as Sara, publisher Jim Perlman and Ojibwe Elder John Anderson presented their perspectives to the dozens in attendance. The well received reception was centered on a gallery showing of twelve of the original Lac Courte Oreilles Elders paintings that continues until September (http://www.duluthartinstitute.org/current-exhibitions/current-exhibitions ).

Portraits hanging in the Duluth Art Institute

Following Anne’s gracious introduction, standing next to a slide show of the entire collection of thirty-two paintings, John “Little Bird”Anderson offered a welcoming song accompanied by his hand drum playing. Anderson provided a further introduction of the panelists and later a traditional closing song and story. Of the thirty-two elders portrayed in the Spirit book, Anderson is the sole living elder.

Publisher Jim Perlman, Sara and John “Little Bird” Anderson

Holy Cow! Press publisher Jim Perlman was the next to offer his comments on fifteen year journey to create Spirit of the Ojibwe. His sincerely emotional statement completely captured the audience who were engaged in the story of the books publication. Perlman gave special tribute to Editor John Carr who passed away just prior to the works publication.

DIA Curator Anne Dugan and Sara greet visitors

Sara continued her commentary with the historical background and genesis of the Hall of Elders paintings that led to the Spirit of the Ojibwe book creation. The closing song and dance by Little Bird joined the participants and panelist in celebration of the Spirit of the Ojibwe.

Ordering & Publishing Information

For bookstore orders, please contact: Consortium Book Sales & Distribution, 1-800-283-3572

The book is published by Holy Cow! Press, Post Office Box 3170 – Mount Royal Station, Duluth, MN 55803 www.holycowpress.org

To order directly from Dragonfly Studio contact: Sara Balbin, 46400 Blue Moon Road, Drummond, WI 54832 info@sarabalbin.com

Cost is $28.95 plus Wisconsin sales tax where applicable and $4.00 for USPS shipping.

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