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Have with us to be in our class women studies. My dear Ont. Trieste dear. Westbrook. She was born and raised on the Menominee Indian Reservation in northern Wisconsin and has lived there her entire life. She has done some traveling to explore the outside world and as she said earlier today she did get out of the woods. She's visited her daughter who was in the army and her daughter's family in various places around the country in Texas and Virginia and Washington and. Has a great curiosity about everything about her. From my earliest memories of my aunt Teresa I remember her. Being at home with children around her. She had. One son my cousin Earl but. Many.
Young children always in her home. My other cousins the neighbors children people from. Other areas on the reservation. She graduated from the Mission School on the reservation and has taken courses that were offered up there at the time. She has now in recent years. Been involved with the young children in the school system. Telling them stories and mists and traditions of the Menominee people. She has also participated in the woodland Indian series and so is custom to me. Her niece calling her and getting her into different projects. She enjoys her trips down to the university because it gives us a chance to visit and catch up with what's
going on in various people's lives and also to meet and talk with students at the university. So I'm very happy to. Present to you today. Three said they're Wescott. My dear aunt. Who is now a tribal elder past 70. Can you start out by telling us something about your early life on the reservation. Well I was born on the. Edge of the river to be near the tone clone. My mother and father lived Delta and they had a piece of land why they had raised ponies and horses. You know I'm in love at the time. And then them and they moved over there. It they had different places they lived in the mix. I own Menominee town and kachina. And when I was school age they they put me in a mission
school and Kachina the nuns were teaching there and then they had many had many children to look after they had maybe all of the nice and well there were 200 of time and it was called industrial school because they'd caught the children fall to do all things. Nope not all at once you know like different wonder we're told cut wood and it was some Franciscan priests and brothers who were there to help them. Then the girls were taught to work in the kitchen and learned how to cook. I learned how to clean and then though part of the day we went to school and that's where my school days were half of the time I worked and have that time I went to school and then at an early age my mother died.
I must have been about 11 or something with that and my youngest one sister or two on two years old. So my mother my father had quite a hard time with us because neighbors lived far apart. No one near neighbors that you could see have to go get him to have to bully them to get somebody to want to the kids and my father and of their yard trying to raise us kids and finally he had to give up and take us to them. Mission School which was a very good thing because a MEMS did whatever they could to help the children. So today I still have a mother friends from there. I write to them and they write to me so they keep in touch after these many years. Then one day. Reach the eighth grade. I knew I had to get home and help my dad but he told me if you're of age you know you can go all of whom
earn something for yourself. I didn't like to do that I was afraid. But it happened I knew some people from the school and I told them that I was going to leave home and overworked that I got a sister that needs somebody of their own but with their kids so nearby and when I looked and there was that like Titian of that kept their kids I had two little kids and I kept them in and because they were nice people. Then later I went to school and worked other places. And. While different things happened to my them. My family helped my folks out in the woods and then my dad got married a second time. So we were out the woods they talking over me bread outside all the crooked. And then they'd have us all to go pick up medicine and harder to tell of different things that we could
eat. And then days there wasn't so much what you'd call to be sure. Sheldon you know left. We had. Trap something I would close we could fish we need on land and then we cooked outside. And then when we cooked outside the younger girls were told hold the big verbal side you know mix it in there they can do some of that later on we load all the bacon on the on the on the grown on the Until we got by. We didn't have to think about running to the store to get something. We had to prepare it and we had to prove it after we get our medicine and the main thing the white people would I like to remember my people member thought about. Getting rid of their own folks.
They kept their focus and they were almost good to each other. The main thing was to be kind to one another. And then like if somebody's in die and while some family went over there to see if they could take some of the children then they were all like a big family. And then. It was hours until problem was almost all they could manage. So while we were young we learned how to take care of our clothes and to prepare food and to gather food so we could dry it and the men. When I went and hunted. And it may all of us. There was never a waste of pool don't among learned people. I have people. It was one of the things they had to do is to preserve their food. If you killed a deer you send word all along if you couldn't eat it all up either way the can propound in the center word and the
people came and if they couldn't stay will be divided up the meat. So they feel good otherwise they'd do something with it. Melon no meat went to waste. They all did something about preparing them. Then later they were the ones that was left that this man that killed the bear and the boy killed in the end there was some kind of a lot left and they couldn't use it all. Well they always have some kind of a player or player or something and they've dried the food. They didn't throw it away. They didn't just say well we don't want this and throw it away. Everything was preserved. All it inside was doing some of that to make threads. And he used and the bones that they cooked the old bones some of them did preserve them in a certain way as well nothing could get him. Well that was part of my life that I could see. And then later I got married
had once them and I tried to teach him all the things that are people who know that when he's doing all right no getting along trying to do the things I let me talk to you is a good. Good one to you when it goes in the woods. Look around. He knows in front of you and by ten minutes ago on 20 minutes ago they have to be our people and then you know you don't want that when they don't. Try to help. And there are people who talk. The preserve of the poor woman you don't want to the to the river to the lake and just haul out the patient see how much you could catch. Not not that's not the way of our
people. They only took what they needed to good home cooked it. That's one thing I don't remember my full never drawing fish. We always could get a fish in a time of the seeds and so on. So that with it as far as one thing and then in the fall. When I get old I'll tell you that I got married when doing the Depression it was pretty hard that time a deep depression and despair few people into the can and don't remember that too much but I remember we had a mill up there are a lumber mill and their work was cut down to two or three days depending on home good you could work with the most of them could only work two days or maybe three days. Then you got that paid and you had to hang on to them then well we were like then and we had just one kid with with all the members with the kids come in the one time and we have to feed them in the way. So
after a while. Things got harder to do in the Depression and we did wish for fish and so on my husband and I would walk through the woods trail we knew the trail we'd go get some trolled clean it openly the way and something who would cook somebody in the group by you. But most of the time we just bought a little bit of what we thought would eat it you know and then in the fall it was still hard times and the men would get together and they'd go out and they'd kill some squirrels. Now them up just enough to eat and then they'd get a rabbit. So we didn't ever have to boil them all buy some meat in a you know store they had to get along with what they had.
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Ada Deer's Aunt
Current perspectives on American Indian women
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Wisconsin Public Radio (Madison, Wisconsin)
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Wisconsin Public Radio
Identifier: WPR6.56.T5 MA (Wisconsin Public Radio)
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Chicago: “5; Ada Deer's Aunt; Current perspectives on American Indian women,” 1984-06-17, Wisconsin Public Radio, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 19, 2024,
MLA: “5; Ada Deer's Aunt; Current perspectives on American Indian women.” 1984-06-17. Wisconsin Public Radio, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 19, 2024. <>.
APA: 5; Ada Deer's Aunt; Current perspectives on American Indian women. Boston, MA: Wisconsin Public Radio, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from