About the Blogger

Taanshi, Kai dishinihkaashon (hello, my name is Kai). I am a Métis/Anishinaabe and Polish-American undergraduate student majoring in First Nations Studies. I grew up in northeastern Wisconsin, where my mother’s ancestors settled in the mid-1800s and my father’s ancestors have lived as far back as written records exist and beyond. I have family connections to Polish communities in northeastern Wisconsin and Chicago and Métis communities around Green Bay, Michimilimackinac, Sault Ste. Marie and Winnipeg.

I’ve been fascinated by history for as long as I can remember, and equally as long I’ve been frustrated by the way many historical texts talk about my ancestors and indigenous people in general–which is how this blog came to be. I am also very interested in languages (particularly endangered and indigenous languages), and am in the process of learning several languages from my heritage, namely Michif, Ojibwe, and Cree.

Despite a lifelong interest in history, I’m still new to the world of formal history writing, so please bear with me as I continue to learn both history itself as well as its presentation.

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21 thoughts on “About the Blogger”

  1. I have been working on a list of métis bloggers and would like to add your blog to a list of links on my blog: http://www.metisraconteur.com
    Please contact me at: susanlgreig at gmail.com
    Thanks, Susan

  2. Michael said:

    I am from the city just outside of the reserve that your headliner picture is taken. Some info on that picture would benefit your blog.

  3. Matthew Vett said:

    You’re doing an excellent job!

  4. Great blog!

    Can I give some requests for future entries?
    1) I’d like to hear about the languages you’re learning and your experience learning them.
    2) It seems to me there are a couple of different schools of thought about what the best future would be for Indigenous people. What are those futures?

  5. for further reading and indigenous studies in america, you might want to look into Hawaiian history and studies on Hawaiian native revival movements, land rights, and preservation of culture. Not only is it interesting in and of itself, but the link between north western indigenous people and Hawaiians have a rich history of exchange following the post-european influence via logging, fishing, and other industires.

  6. excellent blog!

  7. Hi! You’re blog is really interesting and thoughtful!

    I’d be curious to know your perspective on the use of Native American iconography by groups such as the Boy Scouts of America since these sorts of depictions have shaped many people’s perception of Native peoples. Do you know if any Native American groups have officially endorsed the BSA’s use of these symbols?

  8. Gian Atam Kaur said:

    Migwetch! I read this blog on FB, and have been searching for it ever since. I am homeschooling a nine and twelve year old. Your blog made me question my sources for th history of the world. I will research the listing that you have given, and we usually begin with the creation stories of an area, but I have trouble finding sources from the creation stories to pre European invasion. Do you have any suggestions? please keep writing…your voice is so needed! PS. I share your Polish heritage from Chicago area.

  9. Yay fellow UChicagoan! I’m drawing a webcomic about Squanto (tisquantumcomic.com), and I’m having a hard time finding good visual sources, especially of patterns and designs in the Wampanoag area — I keep getting Iroquois confederation stuff. Would you have any ideas of where to start looking?

  10. Jennifer said:

    I just wanted to thank you for this blog and add some words of encouragement, for whatever it’s worth. Specifically, to say that your writing is beautiful: it’s clear, authoritative, and compelling.

  11. Wendy Lutzke said:

    Kai,
    I would like to use the following part of your blog entry in a River History Guide pamphlet for the community of Manitowoc.

    So by the mid-1600s, Wisconsin was basically one enormous refugee camp. The Ho-Chunk and Menominee, who had lived in Wisconsin before the refugees came, found themselves swamped and vastly reduced (also the Sauk and Fox seem to have migrated west to Wisconsin before the massive exodus but they were a larger tribe). Things such as tribal territory boundaries became more or less nonexistent. Around modern Green Bay and in numerous other locations, enormous intertribal villages existed; there was basically nowhere you could point to where there was only a single ethnic group living.

    It is well written and will help people understand. Can you please let me know if I have permission to quote you?

  12. I would like to add your site to the “sites often visited” linklist on my site http://www.philpaine.com .I would also to keep in touch and follow your progress as a historian and linguist. There’s a paper of mine on one aspect of métis history that might be useful to you — “The Hunters Who Owned Themselves”, available through Academia.edu at https://independent.academia.edu/PPaine. If you can’t download it, then contact me at phil@philpaine.com, and I’ll send you a copy.

  13. Hmmm….Metis??? Sorry, but I’m suspicious.

  14. Kai, I hope you are still attending to this blog. I am a 67 year old independent researcher and volunteer at an Indian museum and I have had the exact same wish as you–to create that book from an Indian perspective. I started thinking and outlining it and by serendipity stumbled across your blog. Don’t know if you are still there, but would be great to collaborate and see what can be done!
    Barbara Johnson

  15. Did you grow on Indian land? Why were you not taught your language when growing up? Like the Spanish teach Spanish first then English or Sweden’s. Also, does Canada look at the percentage of Native American’s DNA like the US tribes do or the US?

    I am curious about your background, but understand if you wish not to talk about it. Also, I might be interested in reading more but for the chip on your shoulder. There’s mass anger toward ‘white people’, but I am white and it was not my choices nor sins that took Indian’s lands. Just makes me wonder how old you are.

    Anyways…it’s interesting to say the least.

    • Why was I not taught my language growing up? Because my grandmother was forcibly taken from her parents and put into foster care so she would be raised like a white child. Because the United States and Canada’s policy from the late 1800s through the mid1900s was to assimilate indigenous children by taking away as much of their culture as possible. As a result many young Native people today don’t know much about our heritage.

      Canada does not do blood quantum like the US does, instead there are Status and Nonstatus Indians. Metis people don’t do blood quantum at all because it makes no sense for us as a people of mixed origins.

      I have to say, I am surprised that you think I have a chip on my shoulder towards white people–I’m of white heritage myself and I have no bad feelings towards that part of my family. I’m not interested in shaming white people for the things their ancestors did. However, it is important that we recognize that those things did happen and they have an effect on all of us, Native, white, or any other race. We need to acknowledge the continuing problems in Indian country and the continuing prejudice that many white people still have towards Native people. I grew up in a border town and I’ve seen firsthand how that prejudice still exists. I’m sorry you feel that my writing is too inflammatory towards white people. You may want to try to learn more somewhere else and come back when you are ready.

  16. Lelou Arsenault said:

    This is a great article. I would like to speak to you outside of this public blog if possible. I am Metis. Thank you, Lelou Arsenault

  17. Scott Spoolman said:

    I’m glad I found your blog! I’m writing a book on the geology and natural history of Wisconsin and want to include the deeper story about Native American history to the extent that I can given space limits. I will not spend a lot of time on European-American history but hope to give Native American history a good introduction at least, because to me, it is more a part of natural history than is European “settlement” of the land. Your perspective could be invaluable. I hope you will not mind my using some of your material, but I can certainly let you know what I am using if you wish and will give you whatever credit you desire.

  18. Brian Parkinson said:

    Could you call me, I’m doing some research on what is called the Military Indian Trail from Rock Island, Illinois to Oquawka Illinois which in later years frequented by Keokuk and Black Hawk .

    I want to get my history as right as possible.

    In the Fall I want hike and camp the whole thing , maybe you know of a couple of indigenous people interested in coming with. It might take the better part of a week.

    The trail cuts across land that I farm. Very few people today have any idea that they have a ten thousand year old trail that once crossed their property.

    This is my summer project, researching and getting permission to hike on the trail.

    Google Haughberg Military Indian Trail

    Brian Parkinson

    309.737.4579

  19. I would like to talk w you, I’m doing some research of the Military Indian Trail, just google that plus Blackhawk, it should give you some good info if you don’t already know about it.

    But we should talk all the same, my email is

    Parkwb56@gmail.com

  20. This is an excellent project! Do you know of this book, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz?

    I direct an MFA program at Goddard College and am co-facilitating an on-line seminar on Decolonial and Indigenous Art Praxis. I’d like to speak with you about a symposium we are planning for March 2017. Jupong.lin@goddard.edu.

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