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I did my interview on one of my old coworkers who was absolutely amazing.

Her
Name is Shannon Shawanokasic. I asked some of the questions that we answered
ourselves, and some. Enjoy!
What is your cultural heritage and do you identify with that culture?
My cultural heritage is Native American. Menominee to be specific. I am enrolled as a member of the Menominee
Indian tribe of Wisconsin. My native name is Keniahkiw (sounding is Ken u kee) which, in Menominee means Eagle
woman. My last name, Shawanokasic, in Menominee means Southern Sky. I am Eagle woman from the Southern
sky. I absolutely love being Native American. Identity is everything in our culture. After being born, our parents
connect with an elder in our family to ask for a native name for the newly born. The elder has to dream our name. We
have a huge feast after they were granted our name. This is when we are granted our identity within our tribe. Another
big one is our celebrations, called pow wows. This is a time for all of our relatives come together and celebrate life.
We do this by spending alot of time making our "regalia" or outfit. We come together and dance to honor our relatives
gone before us, celebrate new life and give thanks for the life we were granted.
With the Menominee people, we are taught that we all have a special gift thats granted to us at birth. Some find their
gift right away and others spend a lifetime looking for it. I fortunately have been able to identify mine. I was granted
the gift of being able to see things before they
happen. I call them visions.

What are some traditions related to your culture that you follow? (food, music,
holidays, ect.)
As for foods, lol. Yes, I spent many years in the kitchen learning how to make our traditional dishes. These recipes are
not written down and I was taught to pass these recipes down to the next generation of Menominee women as well.
These foods were used to celebrate all occasions in the lives of our people. Weather it was, celebrating life,
remembering those gone before, naming ceremonies or just family get togethers. Some of these
foods I prepared during my life were Wild Rice dish. Wild rice is the prominent food of the Menominee Nation. We
gather it in the Wolf River, parch and winnow it, then finally dance on it. (With clean feet of course) lol. Then it is
cleansed and ready to eat. Another food we often eat is Venison. Our men hunt and fish for many months to gather
enough for winter supply so we can enjoy these foods year round. The list does go one, but I am pressed for time
right now.

What does diversity mean to you?


Diversity, in the dictionary is defined as "a range of different things". Diversity, to me, is a society "identifying" one's
ethnic background and comparing each culture according to American society.

What are some of your values/beliefs?


We, as Menominee people have many beliefs. We believe in respecting our elders. This is a very prominent belief in
our tribe. We as Menominee people take care of our elders differently than American society. As in most situations,
you will see that our elders are mostly cared for in their homes and not in nursing homes. Another strong belief that
we hold sacred is our belief in prayer. In our culture, we believe in one being, we call The Creator. The Menominee
people conduct "sweat lodge's" as our way of connecting our prayers closer to the Creator. We gather at the lodge
and prepare ourselves with all our prayers. after we enter the lodge, we start by each sharing the prayers you are
wanting voiced. All the people in the lodge pray together for all of these prayers as they start bringing in hot rocks
(which we call our grandfathers) to the center of the lodge. We have designated singers in the lodge and all sing
together for these prayers as water is poured over the rocks. Giving it a sauna experience. After four rounds of this
ritual, we are released from the sweat lodge back to the real world. Afterwards, we all gather to have a feast and offer

a plate of food for the prayers we sent. This is a very powerful experience. Its the Menominee way that we pray and
cleanse our souls. Them are just a couple of examples of our beliefs within our culture.

What was your childhood like? School experience?


I was raised and baptized as a young girl in the Catholic religion. As, this was the "normal" American way to carry
ourselves in this society. I went to school in public schools. But, there were times when I got older where I discovered
the Menominee way, through my relatives. It was like a mixed religion to me. I often spoke in closed sessions with the
local preacher to compare and figure a way to live " my culture" along with the Catholic religion. It was more of an
internal struggle for me, belief wise. We come to an understanding that I very firmly believe in and Father Dave
respected from me. I pray alongside river banks as my fore fathers before me. I understood life as a whole at a very
young age and was granted "gifts" to embrace in this life. It seemed a win, win for me. I have dealt with a lot of
discrimination in my younger years, but as I grew older, that seemed to kind of diminish. I believe that Diversity was
becoming more interesting to people rather than feared or seen as a threat to the normal American society.

Does the diversity or lack of diversity where you live affect your values?
In my daily life, I still encounter a lot of diversity. I work in a nursing home in Shawano. Shawano, being a racist
community still. I, myself look beyond the ignorance and embrace people with their own individual personalities.
Society today has come to accept all kinds of races, in most environments. But, there is and always will be the mind
set in me that we, as Menominee people were the first nations people, long before Columbus arrived here. Which,
makes me feel honored and privileged to be a Menominee Native American.

Any interesting facts you would like to share? ( I hear you make some fantastic food)

I hope this helps you in your report. Some things I cannot share, but I have given you my perspectives in your
questions.