The forced integration of millions of natives is a truth that their descendants have come to know and deal with. My history of assimilation and my grandfathers forced boarding school experience at the Carlisle School is not unique. The feelings that have been passed down are now part of our collective genetic heritage. My current studio work deals with my ancestor's many stories of assimilation. For this body of work, it was necessary to choose a new medium and material from which to begin to bridge these abstract ideas and bring them into concrete forms.
The ceramic body represents the idea of craft that would have been passed down to me by my ancestors, were their way of life and well-being not purposely divided and conquered. To ancient peoples, clay was a means of survival; here I purposely use it to signify survival that continues, despite the Dawes Act and the assimilation practices that occurred. The encaustic material on its surface is replicating my Ojibwa heritage with its beadwork patterning and birch bark "bitten" notations. I chose to start building the traditional coil pots made my by ancestors as a way of honoring what came before. In my studio practice, honoring history is important, for necessary change does not happen intentionally unless one does so.