American people, particularly those of the Turtle Mountain Band
of Chippewa, will remember Rose Machipiness Old Eagle Woman Cree
-- Mindimooye Ginew Ikwe -- as a teacher, spiritual guide and a
woman who always did for others.
art world will remember Cree as one of the most skilled and talented
red willow basket weavers in modern times.
passed away Tuesday, surrounded by her children and grandchildren
in her home in Dunseith, N.D. She was 82.
and her husband Francis began weaving baskets back in 1965.
this culture almost died out," she told the Herald in 1989. "I learned
from my mother in 1936. We started picking it up again so it wouldn't
Cree would cut willow branches and shape them to make frames. Rose
Cree did the actual weaving using willow soaked in water. Fifteen
years ago, they sold the baskets for $12 to $125. Today they're
worth much more.
of her red willow baskets are displayed in the Smithsonian in New
York City. Other willow baskets can be found in museums across the
United States, Canada and other countries.
couple were honored with a Governor's Award for the Arts in 1985.
In 2002, they were awarded the National Heritage Fellowship, the
country's highest honor in the folk and traditional arts. The award
included $10,000 for each artist.
Sens. Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad presented them an award for lifetime
achievement in 2003 from the National Endowment of the Arts.
problems left Cree with minimal vision, but she compensated with
excellent hearing, a strong memory and a touch that allowed her
to continue weaving baskets, said Loretta DeLong-Monette, who spoke
for mourners after Cree's funeral Friday.
said Cree was her mentor and spiritual guide.
is a spiritual leader for the tribe. Cree went with her husband
when he traveled, tending to the spiritual needs of the people.
Though she couldn't see, she helped him by remembering names and
information. He didn't need to write anything down. She remembered
for him, DeLong-Monette said.
couldn't see me, but she knew me by my voice and the fragrance of
my perfume," DeLong-Monette said. "I remember when her son was having
problems making a pair of moccasins. Cree took the moccasins and
with her fingers helped him through the problem. She was like that."
be remembered on the reservation as a woman who did everything for
everyone else and little for herself, friends and family say.
was plagued with hip problems that made walking difficult, but,
in spite of her health problems, she would crawl on her hands and
knees into the sweat lodges for ceremonies -- sometimes when it
was 20 or 30 below outside, DeLong-Monette said. Cree would go into
the sweat lodges day after day if someone needed her spiritual guidance.
She also provided guidance and mentoring for women who wanted to
of her greatest loves was traditional dancing. She danced in August
at the "Thirty Dance" (Sundancing). She attended powwows and ceremonies
and danced when she could.
lived a traditional life, raising her 14 children to understand
the traditions of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. She left
a legacy of culture, history and language for her children and the
people at Turtle Mountain.
was born July 21, 1921, to Thomas Machipiness and Pearl Little Boy.
She attended boarding school in Fort Totten, N.D. At 18, she returned
home to the Turtle Mountains. She and her husband were married for
64 years. She had more than 130 grandchildren and great-grandchildren
and five great-great-grandchildren. She had many adopted children.
can't think of her without smiling," DeLong-Monette said.