Lucie Skjefte Shares Minnetonka Collaboration Details

The Anishinaabe artist discusses her Thunderbird Design partnership with the footwear brand.
Photography: Minnetonka



Lucie Skjefte has been an artist all her life. With a background in graphic art, design, and advertising, Lucie is no stranger to the design process of large brands like Minnetonka.

Minnetonka is a Minneapolis, Minnesota, moccasin brand that has been designing and selling Native-inspired footwear since the 1940s. Since its debut, Minnetonka has taken quite a few positive steps forward, including giving back to Indigenous organizations, redesigning its logo, and collaborating with Native artists on limited edition lines and staple pieces.

In addition to her artisan background, Lucie received her bachelor’s degree in advertising and began working for a local non-profit in Minnesota as their marketing director. Minnesota Fund helps provide community education on topics like real estate, financial planning, and more.

Behind the meaning of the redesign of the Thunderbird collection stands Lucie’s son, Animikii. In Ojibwe, his name translates to “Thunderbird” or “The One Who Throws Thunder.” Animikii, a talented football player, resembles the name and meaning perfectly as he can throw a football over 100 yards.

Similarly, she focused on how the name resonated with her and tied into her culture, family, and personal story. She wanted to redesign the old symbol into one that represented her and her son, so she drew extreme detail to the wingspan and tail of the bird featured within the design.

Lucie shared her hopes for the future with us, as she was very excited about the collaboration and the meaning behind the design and partnership.

“My hope and dream is that this collaboration continues to create a continuation of empowering our people and reinforce the embracing and reclamation of our stories and our artistic expressions as pathways towards healing, inspiring, and connecting with other people. I hope that this partnership continues to give us a platform for our voices to be heard, that our perspectives are understood, and that our collective contributions are acknowledged. We’re able to do this and achieve that by dismantling the historical barriers while replacing them with equitable opportunities for growth.” – Lucie Skjefte, 2024.

The new Thunderbird collection includes three women’s styles, one men’s style, and two children’s styles. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Mni Sota Fund, an urban Native CDFI selected by Lucie that helps Native Americans in Minnesota get training and capital for home ownership and entrepreneurship. With so many colors and styles available, it’s hard to pick our favorites! Here are some of our most-loved designs.

To view Lucie’s collection, click here. To see Lucie’s Minnetonka artist page, click here. To view Adrienne Benjamin’s collection, another Native designer working with Minnetonka, click here.

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