New Exhibit Celebrates the Women of the Big Lake and Their Lasting Contributions to American Indian Arts

Exhibit Women of the Big Lake celebrates the women of the Big Lake and their lasting contributions to American Indian Arts.
Digital image of original artifact.



The Minnesota Historical Society is pleased to announce a new exhibit Misi-zagaa’iganii-ikwewag Women of the Big Lake, opening May 28 at the Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post. The exhibit celebrates and commemorates the lives, achievements and legacies of Mille Lacs Band members Margaret Hill, Maude Kegg, Cheryl Minnema and Batiste Sam.

Women of the Big Lake is a story of adaptation and resilience. Through their work and dedication, these four remarkable women retained cultural practices and values in the face of adversity, while staying connected to their homeland. Through their arts, writings and teachings, their cultural knowledge will be passed onto future generations of Anishinaabeg.

“Having the privilege of learning more about these women and their work with the Minnesota Historical Society, I am beyond thrilled to be able to share their stories and their beautiful work in their home community of Mille Lacs and with site visitors,” said Rita Walaszek Arndt, White Earth Ojibwe, collections outreach specialist, Native American Initiatives at the Minnesota Historical Society. “Our grandmas, moms and aunts have influenced us in many ways, and this exhibit showcases the impact Anishinaabe women have in our communities.”

On Monday, May 30, from 12 noon to 4:30 p.m, the Mille Lacs Band and the Mille Lacs Band Veterans Group will host a Memorial Weekend Powwow at the Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post to honor veterans past and present. Visitors are invited to experience firsthand the excitement and joy of a contemporary powwow and tour the Women of the Big Lake exhibit. The powwow is free, museum admission is required to view Women of the Big Lake.