Scenes from the Anishinaabe Art Festival

Scenes from the Anishinaabe Art Festival

Photojournalist and bead artist Jaida Grey Eagle photographs Indigenous artists and their work at a new festival in Bemidji, Minnesota

two women posing together with traditional jingle dresses on display behind them

Artist Jennie Kappenman, a member of the Red Lake band of Chippewa, and her sister, Liz Sargent, pose in front of jingle dresses during the Anishinaabe Art Festival in Bemidji. Photo by Jaida Grey Eagle

For two days in late July, the Sanford Center in Bemidji, Minnesota
, was packed with craft from artists of the Anishinaabe nations of the Great Lakes region. Attendees of the inaugural Anishinaabe Art Festival were treated to a rich array of handmade items, many for purchase; basketry and beading demonstrations; sessions on making hand drums and jingles for jingle dresses; discussions of literature and ribbon skirts; traditional foods; and music and dancing. One of the highlights was a gorgeous contemporary fashion show featuring the work of Indigenous designers.

With its many contributors, supporters, and attendees, the festival was a community effort that flexed the economic muscle of craft while showcasing the immense beauty created by regional artists. As organizers wrote on the event website, “Our art is a part of our everyday lives, it is who we are. These creations are a powerful tool carrying our message; sharing our stories, dreams, and struggles. They provide a record of our history and a view into our future.”

Photos by Jaida Grey Eagle.
Jaida Grey Eagle is an Oglala Lakota artist who currently lives in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is a photojournalist, producer, beadwork artist, and writer. She is a member of Women Photograph, Indigenous Photograph, and the 400 Years Project. | @jaida.greyeagle

Keep up on happenings in the craft world through our newsletter

Sign up to receive our Craft Dispatch, a curated dose of exciting events, opportunities, and content from our community delivered to your inbox each month.

Sign Up


Special Thanks to Our Sponsor

minnesota state arts board and clean water land and legacy amendment logos

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.