I had the opportunity to meet Monica in person at the Charlie Russell Artweek earlier this summer. She is as sweet in person as she is online, we giggled and laughed while talking about art, music, and movies. As soon as I saw 'Agnes' I knew she belonged in the shop. We love that we get to see Agnes everyday. Who is Agnes? Well I asked Monica to tell me about her and this is what she had to say.
"Agnes is from the Flathead Reservation and she is from the Salish tribe. In the mid 70s she started a culture camp and the culture camp is teaching traditional salish techniques; how to bake camas bulbs, tan hides, how to gather. This camp is still going to this day. This was something that was outlawed back in the day; we were not allowed to practice a lot of our traditions or have ceremonies. Agnes knew how to do all of these traditions and she was basically like, 'I want to pass it on to other people'."
Monica continues to tell me that the National Archive came out to take photos and interview Agnes, which we have linked below.
"This is during the 70s and Agnes just kind of wanted people to go back to the traditional ways. There is a recording and she says things like, 'It's hard for the spirits to talk to you because now we live in houses and not tipis anymore ." So she was really a traditionalist and did important work in teaching people what we had already known for centuries that were eventually outlawed. Even when she first started there were people and family members who said things like 'nobody is going to come' and questioned why she was doing it. Her response was, 'well I have to do it anyway'. "
Agnes is Monica's relative and you can hear her passion for Agnes and her work not only through her storytelling but obviously her artwork. Agnes is the Auntie we all know and love, we hope you love her too.