International Women’s Day 2021: Maggie White

by Braden Murray

International Women’s Day 2021—

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we are highlighting the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of Kenora area women.

Maggie White c1980s

The story of the origin of the Anishinabe jingle dress is the story of Maggie White of Naotkamegwanning First Nation (formerly known as Whitefish Bay First Nation).

“When I was a small girl, I was born sickly. I was always ill as a child, then when I was eight years old I was given this dress. This dress, I was told, was special and it was made for me. I was given this dress by my grandfather. After this dress was given to me I began to feel better. I wasn’t sickly anymore…”
(Translated by Rhonda White)

It was Maggie grandfather, Pinasse, who made the dress for her. Throughout his life, he had had a vision of a dress decorated with shiny cones that made a distinctive sound. Songs, dances and ceremony also came with the dress through this vision.

The jingle dress is a healing dress and continues to be made and worn by women today, not just in the Lake of the Woods area but literally across North America.

Photographer unknown

Did you know?

Both the Hudson’s Bay Company and the Northwest Company operated on the Lake of the Woods, and would often sabotage each others equipment at portage sites.

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