About Crystal

I wanted to be a graphic design artist since I was 12 years old. Until I was a junior in high school; when I realized even though I may love art and it is my forte it won't help my people in the way I want. I realized going to school to become an educated artist was kind of really selfish. I love my people and I'm sick of the injustices we still face today. Law has always intrigued me and law is the new battlefield.

l;,;mlToday we were filling up our spreadsheets with the data we collected. So many little boxes! hahaha, but last weeks trip to Duluth was very successful. Found a lot of very helpful articles that I emailed myself. I spent my day at the university buried in books. Most of the books I was interested in were books titled like “how to educate Indians”, the readings were essays and reports dating after the Merriam report. Lets just say my brain is whirling with so many questions. Here’s some pictures of my weekend though. I went to go see Three Days Grace and 3 doors Down. 3Doors Down headlined but I must say Three days Grace should have headlined. They were on stage for twice as long as 3 Doors Down. Not to mention they have the crowd going! I was yawning (literally) when 3 Doors Down took the stage. They played a couple of their old songs which was awesome. I wasn’t feelin’ their new music though. That kwe’s hair though! I miss my colorful hair so much! bleaching your hair really messes it up though, and after 6 years of having colorful hair I stopped. Here’s a few photos of the night. Those photo bombs tho. lol

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Here is a picture of the canopy I took while I was messing with the fisheye lense. I took this picture because the two tree’s swirling around towards the center reminded me of the symbol for friendship/brotherhood in Hopi.


Open Minds

Well I’m sitting here at UMD. Its about 6pm. I’ve been here for a while. Reading over these case materials and studies sure has left me with more questions than answers. I’m reading 50+ year old materials and I cannot help but think how people’s viewpoint today about Native american intelligence is still the same. ([ Unlesss it is modernized it will never be accepted ] The quest for greater knowledge, requests the respect of knowldge in all of its forms. Otherwise your quest has stopped.)  They used many tests that they have procured within their own culture and applied it to us. When we “failed” in the standardized tests they gave us drawing tests, a test that ‘doesn’t envolve a language barrier’. The culture barrier is there though, and it still is here today.

Dr. Ren at the Tribal College


We are presenting to Dr. Ren today. This is the same presentation that we showed you last week. I felt a lot more comfortable and felt more at ease presenting, I feel because I was given more time to go further into depth on my viewpoints. I cant wait to go to UMD tomorrow to raid their library.

WELL. Today is recon day for me. I went to Duluth on Friday to make use of UMD’s library, but I TOTALLY forgot about how bad the storm tore up Minnesota and it was closed. How stupid of me. Had fun out in the field ill post pictures later! I’m sure you can read my other teammates post about hunting for worms today. So far I have about 8 books and a couple of articles to go over. decided to stay in Duluth Wed-Friday to get all of my Law research done.


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Anotha’ One (hehe get it? Dj Kaled)

untitled122Yes it is another post about how bad the humidity is. It feels like we’re walking thru water, airs so thick feels like you can barley breath. Help. So yes we are in the lab today working on our papers, our posters, as well as putting the finishing touches on our presentation tomorrow for you beautiful people thru the video chat tomorrow.

Off to our undisturbed site:

Today whist trekking the road to our new site, I saw a bear eating raspberries on the side of the road. (pictured above)  It was a very close encounter, but we’re all safe. Hahaha jk but I really did see a bear on my way into work this morning. There was a tree down on the road that lead to the site(so I decided to pose with it) so we had to park and venture on foot. The bugs at this site were absolutely HORRIBLE, and we were only walking on the road. Not 6very excited right now about that part but hey, science maaan. To be honest my favorite part about my internship is the stories I get to hear, as well as the different medicine plants/ eatable plants I’m learning about. We all carry different knowledge that we have collected over our years in life and its really awesome that we get to learn from each other. The science part is very interesting collecting data and going over it. Never thought I would be an intern for science, you know ’cause I’m planning on going into law school and what not. I’m enjoying my time learning about my homelands ecosystems in a “scientific” way. I say “scientific way” because I know we as anishinaabeg understand these things in our own way that our ancestors passed down to us. It feels like learning how to speak a different language, because I can correlate these “modern ways” to the kjnfbgjknknowledge I already know. The more modern way of thinking kind of trips me out though, nature will always balance it’s self out you just have to let it action is not always required.While on my path of education one of my main focuses will be protecting our ways of life and bringing anishinaabe sciences to light. It time for society to stop seeing our way of life as nothing but myths, legands, and start to see them for that they really are. They are our moral philosophy, they are who we are spiritually, it is our science, and in our stories all are connected. Through the eyes of an anishinaabeg it is a way of life. Not a science, but we live in the modern world and in the modern world everything needs to be documented physically otherwise it is not accepted. So here we are Seven generations later.

Indigenous Research Symposium

wefGoing to this research symposium was a great eye opener for me. I didn’t realize that outside of the native community that anybody really cared about indigenous sciences. Let alone are interested to see how Native Americans specifically connect to the land as well as how we see the connection between everything. The people I had encountered where very open minded and listened to what I had to say. They took notes and incorporated it into their own knowing. I believe I helped change some peoples views on how our culture isn’t just folklore as outside people see it. Our culture is a science, it is a moral philosophy, and it is spiritual. In an indigenous way of thinking all three are connected together as one, because all three of those aspects are being put to use when you are out in the woods gathering. Our teachings have science in them on how to take care of the land; they have a story behind it to teach you about morals, as well has how to go about in a respectful way towards the plants basically connecting with them. Our religion as some would call it, is about respecting the connection of everything and maintaining it. – MCG.

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We’re back!

Well we had a very short week, after our time off for the fourth. We also had Red Lake Nations Independence day on wed. : Thursday and Friday we did go down to the cities though and I will blog about that later we all had an awesome experience!untitled

Presentation on Invasive species

gfgnfnTalking about invasive species this afternoon, and our presenter was talking about he was working an internship in his prior years. He mentioned about how they had to work with local resorts because the state didn’t want to cooperate with the research they were conducting with earthworms. As you may or may not know earthworms are drying up our soil..

This is a small drawing I made while listening to our presenter. Money over matter, capitalism at its finest.

Your Minnesota is showing..


Creating maps, and enjoying the sunshine. Today is a simple one. Unless you GIS is giving you trouble, which mine didn’t. I’m still working on the layouts of my maps. I love learning how to do new things. Even if its just map making or sitting in a psyc class. Overall it is a beautiful day today. I cannot wait until we get to go to the other site we will be working with. After lunch we will be having a presentation on invasive species.


Enjoying the afternoon sun after a long morning of creating maps.

Interpreting Knowledge

untitled3Just another day at the desk. Right now I am comparing the climate and its changes now to different time periods, and right now we are coming out of an ice age. The temperatures are getting hotter and the ice caps are melting. I have noticed these changes happen throughout my life time with the snow for example. When I was a child the snow was sticking by Halloween. Now its starting to come right around Christmas. The world is heating up fast and the glaciers are melting quicker.  We are noticing a difference in blooms with Namepin, Swamp Iris, and Raspberries.

As I am writhing this is has me thinking a lot about not only my Ojibwe teaching but my Hopi teachings as well. Especially about the Prophecy, because in the Hopi Prophecy it tells how if we don’t fix ourselves this world will be ended by flames. This flame could be talking about the consumption of this worlds resources, which we are drying up. It could be nuclear warfare which has been a hot topic for a good minute now. Maybe even natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions, wild fires, or the temperature just continuing to rise with no ice aged in sight to replenish the earth where we’ll end up dried up like Mars. What ever this flame is it can be changed instead of to engulf the world, it would send us into another Ice Age and life will continue. This earths life all depends on us as one community of all the people, red, white, yellow, and black.

untitled2Well since I didn’t blog yesterday I will start off with that. We took plant sampling, as well as population data. While we were picking the area for all the different we found a few species that we weren’t to fond of seeing in the area. Like this raspberry as well as snake berries which are indicative of the soils drying up. What’s causing this drying up of these ponds? Well that’s the mission we are trying to accomplish. Is it the huge storm that disturbed thousands of acres of forested lands? Perhaps it’s the excessive clear cutting the Chippewa National Forest has started a couple years ago, which is disturbing a lot of our swamp areas. Another interesting find I stumbled across yesterday was this group of butterflies all laying dead in the same spot(pictured below). I found two small orange, two medium yellow, and one medium black butterfly. Weird that they all were dead in just that one area along side of the road where we come out of the forest. The day before they wernt present. Today I had a few extra minutes to myself so I took myself and my co-worker(my cousin, we drive in together) to the Lady Slipper Scenic Byway which is also located within the CNF about 15/20 miles away from the site we are working at. It was a very nice way to start out our morning appreciating the general beauty of this land we come from as well as the story that come with this beautiful orchid.




Nu’ Mary  Crystal yan bahaan maatsiwta. Nu’taawa wungwa nit’ makwa indodem. Nu’Moencop’ep kiita nit’ chachabaaning indoonjibaa. untitled

Hello, my english name is Mary Crystal. I come from the Sun and Bear Clan. I am a Hopi/Ojibwe from Moencopi, AZ and Chachabaaning, MN. I personally am not a STEM student. I currently am an Indigenous Leadership major at the Leech Lake Tribal College, but my 4-year degree will be in International Law with a Certificate in Peace and Conflict Studies at CU-Boulder. One thing that drew me to this Namepin (Wild Ginger) internship is part of the reason why I want untitled1to pursue a career in Law. When you view the world through an Anishinaabeg point of view you start to realize that Land is Law. I want to understand the land from a scientific view along side cultural views, and how these two things connect with each other because as we’re taught everything is connected. We have been colleting data and plotting our area in this past couple weeks when the weather allowed us to be out in the field.  As you can see we’ve had some pretty dark thunderstorm clouds roll our way that kept us away from the field, but there’s beauty in everything. Whether your watching a storm come in or your trekking through the swamp and you stumble upon a beautiful Swamp Iris that’s just waiting for someone to fawn over it. I am very excited to see the work you have all been doing and hope you enjoy our work as well. untitled2