Tashina Lee Emery
Clearing of the sky cloud woman. Misanaquadikwe.
I was given this name when I was a baby, like a baptismal name. Over the years I have begun to embody this name, I am the one who can clear up a cloudy day. My optimism comes from my upbringing on a small Upper Peninsula reservation. I have existed on the edge of two worlds all of my life: the white community outside my reservation and the Native American community in which I was raised that faces the oppression of passed down generational trauma. Growing up native, but with fair skin, I was able to navigate through both the communities that surrounded me. However, I was always aware of the hardships faced by my community. But my mother always taught me “everything will always work out” and “to take one step at a time.” With this optimism, I have taken the positive aspects of my culture and transformed them into art. I want clear the clouds in this sky.
I am fascinated by post-colonization and how it has influenced Native American arts. Merging beads, leather, and quills with the use of metal, plastic and other new world materials. I use my roots to tell my story of a blending of two worlds. As women with many visions, my storytelling encompasses multiple medias, always striving for the simple beauty in my backyard, in my all my work, my photography, and style, favoring timelessness and simplicity.
I started creating art as a young girl in a studio with an elder, who taught me not only how to bead the traditional way. She taught me the love for the process. We would stay up late and get lost in the size 11 Delica beads, discussing life. I will never forget those moments of excitement and the rush to get my regalia done before powwow.
Tashina Lee Emery Designs is a one-woman operation fashioning one-of-a-kind art straight from a small Upper Peninsula Reservation. Tashina creates contemporary aesthetics influenced by her indigenous roots, the natural world, and a fascination of post-colonization. TLE originals fabricated by her hand is unmistakably her own, purposefully raw, lasting and hold an overwhelming presence of history and spirit. Tashina Lee Emery is an Online Boutique sharing Indigenous Style, Designs, and Storytelling.
I realized after leaving my home so many times that where I come from is most beautiful place in the world. I am Miss Keweenaw Bay Native American Princess of 2008, Professor Emery, Tribal Health Clinic Grant Coordinator, a small town Upper Peninsula Yooper - who graduated from the University of Michigan. I want to focus on the unique individual I am and let culture, identity, race, privilege represent an influence, be a source of empowerment, not a definition. I will keep on clearing clouds in the sky.