WWU to Celebrate Native American History Month with Speakers

The couple who helped introduce a fictional Anishinabek Nation community into the comic strip “For Better or for Worse” will be at William Woods University tomorrow (Nov. 9) in celebration of Native American History Month.

“For Better or for Worse” is published daily in more than 2,000 newspapers (including The Fulton Sun and The Columbia Tribune) in 22 countries in eight languages.

The internationally acclaimed comic strip is created by author/artist Lynn Johnston, but she credits her friends Perry and Laurie McLeod-Shabogesic with the creation of Mtigwaki (“land of trees”). It is the community in northern Canada where the comic strip character “Elizabeth” teaches.

The hour-long presentation by the McLeods will be held at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow (Nov. 9) in Cutlip Auditorium of the McNutt Campus Center. The event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by WWU’s Multicultural Affairs Office.

Perry McLeod-Shabogesic is an artist, journalist, and creator of the Baloney and Bannock cartoon seen regularly in the Anishinabek News. He works as a community liaison officer for the Anishinabek-Ontario Fisheries Resource Centre.

He has been a cartoonist/artist, writer, traditional helper, medicine harvester and cultural resource person in and around his community for many years. Perry’s spirit name is “Aandzooked,” which means “Teller of sacred stories” in Ojibway. He is also a Thunder Pipe Carrier.

Laurie is a seamstress and master bead worker, who spends much of her time perfecting her techniques and passing what she has learned onto her children and others through workshops and classes.

As a cultural resource person, Laurie is called upon to facilitate many events throughout the Anishinabek territory. She has received a number of grants through the Ontario Arts Council to conduct traditional Ojibway craft workshops to help keep the “old ways” alive.

She is the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Program coordinator for the Union of Ontario Indians. Previously she worked as a career development officer, cultural coordinator, writer/photographer and newspaper editor.