Posoh, My name is Marla. Mahkimetas is my last name which means Little Big Medicine Man. I am Bear Clan of the Menominee Nation. Or as we call ourselves Kaeyas Maceqtaw (Ancient Beings/movers). I currently live on the Menominee Reservation.
I initially began my life's work with Tribal communities in Milwaukee at the Spotted Eagle HS as a mentor in 1992. I studied psychology and counseling at MATC earning an associate degree. After obtaining my Bachelors in Social Welfare/Criminal Justice from UW Milwaukee in 1997, I returned home and began work as the Director of Youth At Risk. I took a break from work and toured with NY and CA dance companies traveling abroad. Later, I returned to college to complete another degree in the First Nations Education Doctoral Program at UWGB beginning in 2018.
At home, I began the first Tribal Triathlon of WI in 1997 on our reservation. I also created our first Menominee canoe journey called Omaeqnomenew Maeqtekos Otamaskaw (OMO) and a Menominee canoe race named Mamaceqtaw Maeqtekos Kaecianetowak (MMK). With these cultural events and activities, I have provided opportunities for the community to engage culturally with their identity. Reunification practices within my own personal journey contributes to vital forward movements with family, community, and Nations. Plus, I've learned to role model decolonization practices in an effort to heal. This has been both a challenging and rewarding process on my journey.
My hope for our Native communities is we evolve collectively to a healthier well being and state of mind by acknowledging, valuing, and practicing once again our original instructions as Indigenous people. Then perhaps our colonial visitors may grasp the magnitude of their presence that's led us to embrace our resilience, revivance, and reunification of our culture. It is a long needed shift back to humanitarian, ecological, environmental, spiritual, emotional, physiological ways of being that will bring harmony among all living societies and networking systems. It is a win-win for us all.
What I love most is to venture out with my family and friends. Laughing, canoeing, being in the forest/water/mountains/ocean, weaving baskets/bags, and dancing is my medicine, those are my happy places. There's not much I don't like to do! A final quote I'd like to share is... "I love love." A quote from Lupe, the goat in the movie Ferdinand. Another I live by is... "Pon Ninitah!" (Don't give up!) - Menominee Elder, Sawanukiw (Lavina Shawano, kaeh nap (passed on)). I treasure my visits with the elders and am honored to be entrusted with the responsibility, knowledge and teachings they shared with me, to share with you.