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Mendhi hands by Pushpa Jain. Photographer unknown. All rights reserved.Fish decoy. Photo by Pearl Yee Wong. All rights reserved.Embroidered dress detail. Photo by Pearl Yee Wong. All rights reserved.Cedar bird by Glen VanAntwerp. Photo by Al Kamuda. All rights reserved.
Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Awards

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Cross and MenefeeSuzanne Cross (master) (left) and Eva Menefee (apprentice) (right)

Menefee beadwork
Detail of beadwork by apprentice Eva Menefee.

Menefee beadwork
Detail of beadwork by apprentice Eva Menefee.

Photos by Emily Langenberg

Suzanne Cross and Eva Menefee
2011 master artist and apprentice
East Lansing, Lansing (Ingham County)
Native American beadwork

Suzanne Cross is a member of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan. When she was eight years old, Suzanne learned to complete traditional beadwork from her mother, Violet C. Jackson Cross and other tribal elders, specifically her aunts Cora Henderson and Lucille Cross. In her beadwork, Suzanne enjoys using traditional Woodland Indian appliqué designs, as well as designs based on the natural flora of the Great Lakes environment. She also studies older Native American pieces housed in museums or the collections of elders for inspiration. Suzanne’s talent for Native beadwork is highly regarded in Michigan. Suzanne’s artistry is on display in multiple locations throughout the state, and she has served as an artist-in-residence for the Ziibiwing Culture Center. Suzanne is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at MSU.

Eva Menefee is a member of the Oneida Tribal Nation of the Thames First Nations. Eva was born and raised in the Detroit area and works in Lansing as the Lead Faculty Advisor at Lansing Community College where she often advises Native American students. During the summer, Eva and her family travel to pow wows and ethnic festivals in the Great Lakes region where they sell traditional Native American food and Eva’s daughter, Maryanne, participates as a fancy woman dancer.

The focus of Eva’s apprenticeship with Suzanne will be beadwork for the dress yoke, leggings, and moccasins of a woman’s fancy dance traditional outfit. These items will be the showpieces of Maryanne’s dance regalia. Both Suzanne and Eva are dedicated to preserving the culture and skills of traditional Native American beadwork and passing on this art form to the next generation.

-Stephanie Wottreng

© 2011 Michigan State University, all rights reserved