Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Legacy of Endurance

Lisette was a woman of endurance. She made an epic transcontinental journey while pregnant and nursing a newborn, as well as caring for two young daughters throughout the canoe trip. She bore fourteen children, ten surviving infancy, and outlived all but one. She was a devoted and beloved mother, and a "fair partner" all her days.

Lisette's patient, listening ear and keen eye for detail live on in her work. Harmon's journal, edited by the Rev. Daniel Haskell, includes a Cree dictionary that was made correct "by making the nice distinctions in the sound of the words, as derived from her repeated pronunciation of them."

Lisette's one surviving artifact is a quillworked leather shot bag in the Bennington Museum, acclaimed by art historians and anthropologists as one of the finest surviving examples of its genre. The stitches are tiny and close-set, the vegetable dyes rich and bright, the leather fine and supple, and the design exquisite. One can only imagine how many long summer days on canoe trips, and harsh winter nights from the Rockies to Vermont and MontrŽal, found her sewing by the fire, attentive to her task.

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