honors and celebrates elder women, one from each of the 12 Native American tribes in Wisconsin.
These are women who have held families and communities together, and who kept traditions, cultures and languages alive.
This acceptance didn’t last, and as Amal continued her lessons and refused to adhere to the Bedouin expectations for women, she started to face fierce antagonism and violence from those who opposed her social work.
She says that when she was young, she felt the challenges were simply part of her profession.
Included in the exhibit are the 12 portraits, six clan symbols, and four additional landscape pieces that speak to essential connections with the land: maple sugaring, wild ricing, birch bark canoe building and one of a sunrise over water titled .
Tribal members determined who they wished to see honored in this exhibit.
“But when I became a mum, it was a whole different story.
I used to sleep, feeling in my stomach that I can’t handle it anymore – I was so scared, so afraid.
“My parents were both very sad, and my father said to my mother, ‘I promise not to marry with a second wife, but you promise me to give her the name Amal, hoping God will bring us boys after her.’ And five boys were born after me.” Amal is part of the Bedouin community in Israel, which is a strong patriarchy and extremely traditional – when she was young, her tribe lived in tents and with no running water or electricity.
But she says her early years as a sheppard, where she was in charge of 20 sheep, three cows and a donkey, gave her the leadership foundations that she has used throughout her life.