Background: Informant is a 19 year old college student. They grew up in Minnesota and have lived there until college, where they relocated to Los Angeles. The informant says that this is an indigenous story that they learned in school about why the Minnesota state flower is called the lady slipper flower.”
Informant: There was a girl, and she had these special slippers. And they were beautiful and made for her. But she was told to go and deliver these slippers and she had to like, go very far away and all the seasons went by, and in the winter no one would help her, so she got stuck with the slippers in this field and she like, died with the slippers there. But they were like, magical or something? And so like, the slippers were in the snow where she died, and then in the spring they thawed into the ground and a flower grew from them. And that flower was the lady slipper flower. And then it was like, a memorial of her journey.
Me: Where did you hear this for the first time?
Informant: This is definitely incorrect, but in my Elementary school when we were talking about Minnesota state history.
Reflection: My informant mentioned that this story was told to them in school. They made sure to mention that they are not indigenous themselves, but it is an example of how cultures intermix when colonization occurs. This indigenous story has made its way into American culture, with the state flower of Minnesota being inspired by an indigenous story. It’s interesting how when nation-states are created, they sometimes borrow from the indigenous groups they steal from. It’s an unfair, odd phenomenon where the nation-state will pull from native folklore to honor their culture, but walk all over their land and disrespect their humanity.