What happens when a family decides to devote themselves to creating a more healing world and gathers materials from nature and engage their own creativity to make toys for children by children? What if this is part of bringing into reality a vision of community healing the harm of generations of trauma experienced by First Nations people? What if the busy parents ask for assistance from a local church group, and a group of elder women joins in?
In October of 2019, some of those Elders from the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Bozeman, “Kaalas” in the language of the Crow, brought us to the home of Drs. of Education Megkian and Shane Doyle, where we were welcomed by four of their five children: 6 year old twins, Blake and Quanah, 9 year old Lillian, and 11 year old Ruby. They shared with us their vision of the Family Healing Center, and why they created The Native American Children’s Toy Company.
Every 10th toy the children make is given to a Native American child currently in foster care with this letter: “…. No matter what happens, you will always have a home and a homeland with your people…”
Megkian (center), Quanah (left) & Blake (right) write words in English & Crow on stones to create “Story Stones”. Players pull stones from a bag & then make up stories from them. Kaalla, Ita Kileen, in the background works on a hoop for “Sticks & Hoops”.
Quanah Doyle works on a project. A bag of “Story Stones” are in front of him.
Lilian (left) & Ruby (right) Megkian (back)
From left to right: Ruby, Brooklyn, Kaalas Robyn Lauster & Kitty Donich (photo by Megkian Doyle)
From left to right: Blake, Lily’s friend, Elizabeth, Lily, Ita Killeen, Kitty Donich in back. (photo by Megkian Doyle)
Ruby (left) & friend, Brooklyn, (right)
Lilian (left) & friend, Lia, play “Story Stones”.
Quanah demonstrates “Stick & Hoop”
Unless otherwise credited, all photos courtesy of Kaala, Robyn Lauster. The family photo at top is by Arnica Spring Rae.
The children’s company email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
This website features some of their original work: https://raisingplaces.org/www.raisingplaces.org/community/aashbacheeitche.html
A recent article about the business incubator: https://thesheridanpress.com/117000/lodge-grass-moves-ahead-with-planned-business-center/