File photo by Deb Jacques


Native American cultural ties to the earth to be discussed at Farmington library

By: Sherri Kolade | Farmington Press | Published July 10, 2018

FARMINGTON HILLS — For nearly 30 years, Livonia couple Reg and Marca Pettibone have shared what is near and dear to their hearts with hundreds — if not thousands — of people across the nation.  

Through Native American song, dance and cultural presentations, the duo has taught many about spiritual and cultural ties to the earth, customs and ceremonial clothing. 

They will give a presentation for ages 5 and up on Native American culture 2-3 p.m. July 12 at the Farmington Community Library Main Branch.

They will sing, dance and answer questions, according to the library’s website.

Marca said in an email that the program is presented at schools, universities, libraries and festivals throughout the state and country.  

“The presentation is both very educational and entertaining as we do perform in our traditional beaded regalia, leaving audiences with a better understanding of true native culture through our dances, songs and stories,” she said.  

Marca said that the program consists of Reg, who is a full-blooded Native American from the Ho-Chunk Nation, in Wisconsin; Marca is from the Paiute Nation in Nevada.

“Occasionally, we are accompanied by our two daughters,” she said. 

Marca said that her husband places a strong emphasis on Mother Earth.

“Keeping her clean and healthy for the seventh generation, our children of the future, so they can have a beautiful and clean place to live.”

Laura Scott, head of children’s services at the FCL Main Library, said in an email that she was looking for a cultural program to offer during the April 2016 school break and found Reg and Marca on the Michigan Humanities Council Touring Arts and Humanities Directory. Scott said that the program Reg and Marca will provide this month will be similar to the one presented two years ago.

“I attended the 2016 event. There were 88 people in the audience ranging from age 5 to older adults. They were all attentive, and many expressed gratitude for this program,” Scott said, adding that Reg Pettibone’s presentation discussed close ties to the earth — foraging, cultivating of plant-based food, hunting for meat and more. 

Scott added that Reg discussed the forced migration of North American tribes and the fact that most native people do not live in the geographic location of their ancestors. 

“Libraries across the country offer programs to build cultural awareness. In Farmington/Farmington Hills, there is a big demand for cultural programs because residents in our community represent many different cultures and there is a desire to build bridges through increased cultural understanding,” Scott said, adding that one past attendee asked the Pettibones about Native American marriage traditions and mentioned that, historically, in her culture, marriages were arranged. “Reg explained that in the Native American tradition people freely choose whom they marry, and give away all of their possessions when they marry. This was fascinating.”

Marca said that the program also dispels a lot of myths about Native Americans. 

“Audience participation is also a fun and engaging part of the program for students,” she said. “The program can be designed for any audience age group.” 

The event is sponsored by the Farmington Friends of the Library. Registration is not required. Doors will open at 1:50 p.m., and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. 

For more information, go to www.farmlib.org or call (248) 848-4315.