Josephine Smith is an enrolled member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation and resides on the Shinnecock Territory near Southampton, Long Island. Josephine has been an educator at the Shinnecock Nation Museum, the Shinnecock Indian Education Program and currently serves her nation as the Cultural Resources Department Director. As an indigenous cook, artist of Native American regalia, crafts and jewelry, dancer and educator, Josephine also created her own business, Hands of Tradition. She only sells art and items made by her immediate and extended family of Shinnecock tribal members and their families.
Josephine is the great granddaughter and great grandniece of Shinnecock whalers and has always been interested in her culture and the ways of her ancestors. Living on the peninsula of the Shinnecock Nation Territory, access is readily available to the gifts from the bay. Clams, oysters, mussels, scallops, and fish provide food, and their shells or bones provide for making jewelry for ceremonies, honoring, gifting, and personal income.
Teaching about respecting the power of the sea, honoring the life that dwells within and utilizing everything we gather is an important value Josephine tries to pass on.