Marge Bekins is a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. She focused on art while she was in high school, where she received awards for her art. After graduation, she worked in the automobile industry until she was involved in an accident that damaged her neck and back. Due to her injury, she was unable to work at the automobile factory, at which point she discovered Black Ash Basket Making and has been making baskets ever since. She studied the art under Charles Shedawin, who learned it from his late wife. Bekins now continues to pass along the tradition through teaching children in Grand Haven, Michigan.
Traditionally, the black ash holds great significance due to its role in the legend of black ash basket making. According to the story, Black Elk was a man who recieved a vision from the Creator. He was told that when he died, a tree would grow out of the ashes from his cremated body . From this tree, his people could prepare strips to create baskets, teaching them patience and also giving them a way to provide for their families through selling and trading the baskets. This sacred art along with its story has been passed along from generation to generation.