In spite of my well known aversion to flying I did it again. Fond du Lac Follies jetted to Fayetteville, North Carolina.
I passed through the security checkpoint at the Duluth Airport and boarded the airplane for a short hop to Detroit, Michigan. The plane arrived safely and I shuffled off the airplane and did the concourse/gate dance. I checked my ticket and identified my new destination. I began the long hump to my next gate. It was easily a mile away.
The quarter mile tunnel was interesting. The electronic music seemed to match the colors as the ceiling changed. Even with moving sidewalks it is a long way. I was blowing deep breaths by the time I got there. The airplane ride to Atlanta was uneventful, my favoritest kind. Then into a smaller jet for the hop to Fayetteville.
Dr. Jane Haladay met me there. We drove and talked and talked. She gave me a brief overview of the Lumbee people. I felt sad when she told me they didn’t have a tribal language. I guess 400-500 years of colonialism will do that.
We ate and talked some more. After all that travel and jaw jacking I was tired so she took me to the Holiday Express where I became a Holiday Inndian.
The next morning I was given a tour of where the Lumbee people lived. According to the state they are an Indian tribe but they are waiting for Federal recognition. I was taken on a tour by Dr. Linda Oxendine, a retired professor from the University of North Carolina-Pembroke. We drove around and around and looked and looked.
At noon we met with the professors of the Indian Studies Department of the University. We gathered at Linda’s Caf? right on the main drag. I wasn’t very hungry so I just had a slice of banana cr?me pie and coffee.
Mabel, one of the cooks, insisted I eat the pasta soup. She kept pushing for me to eat it because she was proud of her cooking. I had a little trouble understanding her. Her Southern was very southern.
After she left I had to ask the others at the table what she said. Once it was translated I learned she had said that I shouldn’t follow her home because of the pasta soup, because she had a husband there. It was good soup.
In the afternoon I spoke to two classes of Indian Studies students. I began by introducing myself in Ojibwe. I told stories and recited poetry for a bit over an hour then opened the floor for questions. The questions were thought provoking and I answered them as best I could. About this time the Lumbee veterans showed up so I recited poetry for their benefit. I think they appreciated my words because they presented me with a Lumbee Seal and pinned it on my chest. We ate again.
I did a reading for the college community that evening. I was later told that we set a record for how many showed up to hear me. At the end of the veteran’s related poetry a group of Lumbee veterans stood up and lead the standing ovation. I felt like I had connected with the audience.
Later that evening we had a meal prepared by Dr. Haladay, and Dr. Rose Stremlau was there with her musical laugh. Dr. Mary Ann Jacobs, the Director of Indian Studies, drove me to the home cooked meal. I ate until it hurt. Dr. Jacobs drove me back to my Holiday Express hotel.
The next morning Dr. Stremlau drove me to the airport at Fayetteville. The ride was full of conversation and had a happy feel to it.
I got on an airplane after passing through security. It was a short hop to Atlanta, then a longer ride to Detroit, Michigan. I waited a while then boarded an airplane for Duluth. My pretty wife Patricia was waiting to drive me home. It was a short three days in my writer’s life.
**** Fond du Lac Follies motored to the White Earth Tribal and Community College. We had the thrill of watching a bald eagle eating a deer on the side of the road.
We went west in northern Minnesota for the Traditional Oral Storytelling Event and to see the Birch Bark Scrolls made by Anthony LaFromboise. Andy and Mary Favorite were also there to tell stories.
I especially liked the story Andy told about the one animal who got drunk. He had me and the audience laughing.
The next morning we met Anthony LaFromboise for breakfast. I learned he was with the 7th Marines in Vietnam and made arrowheads from flint. All too soon we had to return to Sawyer.