Fond du Lac Follies


The Sobriety Powwow was held in Sawyer at Mashkawisen. It was the 30th something annual event.

Once again we set up our Free Coffee For Veterans hooch. We gave coffee to veterans and to those who were delivering coffee to veterans.  One local guy complained that the coffee was too sweet. In checking we determined he had poured coffee into the sugar cup and tried drinking that.  We could hardly wait for him to leave so we could laugh about pouring coffee into the sugar cup and complaining about the taste of the free coffee.


We had many visitors to the hooch.  One of my favorite visitors was Pauline Moose. In Northrup family history she is remembered as the young girl who wrote my letters home for me from Pipestone Boarding school about 64 years ago. I still remember her kindness in doing that for me until I learned how to write.  She brought her daughter Trish, who brought her son, a new young Marine.  As a fellow Marine I gave him a ride in the 1964 Corvette and we swapped Marine Corps stories.

We had a good view of the doings, it was like

High Def TV, we watched the dancers and we were there when the Sobriety

runners arrived from Red Lake. According to Google it is 170 miles to

Red Lake from Sawyer. That is sure a lot of sobriety.


the powwow was over I overheard some dancers being disgruntled.  They

said they were paid twenty bucks for dancing all weekend. One guy said

he came all the way from Toronto, Canada for a measly twenty bucks.

Later I heard some singers saying they each got twenty bucks for singing

all weekend.

The crowd size was smaller than I had seen before at this particular powwow.


Gary Farmer showed up after the powwow for a visit. He brought his wife

Deb with him. He arrived in a 45 foot motor home, he was dragging a

normal sized car behind the Land Yacht.

Gary told us about his latest movie called "Winter In The Blood." It was made from a book by James Welch.

Deb wanted a ride in the Corvette so I fired it up and she began chanting “Oh My God, Oh My God”.  I wasn’t even driving fast.


then drove slow to the Perch Lake rice landing so she could see the

beautiful crop of manoomin growing thickly on the lake. We returned to

Northrup Road and she told Gary about her ride and the manoomin she saw

in the lake.

Later we had a feast on

the deck and decided to sit around the fire pit in the yard as it got

dark. Dr. Rick Gresczyk brought some people from the powwow to meet Gary

Farmer.  There were two sisters from Lac La Croix in Canada, and

singers and drummers from White Earth. We all told stories in the glow

and light of the fire. We laughed muchly.


next morning we visited with Gary Farmer over coffee. My sister Jean

Dufault and aunt Sharon Shabiash were on their daily walk and they

stopped long enough to shake hands with Gary Farmer. The two women from

Lac La Croix walked with the walkers but quickly walked ahead from the

two older women from Sawyer, who were doing maybe one mile per hour.


Farmer had to unhook his normal size car from the Land Yacht so he

could turn his motor home around.  We waved goodbye for a long time

after he was out of sight.

**** My good

friend Gil Greensky died recently. According to my son Joe Northrup,

Gil fell down while at work at the Fond du Lac Reservation Golf Course.

An ambulance was called and he was taken to the hospital.


join his wife Sandy and his 13 children who will mourn his passing. We

shall long remember Gil. In thinking about Gil’s death I remember when

his dad Jake, and his mom, Katy Porter Greensky, died. Gil must be with

them now.

**** I read in the local

newspaper that the U.S. Environmental Agency gave Polymet good news.

Soon they can began polluting the rivers and lakes with government

permission. I shudder when I think of the potential damage to hunting

and fishing in Northeast Minnesota. Will my 1854 Treaty Rights be washed

away with this friendly letter from the Feds to the mining company?


As a matter of policy, the Fond du Lac Follies will not use the racist

term R******s to describe that NFL football team from Washington D.C. 

If I do write about them I will identify them as the team from D and C.

**** Mii sa iw.

The views expressed in this column belong to the writer alone. They are not meant to represent this newspaper, civilian or Indian, this Reservation, Gary or Deb Farmer, my sister Jean or aunt Sharon, this village or anyone else. Comments and bingo packs can be sent to FdL Follies, PO Box 16, Sawyer, MN email or Facebook.