Fond du Lac Follies


fond_du_lac_follies_jim_northrup.jpgBy now we

should all know that Lex Porter of the Fond du Lac Reservation should

be recognized as one of the Code Talkers who helped the United States

in their efforts during World War Two.

The family

of Lex Porter was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal in recognition

of his efforts. Chair Karen Diver brought the award back to the

family from Washington, D.C. I wonder what other language speaker he

was talking to?


Well, this

is it folks. The final curtain comes clanging down on the Fond du Lac

Follies. After 25 years of writing a monthly column I decided to step

back and hang up my spurs and computer. What a different world it

was, of course it was 1989 and I was a quarter century younger. Let

me see, that must be at least 15 Rez Cars ago, probably just as many

Rez dogs ago too.


was in its infancy then, I think all we had going was bingo. Now with

two casinos, we are in a death cage match with Duluth over the

profits of one of them. Apparently the winner will be decided by who

can spend the most money in attorney fees.

On the

Rez, the monthly per capita payment has kept the lights on in some

homes, made car payments and has put food on some tables, the rest of

us use plates. The per cap payments has given us a higher standard of

living and even a higher tax bracket. Remember how hard it was to

live on zero bucks a month?

Of course

there have been some problems associated with gambling. One is we

think money can solve anything. Two is we think money can solve



The Fond

du Lac Veterans powwow was held at the Mashkawisen grounds in Sawyer,

Minnesota. We had our usual Free Coffee For Veterans hooch set up to

pass out coffee. At one point I heard the powwow announcer say there

were over 670 dancers. Now gossip on the moccasin Internet tells me

we may have to build another larger powwow grounds to hold the event,

maybe in Cloquet. I have a better idea, let us quit making veterans.

We were

given our usual gifts of hats, shirts and manoomin. I am glad they

skipped the fireworks part of the program.



is approaching. Once again I am looking forward to getting into my

canoe to harvest the wild rice. I like living my life with the

seasons and I will continue to do it as long as I am living.

We had a

good spring and enjoyed making maple syrup. Our summer was good also

because we made a lot of friends and were able to teach quite a few

people how to work with birch bark, basswood bark and green willow

frames to make baskets.


By the

time this is read we will have returned from Witchita, Kansas. We are

motoring south to take part in the Vietnam Veterans of America’s

Educational Convention. I have been notified I am to be honored with

an Excellence in Arts award for my body of work and my time in

Vietnam. Ray Earley, my wife Patricia Northrup and I will be the trio

of drivers who will be heading south on Interstate 35. We are going

to be playing Cowboys and Indians because we plan on visiting the Old

Cowtown Museum and the Mid-America All Indian Center.

I always

feel good when I am around Vietnam veterans.



Copper,” my sixth book is out as of July 1. I will doing readings

at bookstores in some Minnesota cities including Duluth, Minneapolis

and St. Paul.


years ago I was just beginning my writing life. Since then my writing

has taken me all over the United States including a gig for NASA, the

National Museum of the American Indian, Lincoln Center in NYC and

other places like Scotland, Norway, Mexico City, Canada, Hungary and

Red Lake.

Along the

way I have also picked up a few awards like the Minnesota Book Award,

the Northeast Minnesota Book Award and a Wordcraft Circle of Native

Writers and Storytellers award.

When I

first started writing the Follies I was given $100 a column, when I

finished I was still getting $100 a column. Chi miigwech to my

readers, along the way I have had fun with the Questions of the Month

and the disclaimer at the bottom of the column.