By 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.
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?
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.
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?
there have been some problems associated with gambling. One is we
think money can solve anything. Two is we think money can solve
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.