What a move the voters from White
Earth made. I think the future of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe which
is a Federal Corporation, is in Jeopardy. The Minnesota Chippewa
Tribe does not have treaty rights. To think the Bands can make up
their own Constitutions without Tribe approval is quite the big leap
for democracy on the reservations.
White Earth will finally get rid of
the blood quantum rule. No more one quarter requirement to be
considered Anishinaabe. I have grandchildren that can’t be
enrolled. Who came up with that idea in the first place?
I think the separation of powers is
another good idea. I remember a few years back when an election
dispute was happening here at Fond du Lac. The judge was ordered not
to hold a hearing, she disagreed and wanted to hold the hearing.
Before she could gavel the Court open, she was fired by the RBC.
Fond du Lac Follies motored
to Minneapolis to speak at Dr. Rick Gresczyk’s class at MCTC. It
was pleasant to hear his students speaking Ojibwe. I introduced
myself in Ojibwe and told some stories and recited poetry. Then the
students did a round dance to a drum and we ate together. All in all
it was a pleasant experience.
I found out later the President of
the College attended the gathering.
Of course I had to stop for gas and
sweet rolls in Hinkles.
Ray Earley, a Pfc with one hashmark,
and I got together at his house to celebrate the Marine Corp’s
238th birthday. The current joke was, 238? You don’t look a day
over 200. We celebrated at his house in Hugo, Minn.
It was a tiny Birthday Ball and it
was easy to tell who was the oldest Marine and youngest Marine
because there was only two of us there. We were so low key we cut the
cake with my K-Bar instead of my NCO sword. I did bring along my
entrenching tool just in case.
We didn’t sing the Hymn but did
dial my phone because the ring tone sings it better than either of
I can hardly wait for the next
Marine Corps Birthday Ball.
The day after the Marine Corps
birthday Ray and I motored to Sheridan Park in north Minneapolis. The
event was the unveiling of a war memorial as constructed by artist
Robert Smart. Last summer he came to my house and made a plaster cast
or my face. He also did my son Matthew’s face and some family
When he first asked and told me of
the process I had but one question. I asked if the hot cast iron came
anywhere near my face. Rob told me he would make a plaster cast and
that would be where the liquid cast iron would be poured. So they
made a plaster cast of my face while I breathed through my nostrils
as the plaster hardened for about 20 minutes.
Ray and I used our Google map to
figure out a route to get to the war memorial from Hugo, Minn. When
we got there I helped wheel Ray in his chair to the cast iron replica
of my face. It was cold with the wind whistling off the Mississippi
River at the edge of the park. I met Jan Smart, Rob’s mother and we
laughed together as we were talking about the plaster casting
The wind was cold and the speeches
were mercifully short as we stood freezing in the park. We saluted as
the American flag was raised. Ray went back to his car to warm up and
I went to my truck. I made a new rule for myself, always go to the
bathroom before standing out in the cold.
Fond du Lac Follies motored to St.
Scholastica in Duluth, Minn. at the invitation of Christina Woods.
She wanted me to tell some boarding school stories back when I was a
little pup. I told my stories and the audience listened closely. I
think part of my memories shocked them.
I was glad to see my niece Chally as
one of the audience members. It should be noted that Christina Woods
is also one of the on air talent for Native Report as broadcast on
PBS. She shares the screen with Stacey Thunder
North Hennepin Community College
invited me to speak to an audience composed of students and some
faculty members. So, I stood up on my hind legs and told stories
about life on the Rez and stories from my time in the Vietnam War.
I like to think I enlightened the
students with my stories.
I believe there will be a change in
the way the Fond du Lac Language Camp will be run this year.
The views expressed in this column
belong to the writer alone. Comments and bingo packs can be sent to
FdL Follies, PO Box 16, Sawyer, MN 55780 email
firstname.lastname@example.org, Facebook too.