|Written by Jim Northrup,
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One thing about this holiday season that really jerked my chain (to borrow a clich?) was the Elder's Christmas Party held at the Convention Center of the Black Bear Casino, not all of it but just one part.
We usually avoid all things Christmas in this family because we don't celebrate that holiday. We do celebrate people passing out money and a free meal however, so we went to the Bear.
(Note to self: Don't go looking for Playstations in December where people carry and use pepper spray, push and shove, or hold up people in parking lots.)
We motored to the Bear and signed up for the goodies, I was given an envelope that contained 25 bucks in greenbacks, a coupon good for ten more and a ticket for the drawing for baskets full of goods prepared by the Reservation employees.
A free meal was also part of the deal so we set up camp at a round table near the food. Family members drifted in and joined us at our table. I had a son Jim, a grandson Niiwin and his intended (Aurora), a brother Russ and his wife Deb, one sister Susan and her husband Ringo from Red Lake, a cousin Butch Martineau, and a visitor named Lester Black Horse (a Dine from Utah).
At our round table only my sister Suzy won one of the baskets.
I was able to ignore the Christmas music that permeated through the Convention Center. I frowned at family members I caught singing along with the pervasive music. Hum Bahbug, yes I am the Grinch who stole Christmas and hid it somewhere.
Before we ate we listened to someone pray for the feast. I was wondering who was going to pray. Then I heard Sister Rose was going to bless the food. Wait a minute, I heard the Reservation Business Committee had passed a Resolution naming Ojibwemowin the Official Language of the Reservation. If so, why did we borrow a Catholic to pray in English for us? That is what jerked my chain about the elder's party.
The meal was fun and we all ate until it hurt, the pumpkin pie was especially good. I had seconds on that.
Two RBC members were working the crowd, when they came by our round table I expressed my displeasure at hearing a prayer in English when we could have heard a prayer in Ojibwe. With over 700 people there we couldn't find one person to pray in our language? Are we so far gone we don't need white people to assimilate us anymore, we do it ourselves. Jeez, I hope not.
**** Q. What is the difference between a Ponsford Wedding and a Ponsford Funeral?
A. One less mouth to feed.
(Submitted by Ray J. Earley, White Earth Ojibwe, who should get all of the praise or blame. His email is: ****@***.***.
**** Mary Northrup, the Brookston Representative on the Reservation Business Committee died recently. She dedicated her life to working for the veterans as the Veteran's Service Officer and later as a tribal council member. We were related but not by blood. She will be missed very much.
**** We stumbled across a pot of money, Jack. We could do nothing better with it than winterize our grandchildren. From the top of their heads to the bottoms of their feet we bought them some warm. Now we feel warm inside because we were able to do this.
****As predicted right here in the Fond du Lac Follies, the war in Iraq is over. President Obama lived up to his word. I am still stuck in the looking for weapons of mass destruction mode. I guess we didn't find them but they aren't important anymore. Only time will tell if this war of choice was worth it. Meanwhile the veterans of this war will carry their memories to the grave.
**** The fund raiser for The Circle went well, I think they raised enough money at the Breakfast to keep operating for a while. So, if you got any spare money laying around you could send it to them because I think they are still accepting donations.
I finally got a chance to hear Diane Wilson read her words. Maamakaaj. At the Breakfast, Heid Erdrich gave me a copy of the new book by Pebaamibines, Dennis Jones. It is called "Daga Anishinaabemodaa, Let's Speak Ojibwe." I think Rick Gresczyk used a similar title in one of his earlier books.
It was good to see so many people who came and filled the All Nations Indian Church almost to overflowing. I am glad they remembered a free press ain't free. We are fortunate to have one covering local events and doing local stories.
**** Mi iw. Mii sa iw.
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