Fond du Lac Follies


So, where was the Follies last month? I took the month off to celebrate my 68th birthday. So Sioux me.

**** Fond du Lac Follies motored to the Reservation Business Committee open meeting held at the Sawyer Center this time. I could have walked but would you if you had a chance to drive a ’64 Corvette Sting Ray on a sunny day with the top down? Didn’t think so.

At the meeting I learned the casinos are still making money and our per capita payments are not affected by the economic slowdown.

I also heard about Enrollee’s Day here on the Rez. I learned that Gary Farmer and his band will be here to entertain the Fonjalackers and families.

Someone asked the Chair, Karen Diver, if she thought Minnesota might open gambling throughout the state. She said she didn’t think so because of the lack of progress in the Minnesota Legislature.

The main topic of this meeting was expulsion. The RBC held meetings with the people to get their thoughts. Karen Diver answered questions from the audience about how it would be implemented, how it would be administered, especially against those who committed a violent crime, or were dealing drugs.

This expulsion is a work in progress and I am sure it will be refined in time to work in the best interests of the people of the Rez.

As Karen was leaving she casually remarked that if the state legalized gambling we could legalize Marijuana on the Rez. I don’t know Karen well enough to know if she was serious or was just pulling my lariat. But I suppose the Follies is a good place to start a rumor isn’t it?

We shall see what we shall see.

**** The planning for this year’s Ojibwe language Immersion Camp is happening on a daily basis. My wife Patricia is working on it mostly by herself with advice from the planning committee. My part is easy, when she comes up with a good idea for the camp and suggests it to me, I smile and say, "sounds good to me".  Patricia has been working tirelessly on the camp. Okay, okay, a couple times there she did get tired and needed a bingo hit.

The camp will happen at the Fond du Lac Kiwenz Campground here in Sawyer June 23rd through the 26th, so mark you calendar or carve it in your forearm so you don’t miss this learning experience.

We have assemble a stellar list of fluent speakers. They are Dr.Brian McGinnes, Dr. Rick Gresczk, Jacob "Sonny" Greensky, Gordy Jourdain, Dr. Margaret "Megan" Noori, Howard Kimewon, and Helen Roy.

Since we believe that indigenous art is important in learning about the Anishinaabe ways, we will have artists teaching and demonstrating what they do. The following artists have been invited and have agreed to bring their talents to the language camp: Charles Tuna Nahganub, Sarah Howes Agaton, Frank Montano, Randy Gresczyk, Thedore and Myna Tuluc, and Victoria Ellis.

In addition to the activities with the artists we have planned some physical activities. The canoe race was so popular last year we will do it again. One canoe race will use paddles and one will use rice poles and knockers. The Rez DNR will provide a safety boat and life jackets for the racers. There will be modest prizes for the winners.

People at the camp can learn and play the Moccasin Game. There will be a baby powwow on Saturday evening. Other nights we will have storytelling and music. A nature walk is planned where plants will be identified in Ojibwemowin and Howard Kimewon will show how to make hominy soup the old way. We will build waaginogaanan for the artists and fluent speakers to use.

The Fond du Lac Reservation police will patrol and provide security for the event. I shall set up a shelter and sew birchbark baskets while the language happens around me.

The setting – right on the north shore of Gichi-zaaga’igan (Big Lake) – will let us enjoy the evening breezes.

I believe any camper who spends four days and nights here will learn and use more Ojibwemowin than before they came to the camp. Ahow, ambe Ojibwemodaa.

**** Graduation season is upon us and I just have to brag. My son Matthew Northrup graduated from Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College and was one of the commencement speakers. He won a slug of awards for his 4.0 grade point average. He wants to keep going to school until he has a Dr. in front of his name. I am sure proud of him.

James W. Northrup IV, will graduate from Cloquet High School next week. Niiwin, as we call him, also makes me proud.

**** Mii iw, mii sa iw****