Fond du Lac Follies


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, Facebook too.