Fond du Lac Follies


Yeah, the war in Iraq is going to be over in a couple of months President Obama promises. Did we win? Did we lose? Or did we just lose interest in a war that just kept ambling on and on, one that cost billions of dollars and lives.

Was it worth it? Did we ever find those pesky weapons of mass destruction? How many Americans died in that long lasting war? I know who suffered besides the Iraqi, it was the combat veterans that came home greatly affected by their experiences.

According to the news over 4,000 Americans died, and over 150,000 Iraqi citizens. The cost of the war was estimated at 400 billion dollars.

But alas, the war is not over. Now I hear America is sending troops into Africa, four different countries. And what about Afghanistan, aren’t Americans still getting wounded and dying there? I forget why we were even there in the first place.

Do we always have to be at war somewhere?

**** We watched the Diane Sawyer program about life on the Pine Ridge Reservation. What I saw on TV sickened me that American Indians have to live like this. My wife was sniffling as she watched her Lakota relatives.

After seeing that I will never complain about life on my Reservation.

**** "Awesome", as a word-guy I have watched that word become meaningless. Today I think it has become the the equivalent to the phrase "Uh huh", what someone says while listening to a long boring story.

For example….I cut my toenails today…..awesome…….or I cleaned my belly button lint…..oooo, super awesome.

That word awesome even flashes on the screen when one wins over a certain amount on a slot machine at my casino.

Since it is boring to whine without a solution I hereby propose one. Instead of automatically saying awesome when someone quits talking, say "Maamakaaj", a perfectly good Ojibwe word my dictionary defines as astonishing. Try it, it is easy to say and it carries more meaning than that silly old "awesome". Maamakaaj.

**** We went to see a living legend named Glen Campbell. This was described as his farewell tour so I am glad we got to see him before he quit appearing, before he hangs up his climbing spurs as the Wichita Lineman.

He was a good entertainer and I am glad we got to see him. He picks a mean guitar and one could hear traces of his once powerful voice. His daughter and two sons sang along with him..

I sang along with the old time songs I knew so well when I was a young pup. My one foot got tired of tapping along so I tapped with the other one.

After his appearance on the stage at the Black Bear Casino we joined the group who were designated to meet and greet this singing, picking legend.

We were close to the beginning of the line so we shuffled along until it was our turn to meet and greet, our four seconds of contact. I shook his hand and thanked him for his music, then my wife Patricia and I stood next to him and faced the camera. Rocky Casino was shooting the pictures and told us when and where we could pick up our copies. This digital photo will immediately become part of the family archives.

**** My Rez has a radio station, 89.1 on everyone’s FM dial, WGZS are the call lettters. haven’t seen the actual physical layout although I hear it is at Fond du Lac Ojibwe school. One day soon I will make a visit to the studio.

The voice I hear mostly belongs to Pam Belgarde, I know she is from Turtle Mountain, North Dakota. I met her back in the 90s when she was working with Deb Wallwork, who was shooting a video called Warriors, Native American Vietnam Vets. It was shot for Prairie Public Television of Fargo, North Dakota. Pam was the narrator for that video.

Pam has been coming to our Thursday night language table and is learning Ojibwe words to use on the radio. This will be a learning tool for all of us who listen to the radio.

So far I have heard her introduce herself in Ojibwe and hearing our language was like music to my ears, no wait, the music was music to my ears. So far the music has been classic rock and pow wow songs. The language I heard made me proud to be an Anishinaabe.

As for future plans, I hear they will expand the hours and feature other programs like Native America Calling.  And also I hear we will be able to hear WGZS on our computers.

****  Mii iw. Mii sa iw.