Fond du Lac Follies: Go Redskins!!

By Jim Northrup
News From Indian Country 7-08

The election is over and the winners were Karen Diver as the Chair and Wally Dupuis in the Cloquet District. In the Brookston Primary there will be an August runoff between Anna Waite and Mary Northrup.

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Fond du Lac Follies jetted to Orlando. Before we get too far into this story let me say right now that I am not a Mickey Mouse fan. It just happens that the National Council on Racism and Ethnicity convention was being held there. I was invited to be one of the featured speakers to talk about racism.

I took off my moccasins at the Duluth airport, put them back on and caught the flight to Minneapolis. I changed planes and continued on to Orlando; The Disney employees at the Disney Welcome Center welcomed us to Orlando. We were shuttled to the Disney Magical Express bus which would take us to the Coronado Spa. Along the way we watched a video featuring a man named Walt Disney. He looked good considering he died in 1966.

We arrived at the Spa and I was immediately struck by how nice everything looked. The people who worked there were friendly.

I think there were 2,000 people expected to attend the workshops and presentations. I was issued a badge that identified me and it further said I was a presenter.

I began meeting people, met old friends and made some new ones. When it was my time to speak I noticed the audience had about 400 who gathered to hear my stories. They had two of those huge TV screens on each side of me. Dr. Richard Allen of the Cherokee Nation introduced me to the crowd. He was a combat vet from the Vietnam War who served with the United States Marine Corps. First I introduced myself in Ojibwe to the people. I knew there were a couple of Shinnobs from Duluth who understand what I was saying. I told stories for about 50 minutes. At the end of my presentation I told the people I hadn’t mentioned the sports mascot issue yet. I told them I had one thought about it. In a loud voice I said GO REDSKINS then pointed my finger at the exit door. I added and take those Indians, Braves, and Chiefs with you.

There was much laughter and applause as I left the stage. I went to another part of the Convention Center where I signed copies of my books for about a half hour.

The next morning the bus from Disney’s Magical Express carried me back to the Orlando airport. I took off my moccasins then put them back on again. The airplane ride to Minnesota was boring and uneventful, so was the ride on the smaller airplane to Duluth.

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Fond du Lac Follies motored to Morton, Motown, as I call it. The event was their annual pow wow. Since my wife is a member of the Lower Sioux Indian Community attendance was compulsory.

Aaron Ezigaa drove that old silver Corvette to the doings. I know he likes driving that beautiful car. The price of gasoline was $3.99.9, at least we didn’t have to pay four bucks for gas. My son is learning how to drive that powerful car quite well.

Pat is working on her Rez and was spending her salary keeping gasoline in that gas-guzzling silver Silverado. She bought a gas sipping car; we have personalized plates that say Bwaan (Dakota).

The pow wow was well attended; a lot of my wife’s relatives were working there to make it a success. There was a ceremony honoring the Dow family. The highlight for me was getting to know my great-grand- daughter, we just call her Baby. She is ten months old and has been walking for a month now. I never thought I would be old enough to have a great-grand child.

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The birch is peeling so we are once again making baskets. I see that Jeff Savage and others are building a birch bark canoe again. Jeff tells me they are going to the National Museum of the American Indian to work on a wiigwaasi-jiimaan. What an honor for those Fonjalackers.

My godson Zac came by with some birch bark, said he found it in a state park. So, we are making baskets. Rick Gresczyk brought a student named Colleen who wanted to learn how to work with the materials so she could make a fanning basket. We all went to the woods to gather basswood bark that we use for sewing the baskets together. Rick and the Buck knife came too close together and he stopped bleeding after about a half hour.

Every year I wonder where the baskets we make will end up.

*****

Mii iw.

 

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