The Anishinaabe have always been good storytellers

By Jim Northrup
News From Indian Country

Fond du Lac Follies motored to UMD in Duluth. The occasion was a chance to hear authors Heid and Lise Erdrich. These two Anishinaabe women have a sister named Louise who also writes books. Is this the Shinnob version of the Bronte sisters?

I knew Heid and her works because we had shared the stage a couple of times, most recently at Birch Bark Books in Minneapolis. She was up on the podium when I walked in. She recognized me and waved. I threw her a Sawyer wave in return.

Linda LeGard Grover of UMD introduced the speakers. Heid went first and recited some of her favorite poems. I enjoy her words and the way she puts them together. I had never heard or even met Lise but was eager to see what she does with words. She read from some of her short fiction and I could see the audience liked what she said. I found myself chuckling at times. I joined the line of people who were eager to buy their books.

The Anishinaabe have always been good storytellers and these two should be included in any list of someone worth reading and hearing.


On the evening of March 7th the movie called Older Than America will be shown at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. My family and I will be making the trip to see the movie that was filmed mostly on the Fond du Lac Reservation.

I want to see my wife, my son Matthew, my friend Ray Earley, my house, the firepit in my yard and the Corvette on the big screen, again.

I heard from the moccasin telegraph (which works so much faster in these days of cellyphones) that we no longer have a newspaper editor for Fond du Lac’s newspaper. Deb Locke moved on after a brief period as the editor. I wonder what was behind that move? Did she write something she wasn’t supposed to? Or did she just realize we don’t actually have freedom of the press here on the Rez?


After much consideration I have decided to go out on a political limb and make a choice now for a new President. Fond du Lac Follies hereby endorses Sen. H. Clinton. I value her experience more than the other candidate.



An Amendment from the US Senate adds an apology to the original inhabitants of this continent for hundreds of years of mistreatment. First, what good would it do? Second, what good would it do? Third, what good would it do?

An apology does not erase hundreds of years of genocide. The Jews were not the only ones who had a holocaust. We had one here too.


Fond du Lac Follies motored to the Rez golf course club house for the wedding ceremony of my sister Suzy and her old man Ringo.

My sister Suzy looked good in a blue ribbon blouse, moccasins, and a skirt. What? My sister Suzy in a skirt? I haven’t seen her in a skirt since she was a little girl. When she was changing from street shoes to moccasins she crossed her legs, forgetting that she was wearing a skirt. She almost showed her unmentionables, almost became a blushing bride. Ringo looked resplendent in a matching ribbon shirt.

This was an Ojibwe ceremony and without going into too many details it is enough to know there was a drum and singers, sweet grass, an eagle wing fan, a pipe and tobacco, and a medicine man. Ringo had three men standing with him, Suzy had two women. At one point in the doings we were given a chance to offer advice to the bride and groom. I heard my brother Vern warning Ringo about wooden nickels, I offered advice about tapping maple trees instead of basswood. I didn’t hear what John Fineday told him. Suzy was getting advice from the two women standing with her.

After the doings we sat down to eat.

A wedding ceremony is a good reason to have a feast so we did. Members of the family brought food and I ate and ate. There were two kinds of wild rice dishes, fry bread, potato salad, mashed potatoes, gravy, vegetables, fruit, Jell-O and apple pie. The medicine man blessed the food and made a spirit dish.

It felt good to gather with relatives and friends on this happy occasion. We passed babies around, told stories and lies, teased each other and took many pictures. All four of my sons were there, Jim, Matthew, Joseph and Aaron and my two brothers Vern and Russ. I hugged my grandson Shabub and granddaughter Jalisa.

After eating we listened to the drum and singers. I think together we made this an event to remember.