Fond du Lac Follies celebrating 20 years, going for 25

By Jim Northup
News From Indian Country 8-09

Well, we did it. The Follies has been appearing in print for 20 years with this issue. I was going to quit writing the Follies after that length of time but my wife said go for 25 and I said okay.

So, let us all gather around and sing the traditional song. All together now….Happy birthday to it. Happy birthday to it, happy birthday dear Follies, happy birthday to it.

The Fond du Lac Veteran’s pow wow was held in Sawyer. It felt good to be honored for choices we made when we were young. Chuck Smith, USMC, Fond du Lac’s Veterans Service Officer, has done a great job of organizing the honoring of Reservation and visiting veterans.

My wife set up her food stand called Stand Here and I set up the basket factory/veterans lounge next door. The only part that was missing was Ray Earley, USMC vet who faithfully attends this event. He had a good reason for missing the festivities, he was in the VA hospital. He is now out of the hospital but felt bad that he missed everything in Sawyer. I snagged him a T-shirt from the event.

I think this was the largest pow wow we ever had for veterans. I later heard they had 45 drums and 845 dancers. It felt good to be honored by the Reservation and the people at the pow wow.

****

We got a dog for this house on Northrup Road. He is a Mini-daschund. He is now called Oscar Meyer wiener dog. I have observed that there is a lot of dog between his front and rear legs. His short legs carry him rapidly around the house. His little paws make pitter patter noises as he dashes about. He is becoming adept at avoiding the big human feet as he runs around.

Oscar likes to cuddle. We give him commands in Ojibwe, Oscar is learning Ojibwe.

Patricia took him for a visit to see his maw. He tried to nurse but she wouldn’t let him. He was content to sleep next to her all night long.

Oscar came home and it felt good to hear his little feet running around the house. With our history with dogs we are wondering how long he will be here.

****

Fond du Lac Follies motored to the Red Cliff Reservation for their annual language immersion camp. Andy Gokee invited us to come and teach birch bark basket making with the campers.

My wife Patricia and I motored along the south shore of Lake Superior in her Mercury Sable that wears license plates that say Bwaan. It was just a short jaunt, a bit over 100 miles and was a scenic drive along Highway 13. I didn’t take the Corvette because it was in the garage (again, we suspected a bad head gasket)

We began meeting campers and people from last year’s immersion camp. We sat around and immersed ourselves in English conversation.

 
I told the campers I couldn’t guarantee they would make a basket but I could guarantee they would learn how to work with hand tools and the materials we use to make baskets.

There are some people, who haven’t worked with hand tools much, I am glad we didn’t have any skin punctures.

We went to the woods to gather birch bark. There is a nice stand of birch less than two miles from the camp ground.

After we were done for the day we stopped at the Isle Vista casino. We gambled a bit then decided to eat. At one end of the room we saw a birch bark canoe. I thought this can only be one of those beautiful canoes made by Marv Defoe. I felt good that his Reservation was honoring him by displaying one of his creations.

We looked closer at the canoe and discovered the casino had turned Marv’s canoe into a salad bar. What? A salad bar complete with a glass sneeze shield was over the top of that beautiful canoe. Somehow it didn’t look or feel right. It seemed almost sacrilegious to me.

 

****

The Fond du Lac Veteran’s pow wow was held in Sawyer. It felt good to be honored for choices we made when we were young. Chuck Smith, USMC, Fond du Lac’s Veterans Service Officer, has done a great job of organizing the honoring of Reservation and visiting veterans.

My wife set up her food stand called Stand Here and I set up the basket factory/veterans lounge next door. The only part that was missing was Ray Earley, USMC vet who faithfully attends this event. He had a good reason for missing the festivities, he was in the VA hospital. He is now out of the hospital but felt bad that he missed everything in Sawyer. I snagged him a T-shirt from the event.

I think this was the largest pow wow we ever had for veterans. I later heard they had 45 drums and 845 dancers. It felt good to be honored by the Reservation and the people at the pow wow.

****

We got a dog for this house on Northrup Road. He is a Mini-daschund. He is now called Oscar Meyer wiener dog. I have observed that there is a lot of dog between his front and rear legs. His short legs carry him rapidly around the house. His little paws make pitter patter noises as he dashes about. He is becoming adept at avoiding the big human feet as he runs around.

Oscar likes to cuddle. We give him commands in Ojibwe, Oscar is learning Ojibwe.

Patricia took him for a visit to see his maw. He tried to nurse but she wouldn’t let him. He was content to sleep next to her all night long.

Oscar came home and it felt good to hear his little feet running around the house. With our history with dogs we are wondering how long he will be here.

****

Fond du Lac Follies motored to the Red Cliff Reservation for their annual language immersion camp. Andy Gokee invited us to come and teach birch bark basket making with the campers.

My wife Patricia and I motored along the south shore of Lake Superior in her Mercury Sable that wears license plates that say Bwaan. It was just a short jaunt, a bit over 100 miles and was a scenic drive along Highway 13. I didn’t take the Corvette because it was in the garage (again, we suspected a bad head gasket)

We began meeting campers and people from last year’s immersion camp. We sat around and immersed ourselves in English conversation.

I told the campers I couldn’t guarantee they would make a basket but I could guarantee they would learn how to work with hand tools and the materials we use to make baskets.

There are some people, who haven’t worked with hand tools much, I am glad we didn’t have any skin punctures.

We went to the woods to gather birch bark. There is a nice stand of birch less than two miles from the camp ground.

After we were done for the day we stopped at the Isle Vista casino. We gambled a bit then decided to eat. At one end of the room we saw a birch bark canoe. I thought this can only be one of those beautiful canoes made by Marv Defoe. I felt good that his Reservation was honoring him by displaying one of his creations.

We looked closer at the canoe and discovered the casino had turned Marv’s canoe into a salad bar. What? A salad bar complete with a glass sneeze shield was over the top of that beautiful canoe. Somehow it didn’t look or feel right. It seemed almost sacrilegious to me.
The next day at the language camp we talked to Marv and told him we saw one of his canoes. Then I showed him a picture of the salad bar. I told him about my feelings about how they used his canoe. He agreed with me.

We spent the next day showing the campers how to work with the hand tools and birch bark, basswood bark and green willow. As we were leaving Andy Gokee gave us some beautiful parting gifts.

****

The Corvette is out of the garage and is back on the road. Yup, just have to throw enough money at car problems and they go away.

****

Mii sa iw



The views expressed in this colum belong to the writer dude alone. They are not meant to represent this newspaper or this Reservation. Comments and bingo packs can be sent to FdL Follies, PO Box 16, Sawyer, MN 55780 email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

On The Net: www.nativewiki.org/Jim_Northrup
 
 
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