- Category: Jim Northrup
- Published: 08 December 2009
By Jim Northrup
News From Indian Country 12-09
The Fond du Lac Reservation once again honored their military veterans. The setting for this gala event was the Black Bear Casinos Otter Creek Entertainment Center.
Chuck Smith, United States Marine Corps Vietnam veteran, should get credit for organizing and coordinating this event. I am sure Mary Northrup, United States Army, our former Veterans Service Officer, should get some of the credit also.
The Reservations Honor Guard performed their duties with honor. I thought of listing their names but would probably get the spelling wrong on some of them so Ill just say thanks guys and gals, see you at the next funeral.
The Cedar Creek Singers should be thanked for bringing their drum and songs to the honoring. Their rendition of a Veterans Song thrills me every time I hear it.
Robert Sonny Peacock, US Navy Vietnam veteran, told some revealing and emotional stories about his time in the war. He is the former Chairman of the Reservation Business Committee and currently President of the Fond du Lac Tribal College. Sonny was a Corpsman.
After the talk-talk was done we ate a meal catered by the Black Bear Casino staff. The old veterans merely stayed in their chairs as young people jumped up to get the meals and deliver them. The prime rib meal was delicious; I had to have seconds on that part of the meal.
After the chewing was mostly done Chuck Smith asked the Vietnam veterans to identify themselves by standing up. I did a quick estimate and saw between 20 and 25 veterans standing tall.
He called each one by name and one of his workers delivered a package that contained manoomin, sage, a Rez pin and a beautiful, personalized embroidered jacket. In bright yellow and red colors the front of the jacket says Ogichidaa, Fond du Lac, Jim and US Marines. On the back of the jacket it says Marines, Viet Nam vet. There is the familiar Rez logo in the center. The jacket is made of black wool, has leather sleeves and knitted cuffs.
At the risk of looking a gift jacket in the mouth, mine smelled sort of a stayed-in-the-warehouse-too-long, musty smell to it. No problem, I just hung mine outside in the good cleansing Sawyer air for a couple days. I am proud to wear that jacket. But, I believe we must stop making veterans.
In spite of being late November we havent had any significant snowfall. Since they havent started salting the roads I am still driving the Corvette. Of course the convertible top stays up but I am still cruising around in that beautiful car. I had some business to take care of in Wisconsin Dells and I thought about using the Corvette to get there and back. Most of me wanted to make the trip there but a nagging thought kept creeping in. What if it breaks down on the 600 mile round trip? The car is 45 years old and anything can break at anytime. The thought of sitting on the side of a dark road somewhere in Wisconsin convinced me to drive my wife, Pat Northrups Sable. The car wears Rez license plates that say BWAAN, it makes sense since she is Dakota from the Lower Sioux Community.
I drove there on mostly four-lane roads, took care of business and drove home. The Sable didnt break down and it was a successful trip.
It hasnt snowed yet so I am driving the Corvette to the regularly scheduled Thursday evening meeting of the Ojibwe Language Table. I can drag that old car home around here.
Fond du Lac Follies motored to Cloquet in the Corvette to the Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College. The event was the Veterans and Giving Thanks celebration.
I began meeting friends right away. Bryon Jon Mechiewski, Business faculty, Dr. Anna Fellegy, Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dan Jones, mostly know as Gaagigebines, two of my sons, Matthew and Aaron Ezigaa and their female companions, and Sawyer guy Sean Soukkala who was proudly sitting on the College drum.
My wife was invited to make fry bread and I was invited to recite poetry. I recited Vietnam War related poetry and saluted the veterans in the audience.
Mii sa iw