Putting the Corvette away for the winter

by Jim Northrup
News From Indian Country

My son, Aaron Ezigaa, needed to go to Duluth for an eye exam so he could get his drivers permit. He had earlier passed the written part of the test.

I picked him up from school and he got into that beautiful ‘64 Corvette. On the freeway trip to Duluth I began pounding his ears with driver’s tips and tried to sound wisdomful. He listened.

I went inside to help ease his way through the bureaucratic process. The bureaucrat behind the counter turned out to be related to “Bouda”, one of the Reservation Business Committee members. He gave Aaron the eye test, took his picture, and took ten dollars from me. I asked when it would be legal for Aaron to drive. The bureaucrat told me he would be legal as soon as he walked out the door.

When we got outside I gave Aaron the Corvette keys and told him to take me home. He looked at me to see if I was kidding. When I got into the passenger seat I could see the grin beginning on his face. He got behind the steering wheel, buckled his seat belt, carefully adjusted the mirrors and fired that big, loud motor up. He casually drove through the traffic on the Duluth streets until he got to the freeway. He was smiling big as he eased into the traffic on the Interstate. He smiled for the next 35 miles on the way home.

The next day I told him we were going to put the Corvette away for the winter.

The next day my son drove me to the Reservation’s C-Store where we gassed up (20 cents a gallon off for Fond du Lac Band members) and washed the outside of the Corvette. We toweled it dry then motored to Brookston for the community pow wow. Aaron Ezigaa sat in the Corvette driver’s seat while I went in to Boozhoo everyone I knew. I saw my cousin Duunk, Lee Staples, Bouda Smith and cousin Chetty enjoying the doings. Aaron put the fuel stabilizer in and covered the car with a canvas tarp. Next we shall jack it up to take the weight off the tires and bearings. The final act for preparing for winter is to put moth balls in the car to keep the mice from eating the wires.

Last month I wrote that I had made a ricer, this month I made a Corvette driver.


A long time reader of the Fond du Lac Follies died. Maza Amani Win, also known as Pearl LaBatte, age 90, of Granite Falls, MN, was a fluent Dakota speaker. She left to join her relatives on November 11th.


Question of the Month, Ojibberish Division:

Q. What do you call that thing?

A. Zaka’iganiBIC

Mii gwech Niib


Fond du Lac Follies motored to the Community Center here in Sawyer. I know I could have very easily walked but I had to go to town later so I drove.

The occasion was the Quarterly meeting of the Reservation Business Committee. It is one of four times a year when Fond du Lac voters can meet with their leaders in an almost forum-like setting.

The Chair, Karen Diver, was sitting at the table facing the audience. She was flanked by Ferd Martineau, the Secretary-Treasurer, and Sandra Shabiash, the Sawyer representative. I was related to two-thirds of the leaders. The Fond du Lac voters faced them from their rows of chairs. The Chair explained that the representatives from Cloquet, Gene Reynolds and Brookston’s Bouda Smith were at meetings out of state.

Nitaawis Rick Defoe opened the meeting by smoking his pipe and by speaking Ojibwe to the people.

The meeting began and quickly fell off the agenda wagon because the Fond du Lac voters had questions and wanted answers from their leaders. The questions were mostly about job policies and financial matters. At times the questions were quite shrill. The RBC members answered the questions as best they could. I noticed they were making notes when tough questions were asked.

One angry voter walked toward the leaders and as part of her question said she was going to slap Karen Diver. The other voters grumbled and growled at her and she quickly added … with a lawsuit.

The almost endless questions continued for several hours. The RBC members tried to answer each one. I know from watching the RBC meetings in the past most leaders would have declared the meeting out of order and banged a gavel to end it. This group of leaders talked with the voters and continued talking as we were all walking to our cars.

Two things I gleaned from the meeting is voters wanted these meeting monthly and wanted all of the leaders there.

The views in this column belong to the writer alone, they are not meant to represent this newspaper, this Reservation, the RBC, the Fond du Lac voters or anyone else.

Comments and bingo packs can be sent to FdL Follies, PO Box 16, Sawyer, MN 55780-0016

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web page: www.nativewiki.org/Jim_Northrup