Followng the Follies: Jim and my novel research

By Tysa Goodrich
News From Indian Country 10-09

Jim Northrup sent me his latest follies, and I told him I would send you a few of the photos I took while visiting Fond du Lac.

Jim asked me if my visit helped in the research for my novel, which I'm now over halfway through, and I told him that I learned things I would never have learned by reading a book, like... how there was this tremendous anticipation in the morning dew as the people showed up one by one with their canoes, the Ojibwe language being spoken with such grace by certain of the people, the Fond du Lac conservation officers swapping stories when all was quiet, when the people were out harvesting, the trumpeter swans lifting out of the high rice beds as the canoes made their way further out, the calls of the birds echoing across the land and water, and how tired all the people were when they returned.

And, of course, learning to split wood, as Jim talks about in his follies.  It was an honor to have experienced such a personal and sacred event for the Ojibwe people.

I am grateful to Jim and his family, and to all the people who were there that day on Dead Fish Lake.