A View from the Rez
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: Minnesota Historical Society Press
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Introduction: Awenen Aawaad
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To truly introduce Jim Northrup properly, I would use the words above. He is a member of the bear clan, which explains the fierce and firm way he protects those he loves—their collective culture and their individual everyday lives. He is a warrior, a marine who fought in Vietnam, and he is one who came home bearing the ...
Preface: Fond du Lac Follies and a Writer’s Life
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I write how it is on the reservation. The usual term for this place is the rez—specifically, the Fond du Lac Reservation in what is now called Minnesota. In the Ojibwe language, Nagaajiwanaang. I rely on the oral tradition to tell my stories, so I move from one topic to another. This approach lets me include many different stories ...
1. Didja Ever Notice? - 1989
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Didja ever notice the bingo hall seems to be full of ex-drunks? At the end of the evening the bingo players have something to show for their money—dauber juice stains on their fingers. The bingo players also have a chance to win thousands of dollars. Didja ever notice? Bingo money doesn’t seem to last as long as regular money. ...
2. I Will Snag No More Forever - 1990
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Fond du Lac Follies went on the road. We motored to Minny, which is Rez slang for Minneapolis, to see the Rolling Stones. We had ordered the tickets last ricing season and the day had finally arrived. We waded into the crowd. After checking the tickets, we found the right gate. On the way in we saw people who wanted to scalp our ...
3. American Americans - 1991
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It was tribal court time on the Fond du Lac Reservation. Before the wheels of justice began to turn, the Shinnobs smoked red willow. Anishinaabe Judge Dee Fairbanks came in. She seemed upset about the smell. The first order of business was to outlaw smoking in the courtroom a half hour before she arrived because of her asthmatic ...
4. A Combat Cornet - 1992
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Why is it that refugees of color end up in detention camps and federal lockups? The most recent example is the Haitians being held at the military base at Guantanamo, Cuba. Meanwhile Russians are welcomed with open arms and open pocketbooks. According to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, some 200,000 Russians ...
5. Iron Legs - 1993
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The Todd County Museum is going to return the bones to the earth. D. Hayes told me he contacted Earl Sargeant and Hamline University. To paraphrase Spike Lee, thank you Todd County Museum for doing the right thing. Welcome to the world to James Warren Northrup IV, recently ...
6. Self-Sanding Roads - 1994
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Christmas—what a bummer. My earliest memories of Christmas were formed at the federal boarding school at Pipestone. We were given presents of ribbon candy and fruit. All it meant to me was some big guy was going to beat me up and take my presents. When I was in the Christian boarding school I was older so no one beat me ...
7. Full-Blooded White People - 1995
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Hell just froze over because Fonjalackers got a per capita gambling payment. After almost fifteen years of high-stakes bingo and gambling casinos, we got a check for $1,500 each. That comes out to a little over a hundred dollars a year. I’m glad we got the money. Now Mom can get that operation and I can send my kids to Harvard. I ...
8. Indian-Looking Indians - 1996
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Fond du Lac Follies has been motoring nowhere. That’s right. After months of having to be somewhere, now I just sit at home and work. How radical. A writer who writes? Like a lot of people, I have to commute to work. Nowadays, my commute is measured in feet. The computer is just a few steps across the bedroom. I really appreciate that ...
9. Treaty Rights Are Not for Sale - 1997
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We are hunkering down for winter on the Fond du Lac Reservation. I have winterized the rez car. I put warm clothing in the back seat for when the car breaks down and I have to walk for help. I don’t know what’s wrong with that car. It has started on every below-zero day we have had. ...
10. Blue as a White Guy’s Eyes - 1998
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Fond du Lac Follies motored to Minny to catch a jet to Norway. What? Norway again? Yup, they wanted to learn more about Shinnobs, so they invited me back. I was blessed on this trip because I got to meet a genuine rent-a-shaman. There are quite a few fake rent-a-shamans around, but this one was real. He was advertised ...
11. So Sioux Me - 1999
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Fond du Lac Follies motored to Madison, Wisconsin. It was part business but mostly fun. I had fun avoiding the gauntlet of casinos on my road trip. The first one I evaded was Black Bear, then Fond-du-Luth. I waved as I drove by the Majestic Pines and Ho-Chunk casinos. I arrived in Madison with my frog skins intact and met David ...
12. Smoking Moccasins - 2000
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I don’t like to admit it, but those Christmas lights are driving me up the pole. What do they mean? What is accomplished by stringing lights all around the house? What do the lights have to do with the birth of the Christ child? Are the lights supposed to help Santa Claus find the house? As I drive around the reservation, I see a lot ...
13. Brown-Bellied Sapsucker - 2001
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Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2011