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Come learn at language camp

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Fond du Lac Follies Cloquet,Minnesota 55720
Pine Journal
Come learn at language camp
Cloquet Minnesota 122 Avenue C 55720

The Fond du Lac Reservation's language camp will be held June 13, 14, 15 and 16. Once again the location will be Kiwenz Campground on the north shore of Big Lake in Sawyer, Minn.


For those who never heard of our language camp, I will offer this history. The first year we had 189 people register, the second year we had 400 people, third was 500 and last year we had 765 people


Planning is under way for this year's schedule of activities.

At the language camp in June, Charles Nahganub will show people how to smoke food to preserve it.

If you want to learn how to make moccasins, then Winnie LaPrairie's class is the one to attend.

Theresa Morrison will teach some of what she knows about beadwork. 

If you dreamed of making dream catchers, then Victoria Ellis has a class for you.

Randy Gresczyk will once again teach how to make drum sticks.

If you want to learn how to work with birch bark, Jim and Vern Northrup will show the tools they use and get people used to working with the material.

Frank Montano will show people how to make cedar flutes.

The mornings are reserved for learning Ojibwemowin through games and classroom learning. The afternoons and evenings will be open for learning a cultural subject. The fluent speakers will circulate through the camp.

Dan Jones, Ted Aatise, Loretta Ottertail, Mashkoob and others will be on the fluent speakers roster.

As before, we will have a First Responder on site if a medical emergency arises. Dr. Arne Vainio, MD, will be at the camp reprising his role as a mad scientist to teach the children about science.

The weather will not cause us to cancel any of our activities because in the old days people used the language regardless of the weather.

In my not so humble opinion I think most people enjoyed the canoe races. The reservation game wardens will provide the safety boat and crew. Once again we will have two styles of canoe racing. One will use paddles. The second method will use a rice pole with the poler standing in the front of the canoe.

There is no charge for the camp, although we will accept donations. Food will be provided. Campers are being asked to bring their own eating utensils.

And speaking of eating we will have a $10-a-plate dinner and an active art auction. It is rumored that Rick Gresczyk will be the auctioneer. The doings will be held at 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 13, at the Sawyer Community Center, 3243 Moorhead Road, at the intersection of Mission and Moorhead Roads.


Question: In broken English what did the Shinnob tell the mechanic about his car?

Answer: Idle no more.

Seriously, I admire the people who are dancing at the Idle No More events. I wish they had chosen a different name, however. To me, it sounds like we have been idle and thereby fitting a stereotype of lazy Indians.


It is winter and that means it is prime time for storytelling. Fond du Lac Follies has motored south to tell stories to students at the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota. I was most impressed by the storytelling done by the Dakota language students about animals.

Rick Gresczyk told stories about animals and he used stuffed animals for props. In one of the stories the animal died and Rick illustrated that by laying down on the floor, he was real still then raised one leg and shook it then lowered it back to the floor.  

I enjoyed Colin Weesaw's stories also.


Fond du Lac Follies motored to the east to Northland College in Ashland, Wis., to tell stories and recite poetry. Niningwanis Kris went along as my bodyguard/driver.  

Highway Two in Wisconsin is known for having lake effect snow but the pavement was dry all the way.  We didn't see one deer trying to cross the road either.  

Dr. Joe Rose told stories about treaties made and broken by the U.S. government. I listened in fascination as he told his stories. One story was about the return of Chief Buffalo's pipe to the Anishinaabe of Wisconsin. Someone gave Dr. Rose a pipe that was an exact replica of the famous pipe. I could tell by how he handled it he was fond of the pipe.


In February we celebrated my wife's 63rd birthday. Just think she was 26 when I first met her. How did she age so gracefully without losing any major body parts like I did? It must be the luck of the Irish, no wait, she ain't Irish, she is full blood Dakota.

Mii iw

The views expressed in this column belong to the writer alone. They are not meant to represent this newspaper, the Fond du Lac Reservation, Fonjalackers or anyone else. Comments and bingo packs can be sent to FdL Follies, PO Box 16, Sawyer, MN 55780-0016, email:, or find him on Facebook.