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Fond du Lac Follies...Changes to tribal laws inspire mixed feelings

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What a move the voters from White Earth made. I think the future of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, which is a federal corporation, is in jeopardy. The Minnesota Chippewa Tribe does not have treaty rights. To think the Bands can make up their own constitutions without Tribe approval is quite the big leap for democracy on the Reservations.

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White Earth will finally get rid of the blood quantum rule. No more one quarter requirement to be considered Anishinaabe. I have grandchildren who can't be enrolled. Who came up with that idea in the first place?

I think the separation of powers is another good idea. I remember a few years back when an election dispute was happening here at Fond du Lac. The judge was ordered not to hold a hearing, she disagreed and wanted to hold the hearing. Before she could gavel the court open, she was fired by the Reservation Business Committee.

*****

Fond du Lac Follies motored to Minneapolis to speak at Dr. Rick Gresczyk's class at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. It was pleasant to hear his students speaking Ojibwe. I introduced myself in Ojibwe and told some stories and recited poetry. Then the students did a round dance to a drum and we ate together. All in all it was a pleasant experience.

I found out later the president of the college attended the gathering.

Of course, I had to stop for gas and sweet rolls in Hinckley.

*****

Ray Earley, a PFC with one hashmark, and I got together at his house to celebrate the Marine Corp's 238th birthday. The current joke was, "238? You don't look a day over 200." We celebrated at his house in Hugo, Minn.

It was a tiny Birthday Ball and it was easy to tell who was the oldest Marine and youngest Marine because there was only two of us there. We were so low key we cut the cake with my K-Bar instead of my NCO sword. I did bring along my entrenching tool just in case.

We didn't sing the Hymn but did dial my phone because the ring tone sings it better than either of us.

I can hardly wait for the next Marine Corps Birthday Ball.

The day after the Marine Corps birthday, Ray and I motored to Sheridan Park in north Minneapolis. The event was the unveiling of a war memorial as constructed by artist Robert Smart. Last summer he came to my house and made a plaster cast or my face. He also did my son Matthew's face and some family friends.

When he first asked and told me of the process I had but one question. I asked if the hot cast iron came anywhere near my face. Rob told me he would make a plaster cast and that would be where the liquid cast iron would be poured. So they made a plaster cast of my face while I breathed through my nostrils as the plaster hardened for about 20 minutes.

Ray and I used our Google map to figure out a route to get to the war memorial from Hugo, Minn. When we got there, I helped wheel Ray in his chair to the cast iron replica of my face. It was cold with the wind whistling off the Mississippi River at the edge of the park. I met Jan Smart, Rob's mother, and we laughed together as we were talking about the plaster casting process.

The wind was cold and the speeches were mercifully short as we stood freezing in the park. We saluted as the American flag was raised. Ray went back to his car to warm up and I went to my truck. I made a new rule for myself: always go to the bathroom before standing out in the cold.

*****

Fond du Lac Follies motored to The College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, at the invitation of Christina Woods. She wanted me to tell some boarding school stories from back when I was a little pup. I told my stories and the audience listened closely. I think part of my memories shocked them.

I was glad to see my niece, Chally, as one of the audience members. It should be noted that Christina Woods is also one of the on-air talents for Native Report as broadcast on PBS. She shares the screen with Stacey Thunder.

*****

North Hennepin Community College invited me to speak to an audience composed of students and some faculty members. So, I stood up on my hind legs and told stories about life on the Rez and stories from my time in the Vietnam War.

I like to think I enlightened the students with my stories.

*****

I believe there will be a change in the way the Fond du Lac Language Camp will be run this year.

The views expressed in this column belong to the writer alone. Comments and bingo packs can be sent to FdL Follies, PO Box 16, Sawyer, MN 55780. Email jimnorthrupfdl.gmail.com and find him on Facebook, too.

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