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Ojibwe themed ‘The Dance Boots’ leads discussion for One Book, One Community

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One Book, One Community invites everyone to read, discuss, and attend programs on this year's reading selection, "The Dance Boots" by local author Linda LeGarde Grover.

This year's One Book, One Community book selection is unique in having been chosen by library users. It's also unique in that the author is a local writer.

Four books were proposed for the community reading project by a committee that included librarians from the Cloquet, Duluth, Superior and Virginia public libraries. The public was then invited to make the final choice, voting online and by ballot in area libraries last fall.

"The Dance Boots," the first work of fiction by Linda LeGarde Grover, was published in 2010 by the University of Georgia Press, which honored the book with its Flannery O'Connor Award. LeGarde Grover is Associate Professor of American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota-Duluth (UMD).

This is the first time in the 14-year history of the Arrowhead Region's One Book, One Community reading project that a local author has been selected. It's also the first time a book by a Native American author has been chosen.

"The Dance Boots" is a sometimes humorous, sometimes tragic collection of eight connected stories chronicling the lives of the women of the LaForce family living on the fictional Mozhay Point Indian Reservation near Duluth. The stories cover several generations of lives including those who attended government boarding schools in the early 1900s. The boarding school experience casts a long shadow on those seeking insight into their Native heritage, though the older generations seldom spoke of their troubling experiences. Solace for troubled lives is redeemed through stories and family relationships.

LeGarde Grover grew up in Duluth and is a member of the Bois Forte Band of Chipewa (Ojibwe) near Lake Vermillion. Her second book of fiction, published last fall by the University of Minnesota Press, is a short novel titled "The Road Back to Sweet Grass." She grew up writing poetry and was encouraged to turn to fiction by her dissertation advisor at UMD, Tom Peacock. She selected eight related stories she had already completed in response to a call for manuscripts by the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas in 2008. The result was a contract with the University of Georgia Press to publish the collection.

LeGarde Grover will discuss "The Dance Boots" at the library at noon on Tuesday, April 21. The program will be held in the format of an interview conducted by Duluth author and district court judge Mark Munger, followed by questions from the audience. LeGarde Grover and Munger attended Denfeld High School together in Duluth.

In keeping with references to a wedding quilt in "The Dance Boots," a lap-sized quilt donated by Carlton County quilters will be displayed at the author's appearances at area libraries. The white quilt with calico prints will be raffled during a quilt show at the library on Tuesday, April 28. Proceeds from the raffle will go toward expenses for next year's One Book project. Pine Needle Quilters has extended an invitation to anyone who would like to bring their own quilt with a story behind it ( contact the library to arrange a time). The quilt show is the final program in Cloquet for this year's One Book, One Community.

Library events begin at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 13, with a screening of "George Morrison: Reflections" on modernist artist George Morrison. Following the documentary, noted jazz guitarist Briand Morrison, a noted jazz guitarist, will present a slide show of his father's work set to his own guitar music.

Among other events will be the local film premiere of "The Jingle Dress," introduced by the film's director, Bill Eigen, at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 25, in Room 195 at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College.

A complete schedule of events is available at the library.

The Cloquet Public Library will again promote the “One Book, One Community” initiative during April. The 2015 book selection is “The Dance Boots” by Linda LeGarde Gover.

Events at the library for “One Book, One Community,” which are all free, include the following:

Monday, April 13, at 6:30 p.m. — Film Documentary, “George Morrison: Reflections”

This film documentary on modernist artist George Morrison will be introduced by producer Lorraine Norrgard and followed by a slideshow of Morrison's work set to the jazz guitar music of Briand Morrison, the artist's son. A question-and-answer period with Lorraine Norrgard and Briand Morrison will follow.

Saturday, April 18, at 10 a.m. — “The Murder of Joe White”

UMD professor Erik Redix will talk about the murder case of an Indian tribal leader by Wisconsin game wardens.

Monday, April 20, at 6:30 p.m. — Book Discussion

The Cloquet Library Reading Club will discuss “The Dance Boots” by Linda LeGarde Grover.

Tuesday, April 21, at noon — Author Discussion, Book Signing

Linda LeGarde Grover, author of “The Dance Boots,” will discuss her work with author Mark Munger. Signed copies will be available for purchase.

Saturday, April 25, at 3 p.m. — Film, “The Jingle Dress.”

This local première of the film will be introduced by director William Eigen. A Native American family leaves their northern Minnesota reservation to start a new life in Minneapolis. Note: this event, which is also free, will be held at the Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College auditorium.

Tuesday, April 28, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. — Quilt Display

Cloquet-area quilters will display their craft, tell stories behind the quilts, and demonstrate quilting techniques. If you would like to bring a quilt with a story to tell, contact the Cloquet Public Library at 218-879-1531. There will be a raffle drawing for a quilt at noon, with Linda LeGarde Grover.

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