Once again we set up our Free Coffee For Veterans hooch

By Jim Northrup
News From Indian Country

The Sobriety Pow Wow was held in Sawyer at Mashkawisen. It was the 30th something annual event.
Once again we set up our Free Coffee For Veterans hooch. We gave coffee to veterans and to those who were delivering coffee to veterans. One local guy complained that the coffee was too sweet. In checking we determined he had poured coffee into the sugar cup and tried drinking that. We could hardly wait for him to leave so we could laugh about pouring coffee into the sugar cup and complaining about the taste of the free coffee.
We had many visitors to the hooch. One of my favorite visitors was Pauline Moose. In Northrup family history she is remembered as the young girl who wrote my letters home for me from Pipestone Boarding school about 64 years ago. I still remember her kindness in doing that for me until I learned how to write. She brought her daughter Trish who brought her son, a new young Marine. As a fellow Marine I gave him a ride in that 1964 Corvette and we swapped Marine Corps stories.
We had a good view of the doings, it was like High Def TV, we watched the dancers and we were there when the Sobriety runners arrived from Red Lake. According to my Google it is 170 miles to Red Lake from Sawyer. That is sure a lot of sobriety.
After the pow wow was over I overheard some dancers being disgruntled. They said they were paid twenty bucks for dancing all weekend. One guy said he came all the way from Toronto, Canada for a measly twenty bucks. Later I heard some singers saying they each got twenty bucks for singing all weekend.
The crowd size was smaller than I had seen before at this particular pow wow.

Gary Farmer showed up after the pow wow for a visit. He brought his wife Deb with him. He arrived in a 45 foot motor home, he was dragging a normal sized car behind the Land Yacht.
Gary told us about his latest movie called Winter In The Blood. It was made from a book by James Welch.
Deb wanted a ride in the Corvette so I fired it up and she began chanting Oh My God, Oh My God. I wasn't even driving fast.
I then drove slow to the Perch Lake rice landing so she could see the beautiful crop of manoomin growing thickly on that lake. We returned to Northrup Road and she told Gary about her ride and the manoomin she saw in the lake.
Later we had a feast on the deck and decided to sit around the fire pit in the yard as it got dark. Dr. Rick Gresczyk brought some people from the pow wow to meet Gary Farmer. The two sisters were from Lac La Croix in Canada and the singers and drummers were from White Earth. We all told stories in the glow and light of the fire. We laughed muchly.
The next morning we visited with Gary with coffee. My sister Jean Dufault and aunt Sharon Shabiash were on their daily walk and they stopped long enough to shake hands with Gary Farmer. The two women from Lac La Croix walked with the walkers but quickly walked away from the two older women from Sawyer who were doing maybe one mile per hour.
Gary Farmer had to unhook his normal size car from the Land Yacht so he could turn his motor home around. We waved goodbye for a long time after he was out of sight.

My good friend Gil Greensky died recently. According to my son Joe Northrup, Gil fell down while at work at the Fond du Lac Reservation Golf Course. An ambulance was called and he was taken to the hospital.
We join his wife Sandy and his 13 children who will mourn his passing. We shall long remember Gil. In thinking about Gil's death I remember when his dad Jake, and his mom, Katy Porter Greensky died. Gil must be with them now.

I read in the local newspaper that the U.S. Environmental Agency gave Polymet good news. Soon they can began polluting the rivers and lakes with government permission. I shudder when I think of the potential damage to hunting and fishing in Northeast Minnesota. Will my 1854 Treaty Rights be washed away with this friendly letter from the Feds to the mining company?

As a matter of policy, the Fond du Lac Follies will not use the racist term R******s to describe that NFL football team from Washington D.C. If I do write about them I will identify them as the team from D.and C..


Mii sa iw.


The views expressed in this column belong to the writer alone. They are not meant to represent this newspaper, civilian or Indian, this Reservation, Gary or Deb Farmer, my sister Jean or aunt Sharon, this village or anyone else. Comments and bingo packs can be sent to FdL Follies, PO Box 16, Sawyer, MN email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or face book.

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