Seven bucks for a bottle of beer


The Fond du Lac Reservation’s language table is once again in operation. David Niib Aubid has agreed to be our teacher. Dan Jones, who was our teacher before, has gone on sabbatical and is now trapping. Niib brings a life long use of the language to the table, in addition to decades of experience teaching Ojibwe.

We learners will be learning from one of the best. The Reservation leadership should be thanked for their help in protecting and preserving Ojibwemowin. The language table happens every Wednesday evening from 1700 until 1900, for those not familiar with the military method of designating time, it means from 5 to 7 pm.

Now all we need are people willing to learn the language. We all bring something to eat first, then we talk. We have all levels of fluency among the participants ranging from beginners, to more beginners. So, Fonjalackers and others, come and learn more Ojibwe than you knew before.

**** The little village of Sawyer is changing right before our eyes. Remember that old gravel pit that used to be on the east side of Mission Road just south of Moorhead? Well, now it is a new gravel pit.

**** My son Jim and I motored to Perch Lake for some canoe time. We were there to take our share of the annual gift of manoomin. We made an offering of asema in gratitude. Jim and I have been ricing partners for many years. He is canoe savvy and I never have to worry about him tipping us over. He poles from the front and I have to sometimes tell him to slow down because the manoomin is going by too fast. Jim reads the wind and zig zags into it, then turns the canoe around and runs with it.

We talk of many things as we cruise along, some good father-son time methinks. We didn’t know where the good stands of manoomin were on the lake so we just followed Tuna Nahganub, one of the Fonjalackers responsible for making sure we have good stands of manoomin.

Tuna was in a canoe with my brother Russ so we just followed them around. We did stop for a lunch break and we traded stories and sandwiches. It is always a good feeling to be out on the lake. The sun felt good on my face and we watched the birds using the wind.

We did what we usually do out on the lake and then came ashore. Most of the others at the landing were sacking up and hauling their manoomin to the game wardens. There, the manoomin was weighed, and the people were given a slip of paper saying how much their manoomin was worth at the rate of four dollars a pound.

Tuna and Russ, Jimmy and I didn’t sell our manoomin. We wanted to take it home and finish it, so we did. Some things are worth more than four dollars a pound. I think we have enough to last until the next manoomin season.

**** With other Sawyer community members, Fond du Lac Follies bussed to Minneapolis. We went to watch a football game, the Minnesota Vikings were going to play the Miami Dolphins. When we went down with the community before to a football game we had a luxury coach. The kind of coach that has a bathroom in the back. This time we were in a shorter bus, and it wasn’t long before people were talking about being in the short bus.

I was feeling a bit of culture shock being there mixed into the crowd of 63,815 people. Actually I only counted 63,750. On the way in I got a tub of popcorn for the amazing price of seven bucks. I noticed beer was selling for seven bucks a bottle. It would be difficult to be a drunk there I thought.

We weren’t in the nosebleed section but we could smell it. This wasn’t the most spectacular game I ever saw, wasn’t even in the top 100. The Vikings played but didn’t win. The less said the better.

**** Fond du Lac Follies motored to Minny to talk to students in Rick Gresczyk’s class on Native Literature. My nephew Kris volunteered to be my bodyguard/driver/photographer. We used my wife’s Old Lady Buick. The Corvette was in the shop and that is all we have to say about that. I stood on my hind heels and recited poetry, and read some passages from my upcoming book Anishinaabe Syndicated, A View From The Rez. I also gave out some writing exercises.

It was gratifying, I looked and everyone had thier heads down, writing just hard, including the teacher. All in all, all of us had a good time.

**** Mii sa iw.


The views expressed in this column belong to the writer alone. They are not meant to
represent this newspaper or anyone else, Comments can be sent to FdL Follies,
PO Box 16, Sawyer, Mn 55780-0016. Email: