Double homicide in Cromwell

News From Indian Country February 2011

Fond du Lac Follies motored to the Cloquet Community Center for our Ojibwe language table. Niib Aubid was our teacher like he was last fall. But, this evening we departed from our usual format because we had visitors, 35 of them by my count. Most of them seemed to be from the Rez Department of Natural Resources.

13 Moons, a collaborative effort between the Reservation and the University of Minnesota Extension, are working on preserving the Anishinaabe culture. Dr. David Wilsey is the head of the project; he is assisted by his able assistant Nikkie Crowe.

They came like Greeks bearing gifts in addition to food.

The gifts were copies of the DVD called Inaaadiziwin, an Ojibwe language learning tool. This was created by the Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission of Odanah, Wisconsin with funds provided by the Administration for Native Americans, US Department of Health and Human Services.

Nikki explained they got 500 copies of the DVD for Fond du Lac Band members.

With the aid of a computer and a projector Nikki walked us through the DVD. One of the audience members pointed out the DVD does not work on Apple computers however. It was good to see so many people interested in the Ojibwe language.


I was shocked by the event in Tucson, Arizona where six people were killed and 18 were wounded by a deranged gunman. I wasn’t shocked by the fact that it happened because events like these are becoming quite common in America. What shocked me was the non-stop coverage of the shootings and the aftermath. The media feeding frenzy went on for longer than two weeks.

What shocked me was the fact that Americans were also being wounded and killed in Afghanistan and not one word was mentioned in the mainstream media about them.

As a Marine I was wondering how many of my fellow Marines had died in the past month in that undeclared war. I could not find the numbers anywhere.
Does this mean the deaths only count when they happen in a shopping mall? I sure hope not.

Why don’t we know about the deaths from overseas? Is it some kind of state secret? Are the families of the servicemen the only ones impacted?

If we begin to question the number of Americans killed shouldn’t we also ask the question why? Why did they die in Afghanistan?


There was a double homicide in Cromwell, a village about ten miles west of Sawyer. In writing about the terrible crime the Duluth News Tribune stated the shooting happened near the boundary of the Fond du Lac Indian Reservation. I read it again and couldn’t see why that bit of information was included in the story. Was the newspaper trying to stir up some racial hatred?

The killer or killers are unknown at this time so there was no reason to include the Reservation or Fond du Lac people in the story.

I wrote an email to a reporter from the newspaper, she kicked my email upstairs to her boss. In the email I asked if they used editors down there anymore.

A couple days later I got an email from Robin Washington, Editor of the Duluth newspaper. He agreed that the reference to the Fond du Lac Indian Reservation shouldn’t have been in the story.

He further explained that one of his reporters talked with our Chair, Karen Diver. The reporter asked her if the Fond du Lac Police were helping with the investigation. That was supposed to be part of the story but somehow it wasn’t. So, the reference to the Fond du Lac Indian Reservation wasn’t germane to the story.

Robin Washington said the reference to the Fond du Lac Indian Reservation was removed from the online version of the newspaper. He said it was a teachable moment.

He told me I was right.


Anishinaabe Syndicated, the book drawn from the first twelve years of the Fond du Lac Follies is out and will be in the bookstores and Amazon’s warehouses soon. I got 20 copies but they disappeared quicker than a Popsicle in hot fry bread grease.

Now, like everyone else, I have to wait for more copies.


Planning for the Storytelling/Silent Auction/ Feast fundraiser will be held on Saturday, Feb. 19th at the Sawyer Community Center. The doings will start at 1300 and continue until 1800.

The money raised will be used to defray the costs of the 3rd Annual Ojibwe Immersion Camp on June 23, 24, 25, and 26 held here in Sawyer.

So, circle the date or carve it in your forearm so you can attend this event. For further information please contact Pat Northrup at 218 878 0245 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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The views expressed in this column belong to the writer alone. They are not meant to represent this newspaper, the Fond du Lac Rez, Fonjalackers or anyone else. Comments and bingo packs can be sent to FdL Follies, PO Box 16, Sawyer, MN 55780 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.