Follies: 444 months together and now deciding to get hitched

by Jim Northrup
News From Indian Country
The hearing on the petition to remove Karen Diver, eshpabid in Ojibwe, or leader, was well attended by the Fond du Lac people. The setting was the gym at the Cloquet Community Center. There were four tables with chairs at one end of the gym. One was for the four RBC members, one was for Karen Diver, another table was for two Court clerks and attorney Henry Buffalo. The Tribal Judge stood at another.

There were rows of chairs for the people of Fond du Lac, the Fonjalackers, some chose to sit in the bleachers. One Fonjalacker wanted to know why Henry Buffalo was there. He explained that he was representing the RBC. Right away I wondered where our crack Rez lawyer Dennis Peterson was; he usually represents the RBC in legal matters. As a Fonjalacker I wondered how much money was paid to Henry Buffalo for his representation.

Like most of those attending I wanted to hear the evidence of her alleged wrongdoing. My three sons and I had signed the petition for a hearing.

The new Judge opened the proceedings and told us no other evidence would be allowed at the hearing. The RBC members could only use the petition in their deliberations. For me it was difficult to understand the Judge because she was an “Um” speaker; every third or fourth word was “Um.”

Pretty soon all I was hearing was her “Um.”

The entire RBC left the hearing room and were gone for about an hour while they were making a decision about The Chair. The RBC came back in and announced their findings. The vote was for dismissal of all charges on all counts. The vote was 4 for dismissal; Karen Diver abstained from voting.

As the people left my son Jim asked me if we had signed the moo list. I told him I thought we had.


You can tell a lot about a person by the kind of magazines they steal from the doctor’s waiting room.


The Thursday night Ojibwe language table was well attended in their first meeting of the new year. By my count there were more than 20 humans who showed up to speak and learn more of the our ancient language. It was a good feeling.

Dan Jones, our teacher from the Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, was there with his knowledge and humor.

Fonjalacker Chuck Smith prayed with tobacco and wa’aw manido-miijim. After the meal that included wild rice, chicken, veggie snacks, a mac salad and sweets, we begin to use Ojibwe.

Dan started off by getting everyone to raise their hand and swear they would not use English for the rest of the evening. He then asked different ones to introduce themselves in Ojibwe. The students said their name, their clan and where they were from. Dan then asked us questions after each speaker was done. We took turns trying to answer using only Ojibwe. It was a learning experience because we had to listen and pronounce unfamiliar words.


Hugo Chavez of Venezuela gave us a Christmas gift of warmth. It was either a late Christmas or an early Christmas depending on whether you look ahead or behind on the calendar. Thanks Hugo.

The gift of warmth was spread out among more Shinnobs than last year. I learned that the Red Lake Reservation had recently joined the pool of Skins getting the gift of warm from Hugo.

So Hugo, when you read the Follies you can see one Fonjalacker wants to say, apii ji go mii gwech.


Fond du Lac Follies motored to Duluth to be part of an anti-war panel. My son Aaron Ezigaa did the driving. The cold was measured at being below zero.

We got there a bit early and hung around and watched the activists arrive.

I spoke second and introduced myself in Ojibwe. I like to do that because it takes away my stage fright. After the introduction I introduced Aaron Ezigaa to the crowd and told them he was 17 and was my main reason for being anti-war.

I recited several Vietnam-related poems to illustrate how that war had affected me and was still affecting me some 40 years later.


My sister Susan Northrup and Ringo Starr, no I mean Ringo Smith of Red Lake, made a major decision the other day. They have been going steady for the past 37 years and decided to get married. After two kids and 444 months of learning about each other they decided to take a chance and will get hitched in February. As the older brother I told Suzy no sense rushing into things. We wish for another 37 years of bliss for those two. Geget gosha. Mii iw.