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Column: Good Life in Winter: arts, crafts, food and fun

Linda LeGarde Grover

Biiboon Bimaadiziwin, the "Good Life in Winter" holiday craft show and bazaar is sponsored by AICHO, the American Indian Community Housing Organization.

It will be a great opportunity to support local artists and crafters, try some delicious foods, and to socialize with friends and neighbors. The event takes place on Friday, Dec. 13, from 3 to 6 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 14, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Trepanier Hall, 212 W. Second Street.

I love the name for this event because it is so "Anishinaabe."

"Biiboon" is the Ojibwe word for wintertime, that season of snow and colder temperatures that give us pause to rest along with Mother Earth as she sleeps under her blanket of white, dreaming as she replenishes for the coming of springtime.

"Bimaadiziwin" is the word that describes the living of a life that is based upon the traditional values of gratitude, humility, generosity and awareness of the spiritual and physical worlds.

Add to these things the celebration of arts, crafts, music, food, and an opportunity to socialize and we get Biiboon Bimaadiziwin, two days of Anishinaabe fun and celebration!

I heard about Biiboon Bimaadiziwin from a friend who has been part of the planning of several of the community events that AICHO has sponsored in the past year. These events have included musical programs, art exhibits, poetry and literature readings and powwows ... and now a holiday craft bazaar!

Trepanier Hall adjoins Gimaajii, which is the former YWCA building that now houses families in apartments that were recently renovated and expanded from the small single rooms and shared bathrooms of the old "Y" that housed single women years ago.

There have been quite a lot of changes made in this building, but the lobby looks as elegantly old-fashioned as ever: the restoration of that large and beautiful room was so carefully and conscientiously done that, walking in the front doors, I can easily imagine myself back in the mid-1960s, stopping at the Y to buy a pack of gum (for 5 cents!) on my way home from the old public library on Second Street.

Decades ago community meetings and get-togethers were held at Trepanier Hall, and I remember the fun we had at powwows and potluck feasts. Today, I

admire the beautifully renovated Trepanier auditorium, and the carefully restored lobby and meeting rooms in Gimaajii. These buildings and organizations certainly provide not just an attractive historical appeal that dresses up downtown, but wonderful resources and opportunities for the people of Duluth as well as the entire region.

Biiboon Bimaadiziwin is shaping up to be another successful and memorable AICHO-sponsored occasion: more than 30 local artists and entrepreneurs will be selling jewelry, knitted goods, beadwork, books, wreaths, pottery, calendars, baskets, artwork and much more.

Food vendors will be making fresh blueberry frybread, walking tacos, soup and sandwiches, coffee, popcorn, and other good treats.

There will be some wonderful music playing, a raffle, and something really unique: a "re-gifting" (bring one and take one) table! What a great idea: I will surely spend some time at the "re-gifting" table trading and bartering in the good old-fashioned Anishinaabe way!

My daughters and I are not highly skilled crafters, but we have been having fun putting some things together for Biiboon Bimaadiziwin, and along with the 30-some other vendors we have reserved a table for our crafts and book offerings.

I have no doubt that we will be taking home at least as much as (and probably more than) we bring to Biiboon Bimaadiziwin, and so will bring along a couple of extra tote bags. We are really looking forward to the occasion!

WHAT: Biiboon Bimaadiziwin holiday craft show and bazaar

WHEN: Friday, Dec. 13, from 3 to 6 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 14, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

WHERE: Trepanier Hall, 212 W. Second St.

WHY: To support local artists and crafters

HOW: Sponsored by AICHO - American Indian Community Housing Organization

Linda Legarde Grover

Monthly columnist Linda LeGarde Grover is a professor of American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth, an award-winning writer and a member of the Bois Forte Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe.