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.
- Member for
- 4 years 11 months
"Giving back" is a phrase that I have been hearing more and more often these days, and think that it is an endearing concept: "giving back." The basic idea is that we have received much and that in doing for others we are reciprocating.
Do you remember last winter, the one that seemed to linger so long? Last April, in the middle of that series of unusual late spring blizzards, we LeGarde girls and our out-of-state cousins communicated through Facebook about their planned trip to Minnesota in mid-August. They would be here for the Grand Portage powwow, and to visit relatives and places and memories from our own childhoods as well as our fathers'.
The first time a young woman acknowledged me as an elder by bringing me a plate of food was some years ago at a feast up north. It is the custom at many Native feasts for the elders to eat first, and for younger people to make sure that older people are ahead of them in the food line. We are often gently reminded of this, right after the prayer of thanks. "We invite the elders to come up first," someone will announce, "...
A & Dubs, the seasonal root beer stand near the ore docks in the West End, has been owned and run by the same family for a long time. When I was a teenager during the 1960s it was an established destination for dates, family treat occasions, and cruisers. The West End neighborhood of Duluth is also known as Lincoln Park, named after the wilderness park where Lincoln Creek flows down the hill paralleling 26th Avenue West. The area begins near the foot of Piedmont and ends near the ore docks, just west of A & Dubs.
Last weekend's Native poetry and music event "Moonlight Over Stone: Poetry in Sacred Places" was a treat to attend. It was held at the American Indian Community Housing Organization's beautifully remodeled Trepanier Hall, which adjoins the Gimaajii Mino Bimaadiziwin building (the old YWCA building.) It is a wonderful example of community collaboration. For me, it was quite an experience and gift to be part of the program with Oneida poet Roberta Hill and the Fond du Lac-Duluth area Oshkii Giizhig woman singers.
Ziigwaan, the season of Mother Earth's awakening and renewal, brings us noticeably longer days that, cloudy or clear, are filled with the beauty of daylight. This year's unusually long-lasting wintery weather has delayed for just a bit some of the other gifts of spring that by late April we usually see and hear.
Here in Onigamiising, this past week the UMD Survey of American Indian Arts class watched the documentary film "Teachings of the Tree People" which introduced us to the late Bruce Miller, who was a Skokomish weaver, carver, and teacher of traditional arts and culture. In Skokomish tradition, the tree people are the spirits of the woods; Mr.
Last weekend I stopped by brother's house with two of my granddaughters. We were bringing a spring-or-fall jacket, a lightweight red quilted nylon outgrown, in nice condition and adorably cute, for one of his little girls. As we drove up we could see them playing outside in the snow; when we walked across the porch to the back door we stepped over and around dolls and toys arranged in a pattern of domesticity understood only by children. (Why were Barbie dolls sitting on the laps of baby dolls, and why was Ken's head separated from his body?
It came up in the middle of a conversation about our cars' block heaters, her daughter's English class, and a fundraiser event at school. With some concern in her voice, one of my daughters mentioned to me last week that she is "still learning" how to parent her two children, who are 10 and 16. She seemed to be wondering if she should have it all figured out by now.
The "One Vegetable One Community" program's 2013 Vegetable of the Year selection is squash, which is indigenous to the western hemisphere and believed to be the oldest-cultivated food in North America. Squash has been a staple of American Indian diets since long before European immigration. Because it is easy to grow and store in a variety of climates (and because it is pretty, easy to cook and tasty) it continues as a food that we Native people and our honored and welcomed friends continue to enjoy.