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
The loveliest and most endearing children's book I have read in a long time is "The Christmas Coat: Memories of My Sioux Childhood," by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve (Holiday House Books). One of the Smithsonian Institution's "Best Children's Books for 2011," the book is easy to read aloud.
The next event of our University of Minnesota Duluth American Indian Studies 40th anniversary celebratory year will be an open house on Nov. 14, from 1 to 4 p.m. in Cina Hall, in both the department offices and the Anishinaabe Student Organization gathering room. Faculty, staff members and students of the Department of American Indian Studies are really looking forward to visiting with friends old and new, including former students. As a former UMD student myself, I feel both a sense of history and a great deal of pride every day that I walk into our offices to begin my workday.
Forty years -- my goodness! It was during fall quarter of 1972 that the first American Indian Studies class was taught at the University of Minnesota Duluth. The school year 2012-13 has been designated our 40th Anniversary Commemorative Year, and will be celebrated with a number of special events. American Indian Studies at UMD was begun through the efforts of a small group of warriors, young Native veterans who had returned from Vietnam, who asked if the university might consider offering such a class. The course, an introduction to American Indians, was taught by Prof.
Some years ago, I brought my youngest girl, Abby, to the Depot to see some of the St. Louis County Historical Society's collection of Ojibwe arts and artifacts. In one of the displays was a dreamcatcher small enough to fit into the hand of a little girl. It showed wear and age, as if it had hung on a baby's cradleboard a long time ago. Abby loved the little dreamcatcher, and it caught the eye of a tourist couple who looked and commented, "Isn't that pretty?
Like many other families of the '50s and '60s, we got a lot of use out of a baby buggy that was traded back and forth between relatives. Ours was of two-toned blue vinyl-coated canvas and the size of a large bassinette. It could be removed from its collapsible aluminum frame and used as a portable crib or in the back seat of the car. The hood folded back; a compartment under the mattress was handy for storing extra diapers, bottles, and baby food (buggies had been around for decades; my grandmother told my mother that she had stashed doughnuts in hers when my dad was a baby).
This is the time of year that berries begin to ripen, and we appreciate the Creator's gift of these pretty and delicious little treats. I love the color and taste of berries; with each one that I eat, no matter what kind, I think, "This is my very favorite." Later in the summer when the strawberries ripen I will remember how they looked and tasted and smelled when we kids picked them in the field back of our house, years ago. They were warm from the sun, and so small and sweet and fragrant.
As I stacked the folded scraps of cotton print leftovers from the last apron I made onto the pile of remnants growing on the shelf in my fabric stash, I was visited by a memory from another time and place not so long ago or very far away. Our Italian grandmother (although we LeGarde kids were not Italian, it was our good luck to have an Italian grandmother- by-marriage) who immigrated to Duluth when she was a young woman, was a woman of an era and culture that took pride and satisfaction in combining that necessity of thriftiness with creativity and enjoyment.
Come view the famous people and listen to their fascinating stories!" the handmade card, a small pink photocopy cut out with fancy zigzag scissors and pasted onto green construction paper, invited guests of Bay View fourth-grade teacher Mrs. Short's classroom to visit the Biography Museum. My granddaughter Natalie delivered the invitation personally. The students were going to write reports, make posters, present and answer questions for visitors, and perhaps dress up as a "famous person," she told me. The person Natalie had chosen for her project was Helen Keller.
As I write this, it is almost the end of spring semester at the University of Minnesota Duluth. This time of year is always very busy for college students, who know that in a short time their class performances will be graded and become part of their academic record. Like the students in many other classes, those in the American Indian Women class are studying for their final examinations and working hard on their research projects.
The bride-to-be wore a nice dress. She was bright-eyed and rosy-cheeked, and very excited and happy to be at a shower held in her honor. To welcome this newest member and her mother, sister and friends into our extended family, we aunts and cousins had made treats, both sweet and savory, prepared to look as pretty as we could make them. We brought chicken salad tarts, petit fours, a green salad, breads and dips.