Fond du Lac Follies: The Corvette was running fine

By Jim Northrup Jr.
News From Indian Country May 2010

Fond du Lac Follies motored to UW-Superior, our first pow wow of the season. Of course we went through Jay Cooke State Park with its curvy road. It was also the first top-down ride in that Corvette. But, more about the silver Sting Ray later.

The car took the backseat to the outside we were feeling and seeing. The just budding trees were nice to look at, the green of the popple, the red of the birch and no more white of the snow.

We stopped to look at a porcupine. Mr. Gog was just climbing up then down a maple tree. When he noticed us watching him he climbed down, always on the other side of the tree from us. He was just doing porcupine stuff. He didn’t even bristle his quills at us, was just looking over his shoulder as he walked away.

The Corvette was running just fine. The rumble of the pipes was soothing. Every spring when the Corvette comes out of hibernation there is always something to fix. This year was an electrical problem.

The wrench dude Chad was all over it. With his gauges, shrink wrapped tape he was able to get all the spark where it was supposed to go.

Then it was time to check the oil, transmission fluid and gas up for the first long ride of the season. The Sting Ray went around the corners of the road through Jay Cooke as if it were on rails, Inside we leaned but the car didn’t thanks to the sway bars.

The pow wow at UW-Superior was a smaller one. Sometimes those are better than the big ones for visiting. We met people we hadn’t seen since 19 and 86.

I think the pow wow would have been just good if they held it 200 yards south of the current location in Weisman Arena. The big difference is between dancing on concrete and dancing on the earth. Another difference was the sounds. The only common theme was the visiting that went on at the pow wows, inside or out.

The pow wow season begins again. As does the Corvette season.   


The Distilled Follies will be published next spring by the Minnesota Historical Society Press. This will be distilled from the first twelve years of the Fond du Lac Follies as initially printed by the Circle newspaper of Minneapolis. It starts in August of ‘89 and goes through the end of 2001. This is vintage Follies folks, for you history buffs it is pre-casino, pre-treaty rights struggles. This is back-in-the-day Follies. I initially started writing the column on an electric typewriter then upgraded to an Apple ll E. This machine was a gift from Meg Aerol. Gradually I learned to drive that thing, floppy disks were the rage then, the printer used paper that was connected. Years later I got more powerful computers, then the internet came to my house. I could write the Follies here and click it away to the newspapers there.


My wife for life Patricia and I motored to Onigamiising (Duluth) for a meal. This wasn’t a standard Catholic School Dinner, this was a special dinner at Wiigwaasi-Jiiman Wiisiniiwigamig (The Birchbark Canoe Restaurant) in the Tower Building at the College of St. Scholastica. We were invited by the students of the Ojibwe Language Culture Education program.

We made our reservations from my Reservation. We agreed to meet Dr. Arnie Vainio, wife Ivy and son Jacob there at 1830 (6:30 pm).

We were shown to our table and our server asked what we would like to drink. I ordered nibi (water) and Makade mashkiki waaboo (coffee), my wife had doodooshaaboo (milk) and ziinzigaakwad (sugar) with her coffee.

For our appetitizer we both had a salad with oil and potato soup plus bakwezhigan (bread) and doodooshaaboo-bimide (butter).

For the main course my wife had lasagna and I had another bowl of that potato soup.

And for dessert we had apple crisp with ice cream plus I had cake and whipped cream. I waddled out to the car for the trip back to the Reservation.

I liked how Bill Howes, his family, and his students put this whole thing together. They served good food and helped preserve the Ojibwe language at the same time.


By the time you read this I will be 67, ingodwaasimidana-ashi-niizhwaaswi. Sometimes those Ojibwemowin words are so long it feels like I will be 68 before I get to the end of the word.

My brother Russell Northrup won the primary election and he advances to the general election for the RBC. He was born on my birthday when I was 14. His opponent is my aunt Sandra Shabiash, the incumbent.

I won’t say may the best man win ...Ooops.


The views expressed in this column belong to the writer alone. They are not meant to represent this newspaper, the internets, this Rez or Fonjalack computer users. Comments and bingo packs can be sent to Fdl Follies, PO Box 16, Sawyer, MN 55780 or email at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. web page and Facebook page can be found on Facebook.