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Grampa Ben with unknown menI recently came across this picture of my grandfather, Benjamin Odawa Littlecreek posing with a group of unknown men. I would like to know who they are. He traveled extensively during the winters when he wasn’t working at his Trading Post at Itaska State Park in Minnesota. He often went to other countries. He worked at Itaska from about 1947 to at least 1960 (That’s when I think I was about 5 when I saw him there).  So I believe this was taken during that time period–most likely from the thin ties I would say in the fifties. At least it gives people a general period around which to look.

Who are these guys? Could they be Russians? Are they from the Minnesota state capitol? Are they U.S. Marshals? Does that weird column or lamp post on the right give any clues? The guy just on the right of gramps could be Indian, he could be Russian… Can anyone identify the badges? Any clues, help, or answers would be appreciated. If you work at the FBI, or the CIA, or MI6, or the KGB, or even the Minnesota Historical Society, anonymous, or other tips welcome.

 

Dusk


Dusk,

an ember of the sun.

Hazy Snow Flurries


Hazy snow flurries.

Winter white waves

glisten in the headlights,

ebbing and flowing across the blacktop,

as I drive home late at night,

in Red Lake

The North Wind


the sound

of the North Wind

 

rushing through the trees

 

all night long.

*Mŭ·kwŭg


Mom says, “Let’s stop and see if the bears are there.”

So we turn off into the dump grounds, where six large dumpsters are lined up on an asphalt pad inside a ten foot high chain link fence.

It is night.

Our headlights illuminate almost everything–to a height of about six feet.

The scene is ghostly.

A bear saunters out from between the dumpsters–wary, as any wild animal is on an Indian reservation.

He is huge for a bear, at least a good six hundred pounds.

He walks slowly away and out of the compound with a full white garbage bag clutched in his mouth.

He is followed closely by a black and white mother cat–her belly hanging down loosely–
as if she were his pet,
hoping for a morsel leftover from her master.

Another bear rises from scrounging within one of the far dumpsters.

His form towers three feet above its five foot high walls.

He regards us curiously.
then disappears again within.

Strangely enough, we do not see each bear.

They are holes in the night,
an absence of light
In the form of a bear

Although, at just the right angle,
we see the glint of their eyeshine–
the light of their spirit within them.

*Bears, plural, in Anishinabemowin.

D.C., 1:52 A.M.


The sickly yellow of mercury vapor street light

reflects a clouded sky;

blotting out a billion stars nestled in rich inky black.

 

A siren wail,

the obnoxious rude honk of a car,

replaces owl song accompanied by an orchestra of frogs and insects.

 

No open window with cool fresh air;

rather, a room closed

against the sultry smell of sour milk,

bathed in the white noise of air conditioning.

 

Red Lake,

you are far away.


The Frogs are shaking their rattles

with no discernible rhythm.

 

They stand unseen

beyond the reach of the porch light.

surrounding the house

in the sultry night air

 

summoning me.

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