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MyDay.jpg

Today,
my day was mostly black and white,
with a few shades of grey,
and a little bit of color here and there.

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Every once in a while an Indian (read American Indian) will give a friend or family member a nickname. Sometimes these names are given just for fun, other times they are given to help that person be humble. “Dances With Wolves” comes to mind.

I actually know some of my aunts and uncles by their nicknames: Ishky, Bunny, and Boogens are three.

I told my wife that I finally figured out what her Indian nickname was.

“Well, what is it?”, she asked.

“Too Many Pillows”, I said.

She laughed… because she knew it was true.

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I found this picture while searching for family photos at the Minnesota Historical Society way back in ’77. (1977, not 1877)

I managed to find out where I could write to Bob Hope at the time and sent him a copy, hoping that he might have some information about it. I received this letter from him along with my returned photo.
Bob Hope Letter
Mr. Hope couldn’t provide me with any new information except to suggest it may have been taken in a studio. (I was thinking Cali-for-nii-aa) but I was pleased nonetheless to have received a personal letter back along with his autograph!

I recently signed up for a five day free trial of Newspapers.com (I needed a credit card but was told how I could easily cancel my trial before the five days were up.)
During that period, I pretty much dedicated myself to looking up as many possible Ancestor references for myself and friends who were interested. I probably looked at a thousand possible articles and was rewarded with a score or more, which I “Clipped” and then downloaded. This was one of them.
Bob Hope and Ben Littlecreek at the Nicollet Hotel
Yep, same top hat, same sport coat, same two people. BINGO!!! Mystery solved.

Part of the article reads:

“Forever a gagster, Bob Hope invaded Minneapolis Monday. He put on a two-hour stage show in Minneapolis Auditorium. Sang a duet with Mayor Eric G. Hoyer, said nasty things about Bing Crosby, and was made an honorary Indian. Most of the shenanigans took place in Nicollet Hotel, where, among other things, the ski-nosed comedian attended a dinner put on by the Theadore Peterson American Legion Post.

*   *   *

In Picture below, Hope meets Chief Ben Littlecreek of the Red Lake Chippewa Indian Tribe. Hope made the Chief an honorary “Paleface”, from the movie by the same name.”

As a side note, I like Hope’s irony here. That’s the first time I’ve heard of an Indian being made an honorary Paleface!

All kidding aside, for you genealogy buffs out there, Try the Newspaper.com free Trial. It was worth it! (And, they actually made cancelling the trial easy!) All irony aside, I will pay for a subscription–which I can get for just one month if I want–should I need to research other ancestors in the future.

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After a journey of but an hour,
through heat and behind slow caravans,
we arrive.

Festive pilgrims at this hallow place,
beset by hawkers of food, drink, clothes and relics.

Vendors sell celestial filters of mortality to the unwary,
lest the latter looking through mortal orbs,
are blinded by his glory.

All this to glimpse the wink of the eye of God.

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Not Now Little Birdie


Imagine hearing the most shrill, obnoxious “peep” you can think of at 5 in the morning.

Then repeat it every 10 minutes.

“Dear, the fire alarm needs a new battery,” Wifie says.

I plod out of bed and rummage blindly in the battery drawer.

I sigh. “We’re out of 9 volt batteries. I guess I’ll have to go to the store to get some.” Who can sleep with that continuing interruption?

It takes a half hour drive altogether to buy new batteries from “Walmies World,” our not so local 24 hour super convenience store. Eventually the batteries are swapped to silence the monster chickie. I may as well stay up. I’m awake now…

Why do I have to be the man?

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Dawn

The owls visit at sunrise.

I don’t know if they are up early or out late.

“Dude, wake up!”

“It’s been a while,” they hoot.

“Get out of bed!”

“Come with us!”

They all cackle.

I call  back to them in Owlish without opening the window or getting out of  bed. I know they can hear me. “It’s good you came by, but I’m sleeping in!”

Startled by my reply, dog jumps on the bed and gives me a sloppy kiss. That’s her way of reassuring herself that I’m okay.

As I sputter and fend her off, I hear a last soft mournful “Aw, man!” fade into the distance outside.

 

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Dear Readers,

In two weeks, I am going to present at a fortune 100 company as part of their diversity program. I have a half hour for my presentation and a four-by-eight table on which to place pictures or things. I get to talk about being “Indian”.  (In my case, being a member of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, and having ancestors from the Red lake, Leech Lake and White Earth bands as well.) I suppose my audience will be people I’ve met from a relative’s department, and perhaps some of the big wigs from the company.

Having lived on and off the reservation and having degrees in American Indian Studies and psychology, it would be easy for me to come up with my perception of what being Indian means.  However, as part of the presentation, I would like to know and present two things. 1) What you would like to know about a person/people from these cultures if you are not from there, and 2) what you would like other people to know if you are.

For fellow Anishinabeg, I’m aware that we come from many different  reservations, reserves, places and experiences, and want to take this into account. But I need your input in order to do so. If you would like me to keep your replies confidential, I can do that, as this blog is set up so that I have to approve,  and can edit, your reply before posting it. I would however like to use your reply and at least note where it comes from.

Yours Sincerely,

Russell Littlecreek

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