Archive for the ‘Upper Peninsula’ Category
Chief Joseph, Nez Perce, Wisdom-Keeper
My little sister, Marilyn, and I were acutely attuned to Indians who had preceded us in Michigan, particularly summering at Lake Leelanau and Traverse City, then north to Naubinway and the Keewenaw Peninsula. We thrilled to Indian names of towns, creeks, roadways and landforms. Unlike Thoreau, Marilyn and I did not find arrowheads everywhere we walked.
But, particularly in a canoe or a small boat, on limpid wooded rivers of the Upper Peninsula, rowing over to and back from Tahquamenon Falls, we could sense Indians’ silent presence on all sides. In those days, virgin forests were frequent, one of my most cherished named after my favorite poem, “The Hiawatha Forest.” Even as little girls we knew that Indians’ absolute right to these regions had been profaned by miners and lumberjacks and all those soldiers with their primitive wooden forts.
It wasn’t popular in childhood, in Michigan, to be on the Indians’ side. I was the only girl in the entire theatre who wanted Indians to win, on the few Saturdays when someone’s mother could take us to a Western movie in a nearby town. (Ours, Lathrup Village near Detroit, had no store, no library, no post office, so certainly no theatre!) I never understood why everyone in those movies cheered the brutal usual outcome. I was not on Custer’s side. I waited a long time for Dances With Wolves. Read the rest of this entry »