Jim Northrup, Anishanaable writer-poet, dies at 73

 

Jim Northrup, an Anishinaabe warrior and Vietnam veteran, died on August 1, 2016, in Sawyer Mn.

Jim Northrup was born on the reservation west of Duluth on the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, who have lived there for centuries.

His father, who was also named James worked as a logging truck driver and his mother was the former Alice Shiabash.

As a regular occurrence on the reservation, the child was forced to attend boarding school.  The boarding schools were put there for one purpose; cultural assimilation.  The children were punished, sometimes severely, for speaking their language.  “writing letters was the only way to stay in contact with my family” he stated in an excerpt from Anishinaabe Syndicated: A View from the Rez.

Jim Northrup sometimes used soft humor; sometimes biting humor; sometimes broad humor, in his description of life on the rez.  He is described as a ‘thoroughly modern traditional Ojibwe man who writes a monthly syndicated newspaper column, the Fond du Lac Follies’, written by Margaret Noori in the introduction of Anishinaabe Syndicated: A View from the Rez.

Jim Northrup lived life in a time where there were great socio-political changes in ‘Indian’ country.  Between the years of 1989-2001, most reservations saw changes in gambling, treaty rights, tribal sovereignty and language renewal.  Jim witnessed it all.  Here is an example of his reflections (with humor).  “Hell just froze over because Fonjalackers got a per capita gambling payment. after almost fifteen years of high-stakes bingo and gambling casinos, we got a check for $1,500 each. . . .

Jim witnessed it all.

Here is an example of his reflections (with humor).  “Hell just froze over because Fonjalackers got a per capita gambling payment. after almost fifteen years of high-stakes bingo and gambling casinos, we got a check for $1,500 each. . . . Now, Mom can get that operation and I can send my kids to Harvard. I can also get that Ferrari I’ve always wanted. I’ll decide on the color after my round-the-world vacation. . .” or “The powwow was great. I’d like to thank all those who worked to make this happen. as a Vietnam vet, I felt honored, but still, think we should quit making veterans.”  These quotes are excerpts from this book ‘Anishinaabe Syndicated: A View from the Rez.’

He is survived by his wife, the former Patricia Dow; and their sons Matthew, James, Joseph, Aaron, Tony and Calvin; their daughters Heather and Lorna; four sisters, Jean Dufault, Juanita Fineday, Susan Smith and Dawn Northrup; three brothers, Russ, Vern and Warren; 16 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.

Mr. Northrup didn’t mind discussing his impending death from cancer in an interview last month with Minnesota Public Radio.

“I know where I’m going,” he said. “I’m going to, as the Ojibwe call it in the language, the land of everlasting happiness. There’s nothing to be afraid of.  It’s just a different world.  I am changing addresses.”

Facebook
Google+
Twitter
YouTube