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Anishinaabe Syndicated

2 February 2011
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Hey all! FDL’s Jim Northrup ‘s third book is out and worth checking out…according to Jim it is drawn from the first dozen years of the Fond du Lac Follies, spanning the years from August ’89 until the end of ’01.  The book covers history, contains lots of Ojibwemowin and touches on seasonal adventures every year (13 Moons indeed!), There are also some good jokes. You can find it on Amazon or from the man himself, who is willing to sign copies!

***(as of 4 Feb) Jim will be doing a book signing at the Fond du Lac Community Center Library on February 26 from 7-8 pm. Contact the library to confirm closer to the event: 218.878.2602


Logo contest

2 February 2011

We are looking for an image that represents 13 Moons, Fond du Lac’s Tribal College Extension Program. The program’s mission is  to connecting Fond du Lac Band and community members to:

Natural resources, by increasing awareness of and knowledge about traditional and other resources;

Knowledge networks, by providing new opportunities for social interaction and education in the context of traditional and other natural resources;

Ojibwe culture, by highlighting and honoring the importance of natural resources in the traditional and contemporary Ojibwe lives and livelihoods.

Consider incorporating one or more of the following into your design:

Ojibwe seasonal activities such as ricing, sugarbush, fishing, hunting, gathering berries, birchbark, etc.

A turtle design representing the 13 moons or changing seasons

The Ojibwe floral design

This contest is open only to enrolled Fond du Lac’ers of any age. The creator of the winning design will receive $200.00 . Six runner up designers will receive gift baskets. Any submitted designs may be featured in this paper. Thirteen Moons holds all rights to the winning logo and submissions. Submit your design to Nikki Crowe by 4:00 pm on April 1st, 2011. Print or electronic submissions welcome. 


1 February 2011

When the bear cubs are born is the name for the moon that begins its cycle on February 14. Other names are Migizi giizis (Eagle Moon) and Namebini giizis (sucker fish moon), named for the fish that lives throughout northeastern Minnesota’s streams and lakes.


Nahgahchiwanong Ozhiga’ige

1 February 2011

By Nikki Crowe

April's Natural Resource Page

Iskigamizige giizis is coming and I would like to take time to share a few facts about wiishkobaaboo and to profile some Nahgahchiwanong tappers.  According to the 2007 Agricultural Census on Specialty Crops, the US had 8,121 Maple Syrup operations producing more than $1,000 worth of product. Only 23 were Native owned.  One of these operators was a Fond du Lac band member.  Through my inquiries into the local tappers, I came up with six, most selling less than $1000 worth of product.  I feel this news tells me the tradition is not lost and that we have much to learn from our own community. With the threat of invasive species and climate change, ongoing threats to the Ojibwe language, it’s a good time to thank the tapper in your life for keeping the art of the sugarbush alive.  I spoke with Charlie (Tuna) Nahgahnub and Bruce and Tawny Savage and about their experiences in the sugarbush.


Charlie has thirty years learning from Russ Northrup and ten years on his own. Russ and Charlie still help each other out from time to time. Bruce and Tawny have forty years of experience, Bruce started when he was nine.

Traditional Ecological Knowledge.

To know when to begin, Charlie looks for opening buds, appearance of sap suckers, and cawing aandeg. Bruce mostly agrees, but is not above digging in the undisturbed snow at work to see if the frost is gone. Tawny looks for the puddles in the road to know if the frost is coming out of the ground. Scientifically, Bruce says, it’s all about the daily environment: temperature, barometric pressure, and frost condition.

To boil the sap, Charlie uses “Cadillac wood” – essentially, dead standing maple (aninaatig)with no bark – or dry tamarack (mashkiigwaatig). Both generate less ash.

When I asked Bruce and Tawny about a plant I saw in the woods last year, they recognized my drawing of miskodjibik (Bloodroot, Sanguinaria Canadensis); they tell me when you see this plant the sugar bush has come to an end. Forestry’s Steve Olson also shared that bloodroot indicates a site with rich soil qualities.


Charlie taps two acres, placing about 50-100 taps, depending on reliability of his help. Bruce’s Spirit Lake sugarbush has around 60 acres.

Both operations are wood-fired, although Charlie uses treaty kettles and an old beer keg (left behind from a long-forgotten ‘49’) for a 16-gal preheater. Bruce’s uses a few modern amenities to produce the larger amounts. Bruce shared that to do this work efficiently; you must have a combination of traditional ecological knowledge and the modern technology.


Bruce and Charlie both use the syrup as a food source for their family, while Charlie uses his surplus for trade and gifting, the Savages use there’s for the children’s activities.

Tawny says, “We value the ability to harvest food, we pass onto our children the knowledge and respect required to run a sugarbush.

Final thoughts.

Help is always needed but Bruce recommends that those interested in learning “Don’t come out expecting a peaceful moment: there is work to do! It takes a lot to make a little; it takes more than one day to get the full appreciation for what it takes to run this operation. If you come out to volunteer and expect some maple syrup in return, expect to work, and bring a pot of food with you…no one has time to cook when the sap is running.”

In past winters, I agonized over cold temperatures and lack of sunlight, I realize the sugarbush for me is a place to shake off the long winter days and look forward to my spring work, garden planning! I know I will be bringing out a pot of food and spending some time with the Savages, and over at Charlie’s too.  Hope to see you there.


Gichi Giizis

2 January 2011

Gichi Giizis is the Big moon and begins its cycle as a new moon on January 4. Other names used for January’s moon include Manidoo giizis (Spirit moon) and Oshki-bibooni giizis (New Winter moon).



Introducing, Nikki Crowe…

2 January 2011

Anniin! My name is Nikki Crowe, the new 13 Moons program coordinator.  I am happy to join the Fond du Lac community.  A little about myself:  I enjoy learning about people and plants.  I have spent some time growing heritage varieties of corn, beans and squash.  One variety of corn I learned about came from Leech Lake, its is called Bear Island flint.  This corn was used for flour and polenta.  I love gardening and believe one way to honor the earth is to sow the earth with good seeds.

I received my Associates degree in Environmental Science at Haskell Indian Nations University. I have worked on several research projects having to do with prairie restoration, plant surveying, and climate change affecting crop plants.

What I hope to see the 13 Moons program accomplish is bringing the community together to learn from one another, gain knowledge of the intrinsic value of our land, air and water resources, the impact of our local economy, and create a knowledge base of traditional ecological skills readily and easily accessible to our younger generation.

I believe the continued success of the 13 Moons program will come from the community of Fond du Lac.  Our elders and elders-in-training will provide the knowledge and wisdom of our Ojibwe traditions and language to guide our youth into a sustainable future for themselves and the land.



Thirteen Moons: The Fond du Lac Tribal College Extension Program

1 January 2011

A new year is a time for reflection and sharing highlights and challenges from the year we leave behind. 2010 was exciting and pivotal for Thirteen Moons, which in the last few months of 2010 has seen some important program developments.

In March 2010, the Thirteen Moons team submitted a proposal to the US Department of Agriculture’s Tribal College Grants Program. The intent of the proposal was to establish the Fond du Lac Tribal College Extension Program using Thirteen Moons as a its foundation and framework. In July, we learned that we received the grant, which provides four years of program funding. In October 2010, Thirteen Moons officially became the FDL Tribal College Extension Program! We offer profound thanks to FDL’s RBC, Resource Management Division, Tribal and Community College, and each of the many individuals in the community who have supported the program and its offerings.

The intent of the USDA grant is development of the program, but also development of the Tribal College. An important part of the grant proposal was funding to support a Thirteen Moons program coordinator. In November, Nikki Crowe joined the Thirteen Moons team in this role (see article). Nikki will be working full-time to help Thirteen Moons meet its program objectives.

If you haven’t heard about Thirteen Moons or do not know about the connection between this page and the workshops and events you have hopefully heard about over the past 20 months, here is a brief overview.

Thirteen Moons addresses an identified need to reconnect FDL community members with 1) natural resource knowledge, 2) social networks, and 3) Ojibwe culture. The program emerged from a 2008 listening session undertaken by employees of FDL’s Resource Management Division and University of Minnesota Extension. In the first year, Thirteen Moons created this page for the monthly paper and offered monthly workshops on seasonally important topics. In early 2010, we added the Sawyer Storytelling event and supported the growth of the recently launched Language Immersion Camp. In the coming four years we hope to add more educational and community events to the annual calendar and to expand the reach and support network of the program.

2011 promises exciting new things for Thirteen Moons. In addition to this monthly page we will continue to host monthly workshops on seasonal topics related to culture, ecology, and natural resource management. Additionally, we will continue to support and develop seasonal events. Sometimes

Thirteen Moons takes the lead in developing these events and sometimes we are there to support ideas and initiatives already in action. Either way, Thirteen Moons depends on the knowledge and experience that resides within the people of this community. Thirteen Moons cannot exist and will not grow without the support and contributions of Fond du Lac Band and Community members!

Look for Thirteen Moons on Facebook [ “13 Moons” ] as a new way to keep up on events and to join the ongoing discussion about natural resources and Ojibwe culture.