Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Real Locals and "Stitch"

Just up the road a piece and at the very edge of the U.S. is a Reservation. It is a beautiful area with thick forest, steep hills, and a beautiful shoreline with islands nearby. There is a casino that is the basic enterprise for the village of about 300 and it is the largest employer in the county. It is called Grand Portage. The Roomie (I need too come up with a better moniker for her) has worked there for six years. I worked there for most of a winter not too long ago. Many of the employees are from the other side of the border as are most of the gamblers. I don't get the gambling thing, but it is fascinating to watch. I worked closely with a couple of the locals whose families had been there for many generations and learned a lot about the culture and history of the village from a more intimate point of view.

I explained to my native friends that my ancestors came over to check out the continent about a thousand years ago. They thought it was nice, but it wasn't their home and they headed back across the sea. My family returned in 1947 to try it again. My brother and I are the only ones still here and we don't have any children. When we are gone this time I don't think the natives will notice.

So the Roomie needs a better moniker. How about Stitch as she does a lot to hold us together here. She has an amazing ability to fix things, but has the decency to seek my approval if the "fix" has anything to do with me. She is considerate in that way. Anyway, back when daylight saving time kicked in again she brought home a piece of paper from work that stated, "When told the reason for daylight savings time the Old Indian said, 'Only the government would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket, sew it to the bottom, and have a longer blanket.' Free your mind and think". This is the kind of thinking that made Will Rogers (part Cherokee) so popular, well-liked, and understood.

This is Stitch steering one of the dragon boats at the annual races in the harbor.



  1. Great quote. I'm part Blackfoot Indian, and proud of it.

    I also don't get gambling. I mean, not all!

  2. I don't know much about gambling (The only times I've done some serious gambling were the two times I got married). I've heard, though, that people who gamble don't believe in chance, but instead believe in luck.

    That is, they believe they can have some sort of magical influence over the odds that something will or will not happen.

    Do you think there's any truth to that? Do many gamblers think they can warp the odds in their favor? Or are they instead trying to play the odds?

  3. DP, I have been through the Blackfeet ancestral lands many times. Beautiful, but it can sure get windy!

    Paul, I don't remember who said it, but "chance favors the prepared mind" or something like that.

  4. That is exactly how I feel about daylight saving time; and I've said as much, but not nearly as articulately as he did.

  5. I dunno for sure, but it sounds to me like you're real lucky to have Stitch around in your life. As far as daylight savings time goes, it depends on when you get up in the morning and when you go to bed, doesn't it?

  6. Love the quote! We always used to watch the dragon boat races in Toronto. On my trip to the U.S. I realized how much I miss ethnic diversity. (And I was only in Indiana!) Norway has the fastest growing Muslim population in Europe, but other cultures aren't celebrated the way they are in the U.S.