I recently took to flight, the first plane I've been on for a bit. I had to ask my daughter if Dallas was still there. She told me Dallas was good, it was Houston that had 50 inches of rainfall. Glad I'm not flying to Florida. Despite advances in technology, the wizards of weather reporting, and, of course, the president, we are entering a world where everything which was predictable is no longer so. What's apparent is that Mother Nature is actually in charge, not President Trump.
In the time of my parents, we would set up ricing camp at Star Lake. We traveled from the south to the north, following the wild rice as it ripened. In my generation, I remember tribal member Gordon Henry getting arrested for ricing on Star Lake, accused of " poaching" manoomin. Discouraged for years by risk of fines and imprisonment, I am forever grateful to our people for their courage. Harvesting our traditional foods is how we survived and how we will survive.
Ever since Julia Roberts named it a muffin top in " Eat, Pray, Love," I've been conscious of mine. So, when I discovered spandex in jeans, wow, was I happy. They were more comfortable and fit better. But, being a person who asks Mother Earth what I should wear, I did some research. I found the clothing industry to be pretty toxic. Consequently, I've made a choice—either go naked, try to buy used, or go hemp.
I am counting butterflies this week. From the back of a horse, I've been surveying the territory of northern Minnesota. It's a land of wild rice, milkweed, berries, bergamot and life. It's a slow pace, and what I notice is there are not that many butterflies. In fact, there are not that many of any insects. This is my fifth year riding and canoeing the proposed route of the new Enbridge pipeline project to see what is out there and show that I value this world.
I always question the Fourth of July. This year, I was fortunate enough to stop in at the Sisseton Dakota Pow Wow where everything that is important to me was popping—dancing, rodeo, moccasin games and thousands of beautiful Native people. Veterans and patriotism are customarily honored at the opening. That is where I found Sophia Wilansky. I would like to give her a purple heart, but Sophia Wilansky is someone many North Dakotans would like to forget. Wilansky is the 21-year-old New Yorker's whose arm was blown off by a concussion grenade.
It's likely no surprise that my views of President Trump are, well, not approving. The president's capacity to do self-serving dumb stuff never ceases to amaze me.
I recently purchased a team of ponies. I know, you're thinking, "how cute!" But, ponies were not originally bred to pull children around mansions. They were draft animals bred to work in harsh environments and confined spaces while needing less food and water. Ponies, contrary to little girl stories, are tough, appropriate technology. When it comes to energy, we need to invest more in tough, appropriate technology and stop investing in expensive resource-intensive fossil fuel developments like the Bakken.
I once sat jiigibiig on the shore of the harbor in Sitka, Alaska. It is one of my favorite haunts in the world. I watched as eagles flew in by the dozens to fish for salmon who had returned to spawn. Bears came down from the mountains to dine as well. The town is interesting and quaint: full of Tlingit, Russian Orthodox architecture and fishing vessels. And the water and the land are breathtaking.
Gov. Doug Burgum and authorities recently peddled a story to the media about the feces and garbage runoff into the river from the Oceti Sakowin Camp requiring immediate attention as a public health risk. Rather ironic, since the state long ago removed all sanitation support to the thousands of people who had come to live in the state's 14th largest city. The spin continues in North Dakota's corporate-fed media.
Am I gonna have to return to Taco Bell and Taco Time? That's sort of the question I find myself asking in the era of Donald Trump's mass deportation threats. Some of the best food to come to the north country has come with immigrants. I used to say that "Fargo will have arrived when it hosts a Thai restaurant." Fargo is cool. I like globalization, when it comes to good food and fair trade. I can't get those coconut flakes, or coffee and avocadoes without my friends in other countries.