Friday, January 8, 2010


Happy 75th birthday, Elvis! Although he died in August 1977 at age 42 he is still making money. In 2009 his estate reported an income of $55 million. Fans around the world gather today to celebrate the king. In fact, I got a card yesterday in honor of his b-day. It was from a dear friend who recognized me as a loyal fellow fan and longtime admirer of the art of Elvis. In DC the Smithsonian is showcasing EP with an exhibit called "One Life: Echoes of Elvis". Of course fans are gathering at Graceland and the impersonators are having a big day. There are also pilgrims appearing at his birthplace in Tupelo, Mississippi. Cirque du Soleil is celebrating the year with a lavish production entitled "Viva Elvis". A new cd of 25 hits has been released (why not 75?).
Mae Sarton was already thinking SPRING! In her journal she wrote of a friend. "Now she will have her gardens in the spring and be able to watch a pair of bluebirds nesting perhaps and, of course, entertain her usual dinner party of raccoons and skunks."
"Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all." Emily Dickenson.
I began the morning by reading a few pages from Mike McNally's "Ojibwe Singers". In July 1991 White Earth Camp Justice was a rag-tag encampment in front of the old tribal headquarters building. A new monstrosity that recalls a European castle, has now been constructed on the hill beyond the clinic without the courtesy of a referendum. Old Camp Justice was formed in protest of just such abuses by the tribal government of that era.
When my mother and I went to support the movement I was taken aside by three male leaders. As we stood in front of the refrigerator near the outside dining area one of the men removed a paper from his pocket and gave it to me. It was a news clipping of something I'd had published in Bill Lawrence's Ojibwe News. I was asked to explain a certain point. I did not feel threatened or intimidated as the discussion was quiet and cordial. After hearing my explanation one of the men nodded, smiled and took my hand. The others did the same and I was invited to eat. While we ate the police and security arrived, walked through the parking area and wrote down license plate numbers . No one challenged them. We went on talking, laughing and eating. Before they left a young boy asked the officers to join us and they declined.
You know... I can still hear the soft rustle of the tents and tipi's, smell the smoke from the sacred fire and feel the presence of many respected elders that have now gone to the other side. Look! They are hailing me. Listen! They urge me onward - upward.

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