Linda LeGarde Grover’s “Gichigami Hearts”; University of Minnesota Press (145 pages)
“Can you see there’s a house over there, about a block across the bridge?” Linda LeGarde Grover’s Aunt Carol asks, as the two sit in front of a campfire at a powwow in Duluth. “Did you know that this house was your great-great-grandmother’s house?” You did not know it ? people were moved, and her mom and dad came from LaPointe, that big village on Madeline Island, Wisconsin. “
Linda, she said, should know some of these things.
Well, now she does. And now, thanks to “Gichigami Hearts: Stories and Histories From Misaabekong”, so do we. Gichigami is, of course, Lake Superior, and Misaabekong is an Ojibwa name for the Duluth, Minnesota area, referring to the massive outcrop of gabbro, also known as Point of Rocks, which divides the city.
“Our Ojibwe and, in a broader sense, Anishinaabe story is an overlay of our stories on this land and this landscape,” Grover tells us, and his own overlay of family history, creation stories and tribal traditions makes from this book a complex map of a place and its inhabitants in intimate, mundane and otherworldly terms.
So we have how, “One of the times the rock was blown up, near where the Bethel Society building is today, between Superior and First streets, a big crack opened up and an Anishinaabe man dressed in old-fashioned clothes came out … and was gone. ” And we have the more conventional arrival of the Anishinaabeg, who came from the Newfoundland area at the time of the Great Migration to join “the encampment next to the American Fur Post at Fond du Lac, which is today. ‘hui the most westerly district of Duluth. “Among them were the Ojibwa ancestors of Linda LaGarde Grover.