The popular TV shows about the “prepping” lifestyle are a bit addictive. They are the survival genre’s version of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, the Food Network enterprise that is both engrossing and formulaic. I am not a prepper, but it is a mindset that I am fascinated by and can understand from a couple of different perspectives. One is having grown up in the 70’s with parents who were self-reliant: gardening, re-purposing, hunting and gathering from the wild. My father, no hippie, was a reader of Mother Earth News and the Whole Earth Catalog. He was a World War II veteran and both of my parents grew up during the Depression and Dust Bowl.
There has been one song in particular on repeat in my head for several days, weeks actually. It may be because it was the last song I learned before my fiddle lessons ended back in March. The move across the ocean for a few weeks at home before relocating again to Australia necessitated the end of my music ‘studies’ in London.
It’s also quite a simple song to play. Of course, while it may be simple to play, playing it well is another story. I make no claims to such talents and luckily I have no desire for fame!
Something utterly frivolous but what is life if you can’t have fun?
Originally posted on ~~Voyageur Heritage~~ The French Canadian Cultural Alliance of the Great Lakes:
Most Native people have from the very beginning, a sense of where their grandparents came from, who they descended from. It’s not only the oral tradition – it’s the United States government. We have to have a very detailed description of our background in order to be enrolled in our own tribe. It’s very different for minority peoples. We have to know where we come from down to the last degree. …. A very strong component of Native Life is to know who you are. My mother made us very proud of who we are.
— Louise Erdrich, Faces of America interview with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
I was brought up in a big family in Northern Lower Michigan, the youngest of eight. That alone set us apart at a time when big families tended to max out at four children. By the 1970s, the day of broods numbering into the double digits was largely over for the French Canadian Catholic. Mine was, perhaps, one of the last of its kind, stretching toward ten.
Early on, I took a strong interest in our family history, asking many questions, lucky to be surrounded by multiple generations. One of the questions I innocently asked my Dad was: Are we Indian? I don’t remember why. I don’t remember what brought that particular question to the surface so early in my research. I couldn’t have been more than 10 or 12 years old. Perhaps because I was a boy and that’s what boys were interested in.