Monday, May 28, 2007

Mendota Dakota Community Center

On Wednesday, May 23rd, I was invited to speak at the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community, in tiny, little Mendota, MN. It was a warm, muggy evening, but those in attendance grabbed a cold bottle of water and settled in. After my presentation we shared a few refreshments and mingled. I was surprised to find out that a couple of the people knew Paul and his family. In fact, Bill White, who takes Dakota language classes at the center, knows Linda Thompson quite well. Linda is Paul's cousin from Lower Brule. I stayed with her "on the bend" a couple years ago when I was still doing research for "Hidden Heritage."

Tiffany Eggenberg, the gal who invited me to their meeting, introduced me to several Mendota community members. The Mendota Mdewakanton are one of the few tribes not recognized by the federal government. Even so, they are working hard to honor of their heritage. They have a brand new sweatlodge in the backyard, and are planting several varities of prairie grasses. After listening to some of their family histories, it was apparent they too have some stories worth sharing.

It was a wonderful evening and I want to send a big "thank you" to Tiffany for inviting me! Next I'm going to try something new...a book table at the Eagan Panera, Thursday & Friday, June 14th & 15th, as part of Panera's "Author on the Rise" program.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Presidio Schools - Tucson, AZ

On Monday, April 30th, I spent the day at Presidio Schools in Tucson with the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th grade social studies classes. Miss Majchrzak, otherwise known as my stepdaughter Summer, invited me to speak to each of her classes about "Hidden Heritage" since they had been studying Native American history this year.

It was a real joy to spend the day with Summer's students. The kids were very interested in the story and had lots of good questions already prepared. During each class I spoke for about 15 minutes and then answered questions for another 15 minutes. I then handed out a word search using words from "Hidden Heritage," which seemed to be a hit. I also brought a few books, CDs, and photocards to share. One of the first things the students noticed was my last name on the front cover... "Marshak" vs. "Majchrzak"...technically I had the same name as their teacer but with a different spelling. They all agreed it made sense to get rid of those extra letters!

Presidio is so different than the schools in Minnesota, with much of their campus open to the outdoors. Can you imagine that around here in January? Not! Anyway, it was a great day and I was honored to be a guest at Presidio Schools.

Our real reason for being in Tucson was not my speaking engagement, however, the real purpose was Summer's wedding! On Saturday, May 5th, Summer Majchrzak and Grant McCall exchanged wedding vows at the historic Stillwell House in downtown Tucson. Our entire family, extended family, and friends were all there to witness the beautiful ceremony and celebrate with them. I hope to have pictures posted soon!

While we were gone from Minnesota, there was an explosion of GREEN around home...grass, trees, shrubs...everything burst forth with a greenness. The bold color stood out especially after seeing the brown desert terrain around Tucson. Each is beautiful, yet a complete contrast.

"Best wishes and many blessings" for a long and happy marriage to our newlyweds, Grant and Summer McCall!