I am very grateful that I choose FDLTCC for college. The faculty and staff at FDLTCC have all been welcoming and enthusiastic to help me on my journey towards a higher education. The two faculty members who I have relied on the most have been the librarians, Nancy, and Diane. I recently spoke at a college cultural event and I was lucky enough to have sat by Diane during the Anishinabeg ceremony. She was able to explain some of the finer points of the ceremony that I would have otherwise missed. I was surprised that she knew so much about Anishinabeg Culture because I have talked to Diane many times and she shared with me that she was adopted as a young girl and her birth father was a Dakota Sioux.
Growing up in West Duluth with her adopted parents Dianne was raised in the culture of her parents. I have heard Diane speak of how loving they were and how fortunate she was to be raised with two very loving parents. When Dianne was an adult she started looking into the ancestry of her birth parents in more detail. She visited South Dakota reservation and was fortunate to have been able to see some records of her birth family and was even able to see some had written notes that her birth grandfather had to write asking the Indian agent so send him his own money from a property transaction. He had to let the agent know that the money was not for drinking or gambling. Think about that. Diane’s grandfather had to ask for his own money and even had to explain why he needed it. The poor treatment that Native Americans have had to endure for so many years is appalling.
Diane has done a lot more research on her own genealogy and has discovered that she has family in America dating back 200 plus years. She started working at FDLTCC 14 years ago and the first year that she started them had a cultural immersion camp offered through the college which offered her the opportunity to travel to Canada and learn from FDLTCC Instructor Dan Jones and his mother, Nancy Jones. During this three year program that occurred one week at a time during the summer, Dianne learned about Ojibwe storytelling, leatherwork, working with birch bark, and ricing. Along with these things, she learned some Anishinabeg language. While interviewing Diane she spoke on how this helped her to have a better understanding of the Anishinabeg people and at the same time helped her relate to her Native family. She spoke highly of Dan’s mother Nancy. I felt that during our interview that Nancy helped Diane connect to her birth 2nd great-grandmother, Na Cankuomaniwin (Walks the Path).
I also have learned a lot about my neighbors the Anishinabeg during my time at FDLTCC and I am a better person because of it. If FDLTCC ever offers another immersion course I will try and attend.