Do those people really know that they can stay there; they don’t have to come back.

Ms. Anywaush describes the jobs she's had, and her life today.

Audio Chapters

Meanwhile I was back in Minneapolis, working at the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and that’s where my mom lived, and that’s where we lived. She lived in our old house. And she really got old and she took care of herself for quite a few years and then she came to live with me—I went and lived with her, and then she came to live with me here. But we kind of made a full circle. And on the reservations, other than in Grand Portage, they built a hotel and casino there, and then that’s where I worked. On the reservations it’s mostly grants and programs. So I worked for chemical dependency as a youth coordinator, social services. We wrote grants. And the Minnesota Women’s Foundation, Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency in Virginia, Minnesota, Office of Environment in Redwood, Tribal Offices here. It was always to work, you did just about anything. I worked in a hotel as a maid, dealt cards at the casino, sold pull tabs; you name it. The only thing I never did and never even tried to do was waitressing. I thought I was going to spill coffee on somebody or do something like that. I thought that was a hard job to do. And then in Minneapolis it was always factory work, because I was uneducated. I knew how to sew and put on snowmobile covers. And then I worked for Creamette and packed macaroni and ate Cheetos; that’s where they pack Cheetos there too. They came hot off the press. They were good hot. I came back with orange teeth all the time. Did we get off the question?

DL: No, the question was, what different jobs have you had? And you’ve had an assortment.

JA: Then when I went here and I did medical administrative secretary and all those classes, I managed to get a diploma out of there for medical coding. I enjoyed going to school; gosh I sure wished I had gone when I was a whole lot younger. I don’t know what I could have been then. But I didn’t like school; it was too hard.

When I worked up on the Grand Portage Indian Reservation, [job preferences were] Ojibwe first, and then “Other Indian” and then “Non-Indian.” And I fell right into the middle, so I took all the jobs that I could get on reservation. If the enrollees didn’t want that job, then I got it. I always worked, though. And so over in Morton, I would be considered “Other Indian.”

DL: But Dakota.

JA: Yes, still Dakota, but no, I don’t expect any freebies. And they wouldn’t expect any if they came over here.

DL: If you had a magic wand, what would you wish for Dakota people today?

JA: I thought about that one. They had repatriation of bones, I think, that came from the Historical Society. They didn’t really know where they came from, but they ended up taking some of them back to Sisseton, South Dakota. And we got to Sisseton kind of late, and we didn’t have a map and we had to go to a place called Si'ca Hollow. And si'ca means “bad,” and I don’t know why they called it that.

We got out there and it was pitch black, no signs, and so I told my daughter, I said, “You better turn on your radar.” I’ve never been there and I said, “You better turn on your radar, that’s the only way we’re going to find where we’re going.” And so we took a left and right and turns, and finally we came to this spot and there was a little hill we had to go over, and then when you went that far, then your car was kind of pointed upward; you were looking up this hill. And all you could see was teepees, and the glow on the inside where they had their fires going. And it was cold. And I was sitting there and I was thinking, gee…. And there was wood smoke; we rolled down the windows and that’s all you could smell was wood smoke. And then I saw a woman and a little kid, they were walking, and she had a long dress on and a blanket, and it was just like we were in some kind of twilight zone.

It struck me that if we went over this hill, we were just going to go right back. And it gave me such a feeling, like gee, if I go over this hill, I’m going to go back and I’m not going to turn around. That was kind of a nice feeling, really.

But I don’t know how to start a fire from scratch. I got my little flint, but no, I don’t know how to start a fire.

DL: Who was there?

JA: Oh, there were all kinds of Indians from all over. They came for that. And then of course, my daughter got her period right at that point and so then we couldn’t go in. I mean, I could have went in and my granddaughter could have went in, but she couldn’t go in. So we turned around and we came home again. And we all felt really bad about that, too. But there were more people from Granite that went. You couldn’t wear shoes, no jewelry, or anything. And when my one auntie, and I was thinking I wonder how she did that, you know. And I remember that too, her strength that she displayed, because her head got all sunburned. That’s how long she stood out in the sun. And I thought that was pretty good.

DL: Was the purpose for the gathering -- to return the bones?

JA: Yes, and the ceremony that was involved.

DL: What a view or scene that must have been!

JA: It was just like a painting. It was dark, you know. What’s that one painter, Terry Redlin, did you ever see some of his paintings? I think he’s from South Dakota too, Watertown, I think. The smoke was kind of low-lying; maybe it was fog. It was just like; did you ever see that movie, “Brigadoon?” You cross over that bridge—you’re gone! Your imagination, especially in the dark, kind of takes over. I thought, wouldn’t that be something? Do those people really know that they can stay there; they don’t have to come back.

Oral History- Interview | Narrator Judith Anywaush Interviewer Deborah Locke made in Granite Falls, MN | Thursday, March 10, 2011

Citation: Minnesota Historical Society. U.S. - Dakota War of 1862. Do those people really know that they can stay there; they don’t have to come back. June 13, 2024.

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