"Forth upon the Gitche Gumee,
On the shining Big-Sea-Water,
With his fishing-line of cedar,
Of the twisted bark of cedar,
Forth to catch the sturgeon Nahma,
Mishe-Nahma, King of Fishes,
In his birch canoe exulting
All alone went Hiawatha."
Our tribe of warriors will not be going alone, nor will they be
going in a canoe.
Nope, not our tribe.
Thousands upon thousands of steeds will carry us two by two, three
by three, and twenty by twenty, to the land of the Gitche Gumee,
right close there to the shining Big-Sea-Water.
My SUV alone has a couple hundred horses and on Thursday night
I will point North and then West.
The tribe and its elders and many siblings are going to Gogebic.
I will drive, others with fly then drive, but we will all meet by
the world's tallest Indian.
Who would go to Gogebic?
Why would anyone go to Gogebic?
We go with blades of steel and slashing sticks and will watch the
young bucks battle in the arena of Ironwood.
I remember that Sunday of decision, when tribe and elder alike
were charged with anticipation. Only one game stood between us and
the privilege of the games of Ironwood.
"Ironwood," we said to one another. Ironwood?
"Who in the world picked Ironwood for the site of the state
The elders entered the stands with anticipation and trepidation
as our tribe, the Dakota, flowed out onto the ice. Our fears and
trembling soon gave way shouts of joy as the contest turned into
a rout. It was a proud day for elder, tribe and sibling as they
circled the rink, trophy held high.
And now, where is Gogebic county, where is Ironwood?
It turns out that Ironwood and Copper Harbor Michigan are the two
contenders for the most distant towns from the Detroit Metropolitan
Copper Harbor is at the tip of the state that juts out into the
Big-Sea-Water (Lake Superior), while Ironwood is at the tip of the
western edge of Michigan.
The 54 foot Indian wins by 10 miles.
It's only 600 miles over the rivers, across the big bridge and
through lots and lots of woods.
Turn right at the big Indian.
Win or lose, this tribe is already a winner in my eyes.