Lush Paintbrush

Lush Paintbrush

There is a Confederate flag flying on Davitt Street in the Soo. I have not seen it, but Anne saw it yesterday. I can think of only one reason why someone would do such a thing, racism. I think that we are too far north up here to entertain any so-called southern traditions. It is a cowardly act, because in the five weeks that I’ve in the UP this summer, I have only seen one African American and he was a musician, performing at Pickles, so it is unlikely that he lives here and is gone.

There are two minority communities in the area, the Ojibwa and the Amish. The Bay Mills tribe are indigenous and have been living here since before the white man arrived. Their reservation serves as a focal point for their community, but intermarriage has allowed tribal members to spread out from there. When I first began coming up here “the Res” as it was referred to, was stereotypical of the “poor Indian”, with three derelict cars in every front yard. That was then. With the advent of their casinos and other commercial enterprises, they are now a prosperous community. Bicycling through it yesterday, I was amazed at the extent of the tribal services that are now available to members.

Where as the first peoples have always been here a relatively new addition to the Soo are the Amish. They are another prosperous community. In the past, they were known as the Pennsylvania Dutch, but hard work, combined with large families has led to their westward expansion. They have a thriving community in Missouri. Chippewa County is another new frontier. They’ve been here for more than a few years now, but as their numbers swell, so does their impact on the Soo. I mainly see their members driving their horse buggies down the roads leading to town, But I have also seen them in both Meijer’s and Walmart. They always seem to me to be a bit out of place in these stores, but I understand why they shop there too. We’ve counted three new Amish dwelling being erected this year, including one in town. Normally, they opt for a farm outside of town.

So, we have one racist reactionary, but there is also plenty of hope for the future. If this coward had tried his flag waving, an you know that it has got to be a he, in Saint Louis, losing his flag would be the least of his worries. It is high time to tamp down this kind of racist behavior and lock it up in the closet again. 

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