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The Beautiful and the Bizarre

September 27, 2011

God has seen fit to bless my book project with lovely new friends. This afternoon, driving south an hour to meet with one of them brought some much-needed hours of decompression to the conference- and editing- pace of the past two weeks. For what happened next to make sense, you must know that my friend is Dakota, that she and her husband have been integral to writing the book, and that they were interested in part because the story is a counter-narrative to the received story of the U.S. Dakota War of 1862.

On the way home, we –Mercy and Hope came with me –decided we had to stop at a place billed as Minnesota’s largest candy store. We don’t even like licorice but the thought of 87 varieties (plus and advertised 87 varieties of root beer) carried the day.

I was not surprised to find beauty. It was that sort of day. But I was still in “beauty” mode when we strolled inside the giant yellow beehive of a building and were greeted by this:

Is this what happens to former cigar-store Indians when the Surgeon General starts labeling cigars carcinogenic? His headdress is made of hand-made suckers shaped like feathers.

Some “war bonnet,” huh? See –that’s a peace pipe, not a rifle or a war club, resting on his arm. So the message is consistent. Sort of. It is almost as bizarre at the Plains Indian village model made entirely of marzipan a friend encountered at a museum in Europe.

Can you imagine the public outcry if this was a “Sambo” figure wearing a sucker-wig for hair?

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