Michael James : Pictures from the Long Haul

Menominee Boys at the Battle of Mole Lake Historic Marker Crandon, Wisconsin, 1978. Photo by Michael James from his forthcoming book, Michael Gaylord James’  Pictures from the Long Haul.

Pictures from the Long Haul:
Duane and the Menominee warriors

Duane was a fast runner, and he was the guy who came through the woods, through the snow, bringing and giving out the word that the Menominee Warrior Society had taken over the Alexian Brother’s Abbey.

By Michael James | The Rag Blog | March 20, 2013

[In this series, Michael James is sharing images from his rich past, accompanied by reflections about — and inspired by — those images. This photo will be included in his forthcoming book, Michael Gaylord James’ Pictures from the Long Haul.]

Back in the 1970’s I founded a newspaper and political organization called Rising Up Angry (1969-1975).

We were part of an inspirational coalition, dubbed the Rainbow Coalition by Black Panther leader Fred Hampton. It initially included the Black Panther Party, Young Lords Organization, Young Patriots, and then Rising Up Angry. We claim the Rainbow Coalition laid the groundwork for the election of the late Chicago Mayor Harold Washington. It was his election, and the coalition he put together, that brought the young Barack Obama to Chicago.

I spent a lot of time selling our newspaper, hanging out in parks, neighborhoods, food joints, bars, and schools. We would talk, we would cool out fights, and we promoted the revolution and all issues before us: police brutality, war, racism, imperialism, sexism, health care, legal rights, etc.

Sometime in the early 1970’s I was at the statue-monument in the Logan Square neighborhood where young people would hang out, and it was there I met a Menominee Indian by the name of Daryl. He took me to his house nearby, where I met his brother Duane, who was in the act of butchering a live chicken he found who-knows-where.

I’m not sure if it was because I had helped the farmer down the road as a kid in Connecticut, butchering both cows and pigs, and had also worked in a butcher shop at age 14, but in any event, Duane and I became fast friends. We shared our histories, partied together, and I followed his adventures as he and other young natives toured around the country in those wild days of the American Indian Movement (AIM).

I visited Duane and his extended family on numerous occasions up in Neopit, Wisconsin on the Menominee Reservation. We had some great times living on black coffee, canned vegetables, white bread, and meat, taking sweats, and jumping in the Wolf River. In altered states we climbed the fire towers in the night, and chased porcupines near the garbage dump overrun with deer. I was encouraged to get some porcupine quills by hitting the animal with the swing of a t-shirt, a little scary in that altered state even though I knew then that they do not shoot the quills!

Duane was a fast runner, and he was the guy who came through the woods, through the snow, bringing and giving out the word that the Menominee Warrior Society had taken over the Alexian Brother’s Abbey in January 1975. Back in those militant days the MWS claimed the Abbey was on Menominee tribal land. Marlon Brando came to the Abbey to help find a peaceful solution.

A couple of years later Duane got himself in a legal jam over in Shawano County, or maybe in Green Bay, neither place known then for good vibes with their Native American neighbors. Duane was sent on a little vacation to the McNaughton Correctional Center in Lake Tomahawk.

I took a run up to the res and picked up his sister Rory and three of his kids, and we went to the facility near Crandon for a wonderful afternoon visit. En route to or from we stopped at a Wisconsin Historical Marker commemorating the battle for the local rice beds between the local Sokoagon Band of Chippewa and Sioux from the west. Over 500 warriors were killed and are buried there.

Shown above are three of my pal Duane’s kids at the marker. The photo is included in my forthcoming book, Michael Gaylord James’ Pictures from the Long Haul.

[Michael James is a former SDS national officer, the founder of Rising Up Angry, co-founder of Chicago’s Heartland Café (1976 and still going), and co-host of the Saturday morning (9-10 a.m. CDT) Live from the Heartland Show, here and on YouTube. He is also president of the local progressive 49th Ward Democratic Party, a member of the Screen Actors Guild, a board member of Athletes United for Peace, and on the advisory panel of the organic watchdog organization, The Cornucopia Institute. He is reachable by one and all at michael@heartlandcafe.com. Find more articles by Michael James on The Rag Blog.]

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1 Response to Michael James : Pictures from the Long Haul

  1. Anonymous says:

    cool photo, nice story, thanks for sharing this. been to the heartland many years ago, will stop through next time im passing though chicago

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