Southern Minnesota land specualtion; what's with this family farm?
|Crystal Ship was a name that Dan Gleason used to address me in emails for a short time. I liked that name, but know that it's to big for me. I don't mind that he stopped using it. Deleuze and Guattari talk about the glass harmonica in A Thousand Plateaus, when they speak of the refrain. Anti-Pop Consortium said, "it's the return." It's a vessel of return. Back to the land, right? The word comes from the land and returns to it. The furrow of the plow is the origin of the verse (and what is song before the plow?). I like pop music. I know the structure, verse, chorus, verse; camp songs too, campy. Or is it verse, course, verse; or verse, corse, verse? Of Chorus, of course, of corse! Who cares, right? Something pragmatic will come of this meandering. A pilgrimage like the one I am taking, I insist, is pragmatic--even if I can't make out the argument. Here you will find some links and terms I've been using to prepare for this trip. You can keep yourself amused with them until I have something of my own to put on this page.
I have been to this place a number of times, oddly, not having been brought there by my parents, as is the case with many of the other places I list here. I've been moved by this place. I went there on a field trip with my photography class in high school. I made landscape pictures.
Prairie Island has been used by the Mdewakanton Dakota since prehistory. A portion of the island is a reservation. Another portion is the Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant. In addition to generating power (none of which goes to the native population of the Island) the plant generates tons of radio active waste that is being stored temporarily/indefinitely within six blocks of the reservation's elementary school (we call that environmental racism). Needless to say this has devastating consequences on the health of the folks who live nearby.
Here is a recent article talking about this problem:
Caribean themed Indian Casino on Prairie Island
That's where nuclear waste from the Prairie Island reactor will probably end up.
Cannon Valley Trail
My grandfather spent some Summers on his uncle's farm in this area near Red Wing, named by Swedish imigrants after a Swedish Liberator/Tyrant from the 1500's. My family lore holds that one of my great great great grampas (or something) was the bastard son of the king of Sweden and was given the job of driving the carriage for his dear dad the king (we call that nepatism). Not sure if there would be any relation to Vasa though.
I'm visiting my Grandma (maternal), she lives in Mankato. She will take me to the golf club for lunch, I will record her speaking, she will try take me shopping, and I might let her. Mankato is the sight of the largest hanging in the history of the United states. Abraham Lincoln ordered 38 Sioux to be hanged.
My paternal grandparents are burried here. I'll visit the graveyard, maybe try to sleep there. And it is also where this is:
The Wolf Farm
40 acres and a renter; My dad and uncle still own 40 acres where someone grows corn. What was it like before it was a farm?
My dad recorded a Minnesota Public radio segment on cassette in 1995, "Charles Biederman: An artist in exile". Enjoying Biederman greatly he mailed me the cassette to see what I thought. I have a lot of ambivalence about Biederman, he seems like the consummate modernist to me. That alone is enough to make me love/hate him. But, and this isn't necessarily separate from his modernism, what really got me is that he would spend several hours a day atop a hill near Red Wing simply contemplating nature, taking notes. Many of his notes are self-published. This devotion to the contemplation of nature is at once ridiculous and deeply moving to me. I recommend giving this radio piece a listen. The writing that resulted from this devotion is no less ridiculous and moving to me.
"Charles Biederman: An artist in exile" (Real Audio)
The official Biederman webpage:
Public radio obituary: http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2004/12/28_ap_biedermanobit/
Indigenous woman, activist, and former candidate for vice president, LaDuke lives on a reservation in Northern Minnesota. All of her books are worth reading. http://www.motherjones.com/news/special_reports/1996/01/laduke.html http://www.nativeharvest.com/
My dad used to read me a childrens book about the Native American Olympic athelete Jim Thorpe. His Daughter Grace is an important anti-nuclear activist. I think Thorpe is a beautiful name.
If LaDuke and her associations aren't enough to convince you that there is a deep progressive heritage born in the midwest, Lesueur ought to do it. She was a historian, novelist, and poet. http://citypages.com/databank/19/927/article5975.asp
Whenever we visited my grandparents we drove through the town of Le Sueur (no relation to Meridel that I am aware of) where there is a large billboard with the Jolly Green Giant, greeting motorists from beside the highway. For some reason I anticipated its appearance on the horizon with eagerness. Maybe it somehow relieved some of the tension of car travel both for me and my parents. Andrew (my older brother) and I would be in the back seat beating the crap out of each other, The Green Giant bore us all a moment of respite from ceaseless whining and bruised arms, saying to us "you're half way there, one more hour like that one and it'll be over." But outside of this mobile domestic capsule the Green Giant should be seen for what it is, a corporate logo. Green Giant is a subsidiary of Pillsbury, a flour company when it began in Minnesota. The Flour (prairie) and Lumber (forest) industry were the rationalizing capital that developed Minnesota. Green Giant is a vertically integrated vegetable grower/dis tributor, Le Sueur is in the Minnesota River Valley, on what used to be the margins of the ancient Prairie and the ancient Forest.
And Other Ideas:
Sioux Uprising of 1862
Generic place designations used by the National Park Service: Park, Monument, Site, Shrine, Memorial, Battlefield, Area, Trail, River, Parkway, Seashore, Cemetary, Lakeshore.