Reading Journal 2023: Gichigami Hearts: Stories and Histories from Misaabekong
Author: Linda Legarde Grover
In the waning days of summer 2022 my wife and i hopped in the car and took a drive up the Michigan peninsula to spend a few days at the famed Mackinac Island. Michigan wasn’t new to us, but the island was, and whenever I embark on a trip I always try to track down a local bookstore and purchase at least one book by a local author telling a story rooted in the place we are visiting.
In this case I went with the familiar, having come across this book by an indigenous author detailing Duluths history from the perspective of her Ojibwe past. I have always loved visiting Duluth, and this intimate composition, which is part Memoir, part lore, affords it a deeply personal touch.
The book moves easily between the particular locale of a shoe repair shop or a childhood home, for example, to the lands rich spiritual heritage, stretching from the rocks that frame the city to the waters below and framed against the story of the authors ancestors. Anchoring these stories is a portrait of the familiar Point of Rocks. Having driven the highway that breaks into majestic views of this valley and these cliffs many times, I was able to conjure this image as a way of stepping into the greater imagination of Grivers winding and meandering journey.
This book gives us the tools to see both that which is visible and that which lies unseen, recognizing that both shape the reality of this place as part of the cities ethos and Govers shared heritage.