Reply from Obert Medlang (’66): Bottineau, ND

Thanks Gary

You are very welcome Obert. Gary

It’s Christmas Eve in the Philippines
Bernadette’s Niece’s little girl
Our Helpers, Sisters – Gaga and Tata
Under the Christmas Tree
200 Bags of goodies to be given to needy kids donated by our Expat group of Friends.
Bernadette will be giving these out tomorrow with a sandwich to each of the kids.
To be given to Bernadette’s Relatives
Donation from a generous Dunseith couple that will be given, this afternoon, to 16 needy Senior Citizens.
16 bags of rice, 6 lbs each 16 bags of assorted can goods
Hoolingans Lodge

Reply from Larry Liere (55) Devils Lake, ND & Mesa, AZ


Since Floyd Richard is married to my cousin Carmen I thought it would be nice to get more information about the Hoolingans Lodge that was once in Floyd’s family. I wrote to an Air National Guard friend and he sent the following information. I have removed the names of the owners because I do not know them and they may not want their names out on a log.

The Lodge is owned by _________and three others. _________ is one and the rest I’m not sure about. They have rejuvenated the old stone house by re grouting the stone and putting tongue and groove pine paneling inside. For years they used a generator for electricity but someone recently told me that they paid to have electricity brought in. The upstairs has been made into an open bay bunk room and the stone basement has been worked over with running water and sinks for bird cleaning. It is a very nice “hunting lodge”. I have been there twice hunting, once with my dad. I haven’t been there for years, but knowing _______ he would not let it deteriorate. We will be taking a trip to Frisco TX to see the Bison kick some a_s on 7 Jan in the Division 1 AA National Championship game against Sam Houston.

Christmas Story
Written by Deb Azure LaVallie (’67): Dunseith, ND
Hi Gary: Well, I wrote another story…I am writing for an
alternative online news website called The Tribal Independent that I
started with Minot Daily News writer, James Falcon and Turtle Mtn
Times writer and Freelancer, Delvin Cree…so, I’ll be writing more
often…mainly news though…but, I thought I would send you this
story…it tells about Christmas in the Turtle Mtns. Hope you like
it…it’s on thetribalindependent already….Hoping you all have a
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Deb LaVallie
Deb, this is a beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharring. Gary


Memories of Christmas Past

By Deborah LaVallie

Long before the coming of Christ, prehistoric and tribal People’s throughout the World celebrated during the time of the Winter Solstice, honoring this celestial and spiritually sacred period of time in the yearly cycle, the shortest day of the year in the Northern hemisphere, and, the longest night, and handing down through the generations, ageless ceremonies and rituals that have greatly influenced the way we celebrate this ancient “Holy” day, we now call Christmas.

The Winter Solstice, (Dec. 21) ( “solstice”, meaning when “the Sun stands still”), referring to the “Great Wheel” of the year, as taught by the Ancient Ones, was a time of abundance in agricultural tribes, the yearly Harvest finished and stored, and the work of the year completed, with the long, quietude of winter setting in.It was a deeply spiritual time of the year for many Peoples, a time of new beginnings when tribal Peoples celebrated a renewal of life, a time of purification and hope when warring and animosities were put aside, at least for a time.There was feasting and giving in many cultures, and celebrations, often with the element of fire, and with singing and dancing.

The Ancients taught that the Earth Mother was sleeping at this time of Mid-winter, along with the plants that were germinating in the cold, stillness of the Earth, waiting for the coming of spring.Indigenous Peoples rejoiced and celebrated the never-ending cycle of the seasons, while honoring and revering the constellation of Orion, “The Great Hunter”, that is so dramatically, bright and can be seen throughout the World during this season of miracles and wonderment. Also, Sirius, known as the Dog Star, and the brightest star in the sky during this time, who was Orion’s faithful companion in Greek mythology, can be seen clearly south of Orion’s belt in the nighttime sky.

Today, this special time of the year is celebrated by Christians as the time when the Savior Jesus was born, bringing light and the promise of hope to Christians throughout the World, and is also observed and celebrated by people of many cultures world-wide, though with different customs, traditions and belief systems.

Long ago, in the days when my Assiniboine (Nakota) ancestors roamed the Upper Plains, the time of the Winter Solstice would have been a time before the Big Moon or Hard Time Moon.By this time hides would have been tanned, the meat dried and roots gathered.Families gathered together, keeping warm in their tipis.There would have been plenty of food.It was a time when the young ones would be taught the oral history and the legends of the Tribe by the elders of the family.It was a time of great creativity and industry.They would have celebrated the Solstice through ceremonies and feasting, dance and song, in awe at the infinite beauty of the starlit winter sky and the miracle of the constellation, “The Great Buffalo”, and what we now call Orion.

A “traditional” Christmas, here in the Turtle Mountains centered on the Family, and was usually observed in a quietly, spiritual way, by going to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.The women usually started their preparations for the holiday season, months before, canning the juneberries and chokecherries into jellies, jams and syrup. After the harvesting of their huge gardens, that sustained so many of the people here, through the hard times, they would can their jars of pickles, beets and fruit, storing their vegetables in root cellars, and baking cakes and pies and other treats often weeks before Christmas.

Growing up in the Turtle Mountains, my Christmas memories are of going to my Grandparents, John and Lucy (Davis) Gillies’ home.Grandma Lucy, who had 15 children of her own, always managed to have a little something for “everyone” that came to celebrate Christmas with them on that day.These old Metis ladies would “regift” and stash things away in their trunks throughout the year, also making quilts and crocheted hats and mittens so they were able to “give” to everyone in their family at this time.My Grandmother would get up at 5 AM to prepare her “first” turkey of the day.It was a day of comings and goings of family, visiting, eating and playing Grandpa John’s favorite card game, Whist.(You had to be really “good” to play Whist with Grandpa).

Raising a large family of eleven children, John and Cecelia LaFountain Lavallie (my in-laws)knew the value of hard work living a self-sustaining and subsistence lifestyle.People lived through hard times in the Turtle Mountains, yet, at Christmas, there was always a little gift for everyone, and plenty of food.Everyone had to go to Midnight Mass at St. Benedicts, and on Christmas day there would be a feast with family coming and going throughout the day.Grandma Cecelia would be convinced to sing the beautiful French/Metis songs taught to her by her mother, Isabelle Delonis LaFountain.

It truly is a beautiful and peaceful time of the year, here in the Turtle Mountains, with all the houses in the community lit up in a “Festival of Lights”, the ground covered lightly with snow.The wonderfully, talented cooks and their helpers are already at work, making their treats and planning their Christmas feast.There is a certain “Spirit” in the air, and one can almost believe that there really can be peace and goodwill between all mankind, someday.We all belong to the “Family” of Man, all races, all cultures, all religions, and, one can only hope that we can all learn to live in harmony with each other and our Earth Mother, the Four-leggeds, the Winged-ones, and, the Fishers, respecting each other’s traditions, beliefs and lifeways.This is my prayer, for the coming New Year, 2012.May the Creator Bless All.