Prairie Mosaic 704
Prairie Mosaic 704

“Prairie Mosaic” is funded by– the Minnesota Arts
and Cultural Heritage Fund, with money from the vote
of the people of Minnesota on Nov. 4th, 2008; the North Dakota Council
on the Arts, and by the members
of Prairie Public. Welcome to “Prairie Mosaic,” a patchwork of stories
about the art, culture, and history
in our region. Hi, I’m Barb Gravel.
And I’m Bob Dambach. On this edition we’ll trace
the history of fiber arts, learn about
a brave Mandan Chief, and listen to the mellow,
acoustic sounds of a Fergus Falls musician. The rugged beauty of the Dells
of the St. Croix River, which straddle the border
between Minnesota and Wisconsin, has drawn visitors
since the 1860s. But in 1895 when this tourist
destination was threatened, Minnesota and Wisconsin were
galvanized to establish the first cooperative state
parks in the country. (Julie Fox)
We are at Wisconsin
Interstate Park in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin. This is Wisconsin’s
oldest state park; it was established
in the year 1900. (Jenni Webster)
We are at Interstate State Park
and Taylors Falls, Minnesota. This state park has a history
that spans back to 1895 when it was first created. A lot had been happening
in the river valley, leading up to the establishment
of the Interstate Parks, including beaver and fur
trapping and trading, a long logging history, excavation of the rock
in this area, and already
the start of tourism. So citizens thought it would be
in their best interests of both communities to preserve
the scenic beauty of the Dells
of the St. Croix River. Specifically to protect some of
the salt cliffs along that riverway that have been
here for over a billion years. One of the treats is to explore what was carved into those
basalt cliffs many years later, and those are
glacial potholes. We talk a lot about the Ice Age
here in Interstate Park. Meltwater from that Lake
Superior load of ice had formed a lake at the ice margin called
the Glacial Lake Duluth. That meltwater had nowhere
to go, and all that meltwater began crashing down
through this valley. This river was moving so quickly
that in backwaters or in eddies, the current would begin to
swirl, forming whirlpools. And glacial debris
that had been picked up by the moving ice of the glacier
would get trapped in the swirling water of the
whirlpools and that debris would begin to swirl around and
around, forming a liquid drill, which would
actually begin to drill
into the solid basalt below, leaving behind, eventually,
some very smooth-sided, round holes in the rock; these
are known as glacial potholes. And those are a real treat. You can walk above them,
around them, there’s even a pothole
you can walk inside of. (Julie Fox)
When you come here
to Interstate Park, you immediately see
these stone structures, (Jenni Webster)
and you just get that feel
of the history of the park and those big, blocky structures
and the big log beams, really kind of
feel like you’re transported
back in time a little bit. (Julie Fox) It was the Civilian
Conservation Corps and the men of Camp Interstate
that developed Interstate Park and made it available
to park users. The CCC workers that we had here on the Minnesota Interstate
State Park side, were coming from the camp based out of the Wisconsin
Interstate State Park side. Their charge was to establish
the park without harming any of the natural scenery,
so they didn’t use Bobcats and Backhoes and large
dump trucks and things; they did the work by hand. The stone that was used
in all of these buildings is the natural, basalt rock that we have in this area
along the St. Croix River. They learned from some of
the Native American method of removing this rock. Here they would start a fire
on the rock, they would keep that fire burning
for perhaps 24 or 48 hours. Once that rock was
good and hot, they had a bucket brigade of men, they would actually pass
buckets of cold water from either our Lake
O’ the Dalles here in the park or from the St. Croix River, they would
dash it on the hot rock. It would shatter the rock enough
so that they could pry it apart using crowbars
and other hand tools, they would remove that rock
from the path, then they would bring in crushed
traprock to line the trail. And then in areas where erosion
might be a problem or safety might be a concern,
they would place stone stairs, using the same, basalt rock,
and I’m told that some of these stone stairs
weighed up to 2 tons. So a tremendous amount of work
that we’re still enjoying today. The St. Croix River Valley is
a very diverse place, so if you’re here
in the springtime, we have a wonderful show
of wildflowers. We have a lot of spring warblers that migrate through
at that time of year. If you’re here in the fall, the fall color display
is absolutely beautiful. The scenery
from those basalt cliffs at the north end of the park
is just stunning, so it’s a beautiful place
to take pictures. If you go to
the south entrance of our park, we have 37 campsites,
so camping is fun here. We also have a large picnic area and about 4-1/2 miles of trails
to explore and enjoy. There is so much to see and do
in a very small package here. (Julie Fox)
Interstate Park started out
a half an acre in size, it’s grown to almost 1400 acres. People come to Wisconsin
Interstate Park and they are surprised by the
rocky terrain that we have here, by the river gorge, referred to
as the Dells of the St. Croix. There’s opportunities for
camping, we have about 85
family campsites. There are picnic areas,
9 miles of hiking trails. There’s a lake,
Lake O’ the Dalles, that provides
an opportunity for swimming. There’s canoeing opportunities,
boating opportunities, fishing, on both the St. Croix River
and Lake O’ the Dalles. As far as the wildlife, what you might expect
to find here you will, white-tailed deer, some
black bear, coyotes, foxes. As far as birds, we have probably 250
different species of birds that will be here
at one time or another, perhaps migrating through along
the St. Croix River Corridor or nesting
or overwintering here. It’s a unique partnership
that we have; we’re all working towards the same common goal. I’m hoping to invite visitors
here and educate them about this area
and instill in them an appreciation of the very
unique area that can be found right here
in the St. Croix River Valley. Aliza Novacek-Olson’s interest
in fiber arts stems from her love of history, specifically the role of women
throughout the years. She takes pride in creating a piece of clothing from
the fiber that comes from the animals she raises on
her ranch in Roseau, Minnesota. [guitar & bass play softly] (Aliza) I just
kind of always liked creating
things, and I have a fondness
for learning how women used to do things in the past. I started out
with my grandmother; Grandma always crocheted–
very fast crocheting– so I had to just watch,
and then she gave me a hook, and I started crocheting. Well, today I kind of dabble
in a little bit of everything. I’ve learned spinning now, I’ve done that for
about 5 years, and I love it. When you do spinning,
you make your yarn, so you need fiber for it, and
that’s very difficult to find. So I started thinking, well all
my life I’ve lived with animals. We have cattle, we have horses,
so I got a few alpacas, and that’s where started
with the fiber is my need for wanting to have accessible
fiber and to know what I get. And the most fun part is
that I get to raise it myself like people did in the past. You have to admire how people
did things in the past because they were not
a wasteful people. They’ve used bone,
they’ve used antler, they used all the pieces
of the materials that they used
for other purposes. The animal skins, people just
started working with the fibers, with their hands,
and they started twisting, and then they used
sticks and rocks to help with the twisting
to make it go faster, and when you’re making yarn
that way, it’s a slow process, so your yarn that you make is
shorter lengths of yarn. That’s probably
where nalbinding came in, because its uniqueness is that you work it with one needle and you work with
short lengths of yarn. We find that nalbinding has been well over 10,000 years ago
that people were using it. That was maybe one of the
first ones besides spinning. [acoustic guitar;
brightly finger-picking] I spin on mostly a spinning
wheel; it’s very relaxing. I always love working with something that’s old and has been used in the past. One of my favorites then is my
husband’s great grandma’s wheel. That’s a fun one to spin on. It’s a little bit different, it’s quite small,
but it’s a special one. I have a great wheel. The great wheel was invented
somewhere around 1250, so it was
in the early Middle Ages. From a good portion of history,
the great wheel was the wheel that was used up until about
the late 1700s, early 1800s. The great wheel doesn’t have
the treadle like you see on most wheels. It doesn’t have the flyer;
it has a spindle. So like many other objects,
there’s different inventions that come along the way that made things more efficient. Then that’s where you see
the Saxony wheel. When the flyer
and the treadle were invented, the flyer wheel has a different
system than what a spindle is. The flyer wheel has a bobbin
on it that goes around and it had a lot
of benefits to it. It was faster, easier
to fit it in the house. And then after the flyer
came the treadle, so you didn’t have to use
your hand so much. When you’re using your hands,
one has to be on the wheel to keep it going, and one is
to draft your fiber out. When they got the treadle, they could use both their hands
for drafting fiber. Working with the fiber–
it has special meaning for me. I enjoy history, I especially
have a fascination in learning how women
did things in the past. I don’t think a person really
realizes how much they did and the skill and the talent
that they had, and the time invested in things
that they did for their families until you actually sit down
and do some of it. There is a lot of importance
to homespun that we don’t think about. Say, in the Revolutionary War, how women were political. We hear about
the Boston Tea Party and we hear about fighting
for our freedom from Britain. Some of that could not have
happened without the women. Women refusing to use tea,
and one of the big things is, women refused to purchase things
from Britain. It was very patriotic
for women to sit at home and spin their own yarn, make their own clothing
and not purchase it. And when you think
about the colonies and the amount of women there, that all of a sudden
quit buying, that’s a lot of political
and economic power. Or what they did
to promote society. My grandfather, who influenced
me a lot in my love of history, fought in World War I. So the soldiers were having
problems with trench foot. And I remember him telling me
stories about socks and he said, “Oh those trenches, you’re
always wet, you’re always cold,” and he said, “if you didn’t have
enough socks, you’d have to roll your socks up
and put ’em under your armpits, just to kind of dry them
so you could put ’em back on.” Well, the problem was
that the women were hand-knitting
most of these socks. Well, it takes a long time
to knit a pair of socks by hand, so the Red Cross stepped in and purchased
circular sock machines, then they looked
for volunteers to make the knitting
of the socks. They had a quota
to fill that each woman that had a sock machine in their
home, would make these socks, send them to the Red Cross, then they would ship them
to the soldiers. It played an important role
in the health of the soldiers in World War I,
and I never realized that until I started working with
some of these knitting machines. I like to do things
the way that they have been and try to preserve
the old traditional ways and try to remember
when you work with these things, who did it in the past,
why they did it, how they came up with it, the purposes for the things that
they did and just to preserve the history that comes
along with all these things. The Mandan Chief, Four Bears,
was given his name after a battle
in which he charged his enemy with the strength of four bears. He was a brave and courageous
man and a distinguished war leader. His generosity and fearlessness
in battle gained him the respect of the Mandan people who honor
his memory, even to this day. (Marilyn C. Hudson)
It is one of the primary
questions we get here at the museum, why is everything around here
called Four Bears? What was Four Bears?
Who was Four Bears? We have the Four Bears Bridge,
we have the Four Bears Casino, we have Four Bears Village,
and sometimes they even call us
the Four Bears Museum. People are sometimes a little
bit surprised to learn that there were two
Chief Four Bears or two warriors Four Bears, the Mandan Four Bears and then
the Hidatsa Four Bears. They lived at different times
in the history of our tribe, the Mandan Four Bears being
the earlier of the two. The reason that the Mandan
Four Bears is so revered is because of his reputation
as being a great warrior and defending the rest of the
tribe from enemies and people that would be seeking
to harm them. The Hidatsa Four Bears is
known for being a great leader and negotiator at the
Fort Laramie Meeting in 1851. The life
of the Mandan Four Bears began probably about 1800. At the time he was born, there
was already a tremendous change in the society
of the Mandan People. Prior to that time,
they probably lived a fairly peaceful life
along the Missouri River. They were planters, farmers,
planted huge crops, lived permanently
in earth lodge villages and had a highly-developed
social structure. About that time, the influx
of the Europeans began to impact on Four Bears
and his people. He probably saw
a lot of changes. At the coming of the white man, he saw the harassment
of the Sioux. That’s when the warfare between the tribes
on the Great Plains began. [ceremonial drum beats; man
sings in his native language] Everybody had allies
and enemies, so Four Bears was born into that as a young man and distinguished
himself as a warrior. The warrior status was
very highly thought of. That’s probably his legacy now
as a very distinguished warrior and a protector of the people
and the village where he lived. The most interesting thing
about Four Bears is, how did he get that name? With Indian people, a person
could have several names. They could have a name at birth,
they could have a name when they became a young person, they could distinguish
themselves in some manner and get another name. Four Bears acquired his name from the fact that he was
a great warrior in a battle he had with
one of the enemy tribes. They were amazed at how he could
fight, and they called him that he fights almost like
four bears together. That would be quite a strong
fighter I would say! [laughs] He was also noted
as being very congenial. When the white man
first arrived, he was very hospitable
and very welcoming. In June of 1837, and a boat came
up the river, and they had a sick man onboard, and he was left at the Mandan
Village and they said, we’ll pick him up on the way back
down; well, he had smallpox. The Mandan People were told
leave your villages, outrun this epidemic,
outrun this germ. They couldn’t because they had
permanent villages, they had gardens,
they had fields. So they stayed,
which was probably the worst thing they could do, because the earth lodges
were not conducive to getting rid
of the smallpox germ. So as a result, almost
the entire population of the Mandan People and,
Four Bears being one of them, that perished in that epidemic. There’s a speech,
sort of a farewell speech, where he talks about I’ve always been a friend
to the white man, we’ve welcomed him,
we’ve given him food, we’ve given him lodging,
and look what he’s done to us. In 1832, there were
two very prominent artists, George Catlin and Karl Bodmer. Now, Karl Bodmer was
accompanied, Prince Maximilian, he’s an explorer; Karl Bodmer
did a lot of sketching and painting while he was
on this journey. George Catlin
came from back East. He was also interested
in making sketches of Indian people
before they disappeared. Both Catlin and Bodmer
did artist sketches and portraits of Four Bears,
so we have those, we know they’re very well done. Catlin and Bodmer did only
the Mandan Four Bears. The Hidatsa Four Bears would
have been perhaps too young, or still a child,
so we don’t have any images of the Hidatsa Four Bears like
we do of the Mandan Four Bears. Four Bears to me signifies a time when the Mandan People were probably at the pinnacle. Ideally, he represents that kind of lost society that everybody’s trying to acquire. The reason it’s important to remember Four Bears is, for any historical reason that
we remember Thomas Jefferson and we remember
George Washington– to really have
a full understanding of why we’re here
and how we’re here. We’ve got to look back and see
the path, the journey. Indian history is
a big part of it. For over 30 years
Anthony Miltich has been performing his acoustic style
of music throughout the midest. He’s produced several CD’s
and draws from his own life to create original music
and lyrics. [playing rhythm & blues] ♪ Screaming at the bullfight ♪ ♪ What a strange delight ♪ ♪ ♪ Betting on the game ♪ ♪ Hope you win tonight ♪ ♪ Going to the movies ♪ ♪ Give them what they want ♪ ♪ Ladies in their high heels ♪ ♪ High heels can be bought ♪ ♪ It’s a surreal
life experience ♪ ♪ Surreal life experience ♪ ♪ Surreal life experience
hey hey hey ♪ ♪
♪ ♪ Yeah yeah ♪ ♪
♪ ♪ Staring at the pictures ♪ ♪ The gallery’s a street ♪ ♪ Singing down the freeway ♪ ♪ With no one in the backseat ♪ ♪ Meet me at the motel ♪ ♪ Tied up from nine to five ♪ ♪ Get what I’ve been missin’ ♪ ♪ Bring you back alive ♪ ♪ It’s a surreal
life experience ♪ ♪ Surreal life experience ♪ ♪ Surreal life experience
hey hey hey ♪ ♪
♪ Yea. ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ Yeah. ♪
♪ Yeah. ♪
♪ ♪ Swinging for the bleachers ♪ ♪ Bring them to their feet ♪ ♪ Working out the details ♪ ♪ I’m squirming in my seat ♪ ♪ But I’m working
at the car wash ♪ ♪ Singin’ me the blues ♪ ♪ Me don’t need no car wash ♪ ♪ Somebody shine my shoes ♪ ♪ Surreal life ♪ ♪ It’s a surreal
life experience ♪ ♪ Surreal life experience
hey hey hey ♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ [softly finger-picking] ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪ Hey let’s go
up on the mountain tonight ♪ ♪ And be lovers
out under the stars ♪ ♪ From up there the freeways
are rivers of light ♪ ♪ With diamonds and rubies
for cars ♪ ♪ And the city is spread
like a net at your feet ♪ ♪ Catching the stars
as they fall ♪ ♪ And all of the things
that are driving you crazy ♪ ♪ Won’t really matter at all ♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪ Hey let’s go up
on the mountain tonight ♪ ♪ You can bring
all your memories along ♪ ♪ We’ll take all the very best
times of our lives ♪ ♪ And set them down
into a song ♪ ♪ And we’ll stand on a peak
overlooking the world ♪ ♪ And sing it
as loud as we can ♪ ♪ Not one of the millions
below us will hear it ♪ ♪ But won’t
the elation be grand ♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪ And we’ll catch us a ride
on the wings of an angel ♪ ♪ Flying too close
to the ground ♪ ♪ And if she is flying
away to forever ♪ ♪ Maybe we’ll never come ♪ ♪
♪ ♪ Down ♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ ♪
♪ If you know of an artist, a topic, or an organization
in our region that you think might make for
an interesting segment, please contact us at… I’m Bob Dambach.
And I’m Barb Gravel. Thank you
for joining us for this edition
of “Prairie Mosaic.” [guitar, bass, & drums
play in bright country rhythm] (woman) “Prairie Mosaic”
is funded by– the Minnesota Arts
and Cultural Heritage Fund, with money from the vote
of the people of Minnesota on Nov. 4th, 2008; the North Dakota
Council on the Arts, and by the members
of Prairie Public.

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