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Anton Treuer and the Real Story of Thanksgiving

Posted byMary Poggione on 11 Oct 2012 | Tagged as: Book Excerpt, History, Interview, MHS Author in the News, Native American, Videos

Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to AskAnton Treuer, author of Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask, was on NPR’s Tell Me More earlier this week, discussing the real story of Christopher Columbus.

I think there’s a growing awareness that Columbus didn’t discover America–that the place was densely inhabited by other human beings. But certainly the Columbus experience would change the entire world. But in spite of the fact that Christopher Columbus wrote lots of letters and kept many journals, and by his second voyage there were many official scribes, army officers, priests, writing about the experience, over 500 years later this piece of history gets sugarcoated a lot.

And you know, we now know as a fact of history that on Columbus’s second voyage, the Spanish instituted a gold dust tribute, whereby those who failed to bring a certain quantity of gold dust would have their hands chopped off. And we know for a fact of history that the Spanish cut the hands off of 30,000 people that year on the island of Hispaniola–what’s now Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

“And we know that within thirty years, the two million people that the Spanish estimated to be inhabiting that island before contact were completely annihilated. And that is a textbook definition of genocide. And we have so successfully sugarcoated the history that we have obfuscated some of the most important parts of that story.”

Check out Anton Treuer’s answer to “What is the real story of Thanksgiving?” from the book Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask.

Treuer’s recent in-depth television interview on C-Span’s Afterwords is also now available.

Living Here, Loving Minnesota with Kim Ode

Posted byAlison Aten on 20 Sep 2012 | Tagged as: Authors, Cooking, Interview

phpyDC97BAn occasional series highlighting local authors and their favorite ways to spend a Minnesota weekend.

Kim Ode has spent most of 2012 talking about her latest cookbook, Rhubarb Renaissance, and is trying to decide what food to tackle next. She remains a member of the St. Paul Bread Club and also plays trombone with the Calhoun-Isles Community Band. Kim  Ode

What is a typical weekend for you?

“Typical” changes with the season, given that in summer, we’re on our sailboat on Lake Superior whenever possible. Otherwise, I’m happiest tucked in at home, putzing in the garden or organizing shelves–unexpectedly satisfying! Wherever I am, cooking for friends often is involved, usually with a recipe I’ve never tried. I like to pull people out onto the culinary tightrope with me!

What are some of your favorite local Friday night activities?

After a week at the Star Tribune, I rarely want to leave the house. I’m a locabore, I guess, but a happy one. If I’ve planned to bake in my brick oven on Saturday, then Friday nights are for mixing bread dough so it gets that long overnight rise to develop the best flavor.

What/where do you eat on weekends? What’s a typical Sunday breakfast for you?

I’m happiest when I’m cooking for myself and others, but Tosca in Linden Hills is a small gem with great squash ravioli. Mill Valley Kitchen in St. Louis Park manages to be sumptuous and healthy. I love Travail Kitchen and Amusements in Robbinsdale but know enough not to fight the weekend crowds.

Sunday breakfasts is plural. My husband gets two eggs over easy, toast, and bacon every week because that’s what he lives for, emphasis on Once A Week. While I will reserve some bacon for myself, I love to eat leftovers for breakfast–last night’s potstickers or pizza or mashed potatoes. And sourdough toast–with mayonnaise and garden tomatoes in the summer or with mustard and baked beans in the winter.

What is your weekend reading like?

After the newspaper (duh), I’ll riffle through cookbooks or magazines during the day. For whatever reason, I read best at night, mostly nonfiction, although the Strib’s books editor, Laurie Hertzel, always has good fiction writers in mind. I just finished reading chef Marcus Samuelsson’s memoir, Yes, Chef, and it’s terrific. My biggest challenge is holding off on rereading Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series. I have read the twenty books three times and have vowed to let at least five years pass before diving in again.

What is your top Minnesota getaway?

Has to be Lake Superior, anywhere on that spectacular body of water. Grand Marais’ great hug of a harbor is a top destination.

Living Here, Loving Minnesota with Klecko

Posted byAlison Aten on 31 Aug 2012 | Tagged as: Authors, Interview

phpyDC97BDanny Klecko is the CEO of the Saint Agnes Baking Company in Saint Paul and the author of the MHS Press book, K-9 Nation Biscuit Book. He is currently hosting twelve days of food demos at the Minnesota State Fair, in the Creative Activities building. If you would like to hear more stories from him, check out his popular blog site The Last American Baker.

Klecko

1. What is a typical weekend for you?

When you service hotels, restaurants, and casinos there is no such thing as a typical weekend. Saturdays are interesting because I can find myself running products to my farmer’s market booth or bringing baked goods to one of our accounts that may have forgotten to order. To me it has never seemed like work. I love the energy that surrounds the Twin Cities food scene.

If I am lucky enough to get the weekend off, you’ll find me on a baseball diamond teaching kids how to hit baseballs. Saint Paul has produced legends like Mauer, Molitor, Morris, and Winfield, but I had a group of kids this summer that might give these legends a run for their money.

2. What are some of your favorite local Friday night activities?

On Friday evenings I like to attend all types of events. I don’t care if it’s an intimate show at Patrick’s Cabaret or something bigger, like a Timberwolves game. Oftentimes I find myself not even watching the entertainment because I become more intrigued by how these venues light their spaces or how they control their traffic flow.

3. What/where do you eat on weekends? What’s a typical Sunday breakfast for you?

When you service 300 commercial accounts, you have to be careful when you give a personal endorsement. To put one restaurant on a pedestal means you might upset the other 299 concepts. With that being said, I’m going to go out on a limb and be honest with you. When my family goes out together, we always do breakfast. If you live in or around the Highland Park area, is there any other choice than the Copper Dome? I’ve lived in this neighborhood for 20 years and I swear to Caesar their staff hasn’t turned over a single employee in decades.

However, if I am by myself, I go to the Day by Day Cafe. Overall I would say they offer the most complete breakfast for sophisticated guys like me.

4. What’s your weekend reading like?

During the weekends, if I want to indulge myself, I’ll usually mix myself a Rusty Nail and read poetry. During the winter months I will either review the classics like Carl Sandburg, Ezra Pound, or Saint Paul’s own Poet Laureate Carol Conolly. When my son comes home from college in the summer we read nothing but poems from Russia and Poland.

5. What is your top Minnesota getaway?

The thing I enjoy most about Minnesota is there are more getaway options than I have time for. But, if I want to go someplace special, someplace that offers intrigue or romance, I’m heading north to Duluth. My wife is more adventurous and likes to go to spots that we are unfamiliar with. In fact just a couple of weeks ago she made me go to Luverne. If you check out my Facebook page, you’ll see her standing next to a scale-sized plastic buffalo.

David Nichols on MPR!

Posted bylucia.randle on 17 Aug 2012 | Tagged as: History, Interview, MHS press, Native American

php5sRMFzAuthor of Lincoln and the Indians, David Nichols joined MPR host Cathy Wurzor on Tuesday morning. The topic of the morning show was the Dakota War of 1862, with Friday being the anniversary of the first battle of the war. Specifically discussing Abraham Lincoln’s participation in the war, and discussing the government’s Indian policy, Nichols was brought on to shed more light on the subject. Together, Nichols and Wurznor talk about the war and that chapter in history.

Check out the show here!

Living Here: Loving Minnesota with Ann Bauer

Posted bylucia.randle on 14 Aug 2012 | Tagged as: Authors, Interview

phpyDC97B

An occasional series highlighting local authors and their favorite ways to spend a Minnesota weekend.

We introduce the series with Ann Bauer, coauthor with Mitch Omer of our bestselling cookbook, Damn Good Food: 157 Recipes from Hell’s Kitchen. Ann and her husband and teenage daughter live in Highland Park, a neighborhood of St. Paul. Ann’s newest novel is The Forever Marriage.

1. What is a typical weekend for you? phpNH8BSY

A typical weekend is quiet. For years, I got up at 6 a.m., 7 days a week, to write. But since our youngest went to college this year, I’m trying something new: allowing myself to sleep until 8 or even 9 on weekends. Waking up naturally feels decadent to me. My husband and I never speak in the morning, because I’ve found that’s the best way to work. He’ll often make me espresso and deliver it without a word. If the temperature is over 55 but under 85, we’ll go on a long motorcycle ride in the afternoon. We like eastern Minnesota for its hills and orchards. There are some sweet little restaurants along the St. Croix: Olive’s has the best salmon-dill pizza. Also La Cosinita in Bayport, WI. In winter, we do a lot of reading and hibernating. Sundays, we have a family dinner with our adult kids (the ones who are in town) and invite “extended” family—friends and neighbors. I’m big into one-pot cooking. We visited Budapest this year, so Hungarian goulash—with a salad and bread from Rustica—is my current favorite cold-weather meal.

2. What are some of your favorite local Friday-night activities?

I spent two years as a food critic and, frankly, that burned me out on “hot” restaurants—especially on Friday nights. If a place is new and hyped up, if people are waiting to get in even with a reservation, I want no part of it. So our Friday evenings are really low key. It’s the end of the work week, so we might have a nicer-than-usual bottle of wine. If we go out, it’s to one of the small places we’ve loved forever, like the Sample Room or Mango Thai. We frequently go to Namaste on Hennepin; it’s so good and somehow there’s always room. Once a month, there’s a gathering of artists called Algonquin Hotdish—we’ve been going to that for years.

3. What/where do you eat on weekends? What’s a typical Sunday breakfast for you?

I’m not much of a breakfast person—in the morning, that is. I love breakfast food, but I tend to eat it later in the day, once I’m done writing. What’s important to me on a Sunday morning is a great cup of coffee WITH REAL CREAM. I don’t want flavors or skim milk or some chromosomally altered sugar substitute. Cream, cinnamon, and maybe a touch of honey if the coffee is very dark and strong. My husband and I travel quite a bit, and when we’re on the road, accountable to no one, we eat a small meal at 10:30 and a large one around 3. Then we’ll get some wine and snacks for our hotel room: crackers and cheese or fruit. And once we stop for the night, we’ll have a very very light 8 o’clock dinner. But we have to be done riding for the day if we’re on the motorcycle. We never drink and get back on the bike.

4. What’s your weekend reading like?

I read the same way on weekends that I do during the rest of the week—only more so. I may be the only Minnesota writer I know who does NOT have a Sunday ritual around the New York Times. I love the Times and I read it (online) frequently. But I’m not an avid newsprint-on-the-hands person. In fact, I’ve converted to the laptop, Kindle, and iPad surprisingly well. I tend to FINISH books on weekends, mostly (I suspect) because I don’t have to stop reading and I just tear through until the end. So we do a lot of bookstore and library trips. I keep a running list of books I want to read pasted to my computer screen. And I do a lot of reading and editing for other writers, often on weekends when I have uninterrupted time.

Interview with Mark Anthony Rolo

Posted byAlison Aten on 08 Mar 2012 | Tagged as: Authors, Interview, Literary, Native American

Mark Anthony Rolo is an enrolled member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. He is the former editor of The Circle newspaper and Washington D.C. Bureau Chief for Indian Country Today. We asked him about how he came to write his new book, My Mother Is Now Earth.

My Mother Is Now Earth Mark Anthony Rolo with Rock Roy Rolo (photo by  Nicholas Rolo)

How did you decide to write about your mother?

Actually, I never wanted to write about my mother’s life for a few reasons. The first is that I was just a boy when she passed on. There are only so many memories an eight- or ten-year-old boy can gather. And of course, the boy of me had a very limited understanding of the harsh realities of poverty, growing up in a home with a mother who struggled with depression and a father who was lost to drinking.

My mother was extremely private. She shared very little things of her heart. Much of that was because many American Indian women of her generation were the same. The work of survival is always cloaked in social and personal invisibility. So I had little to reveal about a mother who hid her heart. How could I know it? Even my father and older brothers were often puzzled in trying to understand her.

But the other reason is that given we came from such a tough, dysfunctional reality, and that all of us, the sons and daughter, have tried to move on, to remove the pain, to keep the good memories alive, I always felt it invasive to write about those last three years of our mother’s life because I never wanted to “exploit” the shared story I have with my siblings.

Of course, I never gave much of this any thought in depth until I met Ann Regan, my editor at Borealis Books. When I was editor of The Circle in Minneapolis, Ann and I used to have rich fellowship when we met for lunch–talking about potential Native American stories that might be appropriate to for the press. Naturally, she was very interested in Native American memoir. And she often wondered if I would ever be interested in writing one. I began to consider her interest, but after given it much thought I decided I just could not tell even my own story because it was so woven into the tapestry of my collective history with my family.

So why did you decide to embark on this journey of telling your mother’s story?

In the winter of 2008, I was living in Madison, teaching at the University of Wisconsin and taking care of my high school nephew, Nicholas, I used to walk through this community garden across the street from our apartment. I was just moved by the slumber of winter. And I kept visiting that garden until the spring was in full bloom. One day I honestly felt my mother’s spirit in the warm wind, felt her presence within the very living, coming alive, Earth.  It was through embracing this wild, wonderful sensation that she was, in fact, one with the Earth, as many–if not all–American Indians believe, she was there and so was her story. I stayed in that “Earth spirit,” if I may, and began the book from that dreamy, lyrical reality. It gave me an opening into the story. It brought my personal memories of my mother and those final three years in northern Minnesota to life.

Often, writing the memoir is cathartic for many writers – a process of sifting through unresolved emotions, experiences that lead to making sense of one’s history. Was this true for you?

Indeed, there was a great deal of coming to terms with the unresolved. I lost my mother quite suddenly. I was a boy. I never knew her beyond the year of her death, 1973. The grief and the painful, painful work it does in us when we lose a loved one was forced upon me. I have never been one to bury pain by hiding in my work or in play. And I’m forever grateful that I can’t avoid pain. I must feel it, embrace it. And in the many years since my mother’s young passing on I have worked very hard at understanding me, understanding how my childhood has affected my adult self.

There is great freedom and healing when an adult finds the courage to undo the past in order find change. Therefore, in approaching my mother’s story there was no grief to return to. The loss of her and its impact on me was complete–had been for many years. Sure, there was sorrow and much pain in reliving those final three years, but at the same time, the sorrow was surpassed by this uncanny realization that as I pressed on in the writing I felt like I was getting to know a woman who was taken from me at such an early age. I honestly believe that I have gotten to know my mother and her hidden heart. Amazing. To think one could get to know a parent beyond the grave is more than healing. It is, as we Indians say, full circle.

Given the trepidation and quite frankly, very real fear of “exposing” your family’s’ story how did you resolve the dilemma of writing this memoir?

First of all, my father passed on in 1989. I would not have attempted to write this story if he were still alive today. Like everyone, of all classes and races, Donald Rolo was quite complex. He could be loving and vicious, defender and attacker. I know he loved my mother deeply and thus, the tragedy of their relationship. But as much as I could attempt to convince him that this story was my own story, about my own memory of my relationship with my mother, his wife, I do not believe he would have received that– and mostly because of his own guilt and shame at how he treated her and their children.

My father being removed from this life allowed me to truly embrace the truth that I “owned,” my personal story of my mother and me. I had a right to tell my story, regardless of concern for siblings. So I went through great lengths to truly “personalize” this story, leaving room for family members to say, “Well, that’s how Mark Anthony remembered it. I have a different recollection.” And that was okay with me. At the very least, my siblings agree that the attempt here was to honor our mother–give her the due of more dignity than despair.

If the memoir, for you, is not about closure or resolve in understanding your upbringing, then what does this story mean for you?

I believe each and every one of us has a story to tell. We share an equal worth in the family we call the universe. That one might want to tell their story for posterity, greater clarity and understanding, or simply to reminisce, it is all entirely valid. But I believe the impulse to tell our own story is as ancient as with all storytelling throughout the centuries. From cave paintings to the printed word, we tell our story to find meaning, purpose, in order to better connect to our rightful place in the universe. Our lives, our histories are much more than a series of random anecdotes, recurring scenes that haunt or give us joy. Our lives, our experiences add up to a larger, personal narrative–what has been our journey in this life and what will it be beyond this world?

North Star Cocktails

Posted byAlison Aten on 08 Nov 2011 | Tagged as: Authors, Cooking, Event, Interview, MHS Author in the News, MHS press, Videos

North Star CocktailsJohnny MichaelsRecognized as one of the Twin Cities’ best drink makers, Johnny Michaels is the cocktail connoisseur’s answer to a gourmet chef. His home base is the James Beard award–winning La Belle Vie, but he’s designed the cocktail menus for several of its sister restaurants and other top metro eateries. Together with premiere bartenders such as Pip Hanson, Nick Kosevich, Jesse Held, Thea Sheffert, and others in the North Star Bartenders’ Guild, Michaels shares nearly 200 original, crafted cocktail recipes utilizing fresh fruits and vegetables, tips on barkeep techniques and tools, and guides to artisanal liquors and bitters.

Join us Thursday evening at the Mill City Museum to sample craft cocktails and meet Johnny Michaels and members of the North Star Bartenders’ Guild to celebrate the publication of North Star Cocktails.  Johnny Michaels and five other members of the guild will be on hand to mix their cocktail recipes featured in the book. Participants will receive a voucher for three half-size cocktails with paid admission and can purchase vouchers for additional cocktails. Pip Hanson of Marvel Bar will conduct a demonstration of hand ice chipping. Nick Kosevich of Bittercube will deliver a tutorial on the art of handcrafting artisanal bitters. (See today’s feature on The Heavy Table for more on Bittercube.) Dean Phillips will have a memorabilia display highlighting the history of Phillips Distilling Company and its deep Minnesota roots. Complimentary light hors d’oeuvres will be served. North Star Bartenders’ Guild members will sign copies of the book, which will be for sale in the museum store. All author royalties earned from the sale of the book will be donated to SPCA International, an organization committed to advancing the safety and well-being of animals.

For more insider tips, check out the Star Tribune and City Pages interviews with Johnny or the School of Drinks series with MplsStPaul magazine.

Transforming Trauma

Posted byAlison Aten on 11 Oct 2011 | Tagged as: Authors, History, Interview, MHS press, Native American, Videos

Diane Wilson, author of Beloved Child: A Dakota Way of Life, shares how and why she came to write about overcoming the unrelenting trauma resulting from the colonization and assimilation of  the Dakota community. Her book profiles several contemporary Dakota people who are sustained by rich traditions, ceremonies, advocacy, and education and are transforming the legacy of colonization into a better way of life for their children.

Videos of Clifford Canku and Gabrielle Tateyuskanskan, two of the people featured in Beloved Child, are also available online. Video footage is from the book launch hosted by Birchbark Books and held at St. Paul Episcopal Church in Minneapolis.

We’re Back!

Posted byAlison Aten on 26 Jul 2011 | Tagged as: Authors, Event, Fiction, History, Interview, Literary, MHS Author in the News, Native American

We are delighted to be back in our offices after a nearly three-week Minnesota state government shutdown!

As a segue into our regularly scheduled Tuesday and Thursday posts, here is a mini-roundup of some recent MHS Press/Borealis Books news:

The hot weather did not deter some of us from attending the taping of a future episode of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern at the VFW in Minneapolis’s Uptown area. Ann Burckhardt, author of Hot Dish Heaven, was the celebrity judge for the show’s hot dish contest. And what was for dessert? Why, entries for the best Jello salad, of course. We won’t reveal the winners. Let’s just say there were some creative entries!

Ann Burckhardt and Andrew Zimmern

Johnny Michaels, bar manager at La Belle Vie, was recently featured on Esquire’s Eat Like a Man blog and consulted by Minnesota Monthly as to whether beer on the rocks is permissible. Look for North Star Cocktails by Johnny Michaels and the North Star Bartenders Guild this November.

Tomorrow (Wednesday, July 27) Anton Treuer will appear on the nationally syndicated radio program Native America Calling. The Assassination of Hole in the Day, now out in paperback, is the show’s Book of the Month selection.

The City of St. Paul sponsors a bimonthly StoryWalk to “walk, read, learn, and have fun.” Last Sunday our book Minnesota’s Hidden Alphabet, written by David LaRochelle and with photographs by Joe Rossi, was featured at Lake Phalen.

St. Paul StoryWalk

Borealis Books author Sarah Stonich has been hitting the road to share her newest book, Shelter, with readers around the state. She’ll be at Magers and Quinn in Minneapolis on Tuesday, August 9, at 7:30, along with Ellen Baker, author of I Gave My Heart to Know This.

And don’t forget to check out our Summer E-book sale!

Interview with Sarah Stonich, Part 2

Posted byAlison Aten on 10 Mar 2011 | Tagged as: Authors, Interview, Literary, MHS press

Sarah StonichShelterQ. It’s been ten years between your first book and this one. How has publishing changed for you as an author in that span?

A. Publishing as it was no longer exists: far fewer books are being published, the business is slow to embrace technology, and the old model has worn out. Editors and marketers don’t seem aware that the entire next reading generation of twenty- and thirty-somethings will inevitably do most of their reading on devices and won’t necessarily want long novels by debut authors. They will likely read e-books first; then, if they love it, they might buy the physical book.

Q.  Shelter is available as an e-book. How do you feel about readers experiencing your book on an electronic device?

A.  I have mixed feelings. One of my sisters had been in Mexico over this month as Shelter is released, so she ordered the Kindle edition. I wished she’d waited for the physical volume, since it’s a lovely little book to hold and I think it would have added to the experience. That said, I don’t generally have any problems with e-books—they are the future, and while my first book is no longer in print, at least it’s available as an e-book. The Ice Chorus is also out in e-book. If done right, the author gets a better percentage of sales.

Q. In finding land and building a retreat, did you achieve your goal of bridging some connection between your father and son?

A.  Sam never had the chance to bond with a grandparent the way so many of us have. But I think observing me write this book and building our little place, he began to appreciate the land and learn more about his grandfather. So, yes, mostly, just not in the way I’d imagined.

Q.  At the end of Shelter your son was in Tokyo. Where is he now?

A. After some visa problems in Japan, he’s back in the Twin Cities, a full-time student with a double major in art and design. We have lunch; it’s great.

Q. What’s next?

A.  I’m hoping to find a publisher for my latest book, Vacationland, set in a remote resort in (where else?) northern Minnesota. The bulk of the story is told by visitors over the sixty-year life of the place and by the granddaughter who returns as an adult decades after being raised there.

Q.  Sounds a little like Shelter. Is it at all biographical?

A.  No, just set on similar ground. I’m also halfway through writing a novel based on a screenplay I recently finished, Fishing With RayAnne, about the camera-shy host of the first all-women fishing/talk show on public television. It’s a dark comedy, really fun to write.

Q. What is the status of your land now? Is it safe, or will the road project go through?

A.  I still don’t know—just have to deal with not knowing. The cabin is on shaky ground, but at least for now we still have our place in the woods. Thankfully, my family is rock solid. I’m thinking of getting a dog . . . it’s all good.

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