Thank You, Pilgrims

by Louise Erdrich

Thank you, Pilgrims!

No, not buckle pilgrims -- book pilgrims.

Our little bookstore would never survive without the Pilgrims who come to visit us from every part of the world. Thank you for coming to visit us. Thank you for drinking coffee at the Kenwood Cafe. Thank you for sitting in the reading chairs and for telling us how and why you came to Birchbark Books. Thank you for sharing the green stuff that lubricates the wheels of civilization. Over the summer and fall, we've have visitors from Italy, Canada, China, Germany, England, Nigeria, Ireland, Turkey, Sweden, Japan, Romania, Mississippi, North Dakota, and Maple Grove, Minnesota, from the nations of Leech Lake, Red Lake, White Earth, Turtle Mountain, Pine Ridge, Rosebud, and ICELAND ( !), to name just a few locales where literati decide that when visiting Minneapolis they will find Birchbark Books.

It is always such a pleasure to find out how and why people arrive at the blue Birchbark door (blue to resist evil spirits). Often they have been dragged in by a relative, it is true. But that relative has a love of books and little bookstores, and passes this on. Many times the next generation is imbued with the spirit of the place. We have children who have grown up reading such books as A Coyote Solstice Tale, by Thomas King, pictures by Gary Clement. The perfect book to read in the Birchbark Loft. This is a wonderful coyote sweet and funny book, a gentle anti-Christmas craziiness story that resonated with me and will, I think, with every mother and father whose children's visions of sugar plums require them to visit a crowded mall. It made me want to drink hot chocolate and curl up with a good book.

I plan on curling up (again) with Our Knowledge Is Not Primitive, Decolonizing Botanical Anishinaabe Teachings by Wendy Makoons Geniusz. This book is several things at once: a primer on truth, an innovative Anishinabe-English language text, a grand discussion of what has been already written about Anishinabe use of plants, and a delightful act of love. Decolonized knowledge of the world allows a person access to the entire range of human experience of nature -- from use to song to dream to dance. This work is eye-opening and joyous . And it is one of my favorite books of the year.