Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cass Lake Inauguration Celebration

The mood was festive last night at the NorthStar Coffee Bar in Cass Lake, as 40 or 50 people joined millions of others around the nation for an inaugural celebration. The event, on Leech Lake Reservation, featured a potluck dinner of roast turkey, wild rice, squash, noodles, sandwiches, ice cream and cake. There were friendly greetings, animated conversation, a variety of Obama tee shirts, a 16-foot TV screen connecting participants with their peers in Washington DC, an “Obama Conga” line, music, stories and poetry.

Sharon Enjay-Mitchell brought her grandchildren to the event and took the microphone to share a story about her own grandmother, who lived to be over 100 years old. “When I was 16 she told me that a Black man would be president of the United States. I asked her how she knew that and she said she saw it in a dream.” Sharon said that she normally doesn’t force the children to attend events but she wanted them to be part of this one. “It’s history,” she said.

Greg Chester described his emotions as he talked to his son, who had gone to Washington DC with friends to take part in the inauguration, on the cell phone. “I unexpectedly found myself getting choked up,” he said. Local physician Diane Pitman bought a round of drinks from the coffee bar. An elementary student circulated through the crowd with a video camera, taping people’s reactions to the inauguration.

Unlike many other inaugural celebrations, this event was organized online by members of the Cass Lake/Leech Lake e-Democracy forum, a web- and email-based discussion group for local issues that has recently formed in the community. Forum member Patty Smith suggested the gathering in a posting to the list, and the suggestion blossomed into an event.

You can follow this link to join the Cass Lake forum:

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