Honoring Indigenous People’s Day 2020

I’m an SCSU graduate student, a Graduate Assistant, and the English Department blog and social media manager. I am also a 5th and 6th grade English and Social teacher at a local elementary school. 

In honor of Indigenous People’s Day this year (October 12), I took my 5th and 6th graders on a field trip to listen to my dear old 78-year-old friend, Julius, talk about his time doing mission work on the Red Lake Reservation where he spent 20+ years living and working alongside the Indigenous People living on the reservation. 

My students were absolutely fascinated learning about Indigenous Peoples from someone who’s lived and experienced their way of life. It was so much better to hear him speak than to have my students read more out of a textbook. They thoroughly enjoyed learning about the Indigenous Peoples’ way of life! Instead of me sharing my experience, I’d like to share their experiences (in the red text) (and insert clarifications when necessary).

I like that he explained what he did. My favorite artifact was the dream catcher. My favorite part was when he said they came to take him home. The most interesting part was when he talked about the artifacts and how they were made with love. I did not dislike anything.


This student talked about the time when “they came to take him home.” Julius told a story about how years after his time on the Red Lake Reservation, his Indigenous friends invited themselves over to his house one day. When they arrived, they said, “Julius, we’re here to take you home.” They surrounded him and said they weren’t leaving his home without him. Obviously, they were only slightly serious as they knew he had other obligations in his life at that time and he couldn’t go back. The story demonstrated how much the people on the Reservation loved and respected him!

This student also talked about some of the Indigenous artifacts he had on display. He talked about how everything they create is made with love. He also showed many of the gifts these people had gifted him over the years. Everything was absolutely beautiful! 



What I thought was it was very cool. It was very fun to see the paintings he showed to us. The turtle shell was cool. I liked it because there were so many details on the shell. I liked to see the process to see what they did to get it to look that cool. I liked the canoe. It was so cool because you could see all of the details on the canoe. My favorite thing there was the painting that he got from a kid that he drove a bus for. It was so cool to see what he did when he was younger. It was a cool experience.

Part of his mission work was to drive a school bus route for their local school (as you can see in one of the later pictures; he’s wearing his bus driver jacket!). He told many stories about the kindness the students showed him. Many of the students painted or drew him pictures as gifts. Since they didn’t have much, they would give handmade items as gifts.

I think it was cool for the stuff on the table, and I think it was cool that he could speak their language. My favorite thing about it is how good they are at art. My favorite artifact was the pictures. He should put more stuff on the table.


One point Julius stressed was the importance of learning a second language. He can speak fluent Ojibwe, but he suggested my students learn Spanish. 

At one point, Julius recited the “Our Father” prayer in Ojibwe! It was really quite amazing! The written version of the “Our Father” is pictured here.


I loved it. It was so interesting. It was so cool to listen to all he had to say. I didn’t dislike anything. It was so awesome. The most interesting thing was all the pictures and artifacts. My favorite part was listening to everything. My favorite artifact was the birch bark wood canoes. 


Everything was really cool and the paintings were amazing. The language was cool too. And the boats made out of bark and stuff were really cool. The necklaces were cool too. Everything was really cool. But my favorite thing was the turtle shell. It was REALLY cool.





I’ve always honored Indigenous People in my classroom, but this year was way more impactful to my students. 

We’re curious to know:

How do you honor Indigenous People? 

What was your favorite artifact that Julius showed the children? (I know, the pictures aren’t amazing and don’t show everything.)

Why Study in Central Minnesota?

If you haven’t yet read last week’s post, I highly encourage you to do so! This is the complimentary post to last week’s!

Part of the reason I chose to attend SCSU is because it’s so conveniently situated in the middle of some really unique things to do!

Ever wonder what it’s like to attend school in Central Minnesota?! It’s pretty awesome, honestly! Central Minnesota presents opportunities for students of all kind!

Note: Please check websites for COVID updates before you visit any of these locations!

For my nature friends!

Lake George – Situated right next to campus, Lake George is a great place to hang out any time of year! While visiting, enjoy the walking paths, park, fishing, or other water sports!

Munsinger Clemens GardensMunsinger Clemens Gardens – Just across the river from SCSU, the beautiful Munsinger Clemens Gardens contains so many beautiful flowers and walking paths! Bring a picnic lunch, have a seat by the river, and enjoy the fresh air!

Quarry Park and Nature Reserve – Just five miles from campus, the Quarries is a great hangout any time of year! From hiking, to skiing, to swimming, the Quarries presents something for everyone!

Charles A. Lindbergh State Park – This is one of Minnesota’s beautiful state parks located about 40 minutes from campus! Enjoy an afternoon of hiking, swimming, and more, or spend the night in their campground and enjoy a few days within the park.


For those who love craft brews!

Beaver Island Brewing Company – Up for some good local craft brew? Check out the Beaver Island Brewing Company, just a short walk from campus!

Pantown BrewingPantown Brewing Company – What’s unique about this brewery? It’s owned by a St. Cloud State University graduate! If that’s not enough reason to visit the brewery, then I don’t know what is!

Bad Habit Brewing – Head down the street to St. Joseph, MN for some truly unique brews! Sit in the taphouse or on the patio.


For those history buffs!

Lindbergh HomeCharles A. Lindbergh Historic Site – Celebrate the man who made the first solo transatlantic flight! A native to Little Falls, Minnesota, Charles Lindberg’s life is documented at this historic site. You can also see his boyhood home!

Stearns History Museum – Visiting the Stearns History Museum is a perfect daytime activity to learn more about the county in which you are studying! At just three miles from campus, there’s no reason to not stop by!


For the adventure junkies!

QuarriesQuarry Park and Nature Reserve – I know, this is a repeat on the list, but it’s for a good reason. Looking for an opportunity for some high adventure? Want to jump off cliffs into water below? You can do this at the Quarries! Make sure to exercise caution while cliff jumping.

Powder Ridge – Just 20 miles from campus, Powder Ridge is the perfect weekend day trip if you enjoy winter sports! You can downhill ski, snowboard, cross country ski, and more at Powder Ridge!


For the music and art lovers!

Paramount Center for the Arts – The Paramount really presents something for everyone. Watch a play or musical, attend a concert, or take part in a variety of arts-based classes!

Summertime by George – A free summer concert series that takes place by Lake George! Bring your lawn chair and get ready for a really fun evening! Also, get there early because parking can get a little hectic if you don’t!


For the sports fans!

Huskies FlagSCSU sports games – This one is just a given! SCSU has so many amazing sports teams! You can always find a game to watch to support your fellow Huskies! One really great aspect of SCSU is the support system! Students are supported everywhere they turn. They’re supported by other students, professors, staff members and community members! Be part of the community of support by attending and cheering on your fellow Huskies!

Joe Faber Field – Home of the St. Cloud Rox. Check out a local ball game with friends!

Wobegon Trails – 65 miles of trails to walk, bike, run and more! Get outside for a causal walk or a lovely workout!


For those who love to shop!

Crossroads Center – Right in the heart of St. Cloud, Crossroads presents shops small and large. If you go, definitely check out the fudge in Scheels; you can get a free sample!

Mall of America – You’re coming to Central Minnesota to study! You might as well venture south and hit up the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota! If you like Crossroads, you will LOVE the Mall of America! (Bonus: MOA is also right near an IKEA in case you need to furnish your dorm or apartment!)

Spoonbridge and CherryNicollet Mall – Contrary to popular belief, Nicollet Mall isn’t a shopping mall, but does present some really great culture! Right in the heart of Minneapolis, Nicollet Mall is a one-stop-shop, so to speak. They have food and drinks, shopping, music, and attractions such as the Walker Art Center! Across the street from the Walker Art Center, you’ll find the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden home to the iconic “Spoonbridge and Cherry” sculpture.

I could continue this list of amazing Central Minnesota things to do, but for now, I’ll just leave it at this!

What is your favorite thing to do in Central Minnesota?



Who Is Sinclair Lewis and Why is He Important to Central Minnesota?

Did you know that we recently had a scholar visiting SCSU from China to study Sinclair Lewis? Read more about her time with us here and continue reading to find out more about Sinclair Lewis!

Well, who is he? If you’re from central Minnesota, I’m fairly confident you’ve at least heard of the man. If you’re not from here, you might not know why he is so important to central Minnesotans, especially Sauk Centre residents!

Sinclair Lewis (full name – Harry Sinclair Lewis) was born February 7, 1885 in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, the most Scandinavian part of America (at that time). His father was a country doctor. Sinclair writes about his childhood, “Until I went East to Yale University I attended the ordinary public school, along with many Madsens, Olesons, Nelsons, Hedins, Larsons. Doubtless it was because of this that I made the hero of my second book, The Trail of the Hawk, a Norwegian, and Gustaf Sondelius, of Arrowsmith, a Swede – and to me, Dr. Sondelius is the favorite among all my characters” (The Nobel Prize).

After public school, Lewis attended Yale University. Lewis claims the only real writing he did during his time at Yale was writing for the Yale Literary Magazine. Interestingly, most of the stories he wrote for this magazine were boring romantic stories. Lewis himself finds his earlier writings interesting when looking at his later writing. He ponders, “Whether imaginary castles at nineteen lead always to the sidewalks of Main Street at thirty-five, and whether the process might be reversed, and whether either of them is desirable, I leave to psychologists” (The Nobel Prize).

After graduating from Yale in 1907, Lewis worked as a reporter and editor. Later, he wrote for popular magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post and Cosmopolitan but always wanted to be a serious novelist. In 1914, he published his first novel, Our Mr. Wrenn which received favorable criticism but few readers. In 1920, Lewis’ literary reputation was established with the publication of Main Street. It is told from the perspective of Carol Kennicott, an Eastern girl married to a Midwestern doctor who settles in the fictional town of Gopher Prairie, Minnesota. Gopher Prairie is inspired and modeled after Lewis’ hometown of Sauk Centre.

Much of the success of this novel came from Lewis’ accurate use of local speech, customs and social amenities. According to Britannica.com, “The satire is double-edged—directed against both the townspeople and the superficial intellectualism that despises them. In the years following its publication, Main Street became not just a novel but the textbook on American provincialism” (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica).

After Main Street, Lewis led a busy life. He married Dorothy Thompson in 1928 in England, travelled a lot, but claims his travels were quite boring, and in 1930, became the first American to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. He died in Rome, Italy on January 10, 1951, just a month shy of his 66th birthday. If you would like to read more about Sinclair Lewis, check out his autobiographical narrative written for his winning of the Nobel Prize here, or click here to read a comprehensive biography written by the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

If Sinclair Lewis is interesting to you and you’re in the area, we at the English department would like to encourage you to check out Sauk Centre and all things Sinclair Lewis there.

Here are some of our favorite Sinclair Lewis sites!

  1. The Sinclair Lewis Boyhood Home – Lewis lived here from 1889 until 1902. You can take a tour of the home. The entire home has been restored to include antiques appropriate to the time period! For more information, click here!
  2. Gopher Prairie Inn – If you’re spending the night, check out the Gopher Prairie Inn! Now, even though I couldn’t find confirmation of this fact, but it seems logical to claim that the Gopher Prairie Inn was named after the Gopher Prairie town in Lewis’ Main Street. Either way, if you want to book a night, click here!
  3. Sinclair Lewis Avenue – If you’re looking for a nice drive through town, this is the avenue for you to take!
  4. Main Street – It’s hard to visit Sauk Centre without driving Main Street. Taking a trip down Main Street will make you feel like you’re driving through the past! See how many references to Sinclair Lewis you can find!

If you’re looking for other things to do in and around Sauk Centre, we recommend:

  1. Walking/Hiking/Biking on the Wobegon Trail
  2. Shopping along Main Street
  3. Viewing at movie at the Main Street Theatre
  4. Tasting some cheese at the Redhead Creamery
  5. Driving around Sauk Centre and admiring all the beautiful murals
  6. Grabbing a bite to eat at the Ding Dong Café

Let us know if you’ve ever been to Sauk Centre and what you love to do in the small town!

Works Cited:

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. Sinclair Lewis. 3 Feb. 2020, www.britannica.com/biography/Sinclair-Lewis.

The Nobel Prize. The Nobel Prize in Literature 1930. 2020, www.nobelprize.org/prizes/literature/1930/lewis/biographical/.