Events of historic importance are slowly unfolding south of Mandan, North Dakota, near the boundary of another nation state, the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. The Dakota Access Pipeline protest has grown into something much larger and more important for the future of white-Indian relations. As we in the non-Indian community look on, it is essential that we try to shut up and just listen for a change.
With the deepest sorrow I write today to say farewell. All things must pass. My time with the Bismarck Tribune now ends. I have had a great run. As of today, I have written 520 columns in the last ten years. That's almost 700,000 words. Nobody can say I haven't had my chance to make my views known to the readers of this newspaper.
I love North Dakota. I was born here, raised here, and my heart has always resided here, even when I lived in really interesting other places. Although I resided in Nevada for 17 years, when people in other places asked me where I was from, I always said North Dakota—boldly and with pride.
There is a North Dakota that is disappearing—the old ethnicities are being washed into homogeneity, my mother locks her door now every time, and our heritage of rural stoicism and strength is becoming the stuff of nostalgia.
This year I had the joy of making the Lewis and Clark trip with my daughter, now 20, who is spending her summer in Dakota with her adoring papa. For many years I have wanted to bring her on this tour, but she was a serious 4H participant through high school, and the county fair down in northwestern Kansas always competed with Lewis and Clark. Pigs and pies trumped John Colter and Pierre Cruzatte.