Jim Northrup, 1943–2016

Breaking: Beloved Ojibwe Author, Poet, Marine Veteran Jim Northrup Walks On


Beloved Fond du Lac author Jim Northrup, who publicly revealed a terminal cancer diagnosis earlier this year, has walked on.

RELATED: Terminally Ill Ojibwe Author Jim Northrup Prepares His Final Farewell

The Ojibwe author, poet, linguist, U.S. Marine and Vietnam War veteran worked hard to uphold Anishinaabe tradition throughout his 73 years. His books and newspaper columns captured life on the rez as he took readers through various adventures both otherworldly and mundane.

In his syndicated newspaper column, the Fond du Lac Follies, he would regale readers with tales from the life of fictional Luke Warmwater. Mentored by the likes of well-known Anishinaabe writers Gerald Vizenor and Louise Erdrich, Northrup produced books including Walking the Rez Road, Rez Road Follies, Anishinaabe Syndicated: A View from the Rez, Dirty Copper and Rez Salute: the Real Healer Dealer.

RELATED: Excerpt: Anishinaabe Syndicated—on Veterans and Environs

Northrup’s wake is scheduled for Thursday August 4 at 7 p.m. at the Sawyer Center, according to Minnesota Public Radio, with a funeral on Friday August 5 at 10 a.m. at the Sawyer Center.

Northrup spoke to the Duluth News Tribune earlier this year in bravely revealing that he was in the last stages of kidney cancer—which he suspected had stemmed from exposure to Agent Orange during his tour in Vietnam—and recounted a vision he had had on a previous occasion when he thought he was “circling the drain.” Paddling in a canoe, he heard voices, laughter and song from the other shore and went toward them—but was turned back. Not his turn. However, it left him with a sense of acceptance.

“I’ll tell you what I think,” he told the newspaper. “I am going to have a great time over there.”

As we mourn his passing, we can only hope he is indeed having a blast.

RELATED: End of the Beginning: Jim Northrup, 1943–2016, Reads His Poem on the Circle of Life

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