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An Ojibwe Woman's Life

May 1, 2018

Linda LeGarde Grover shares perspectives on family, language, customs and culture.

Most people don't know that Linda LeGarde Grover sometimes writes while sitting on her couch with the television playing in the background. "I do some of my best work when the news or a TV show is on," she says.

Grover, a professor in the UMD American Indian Studies department, has answered many questions about how she writes in recent weeks. That's because in April 2018, she received the Minnesota Book Award in the category of Memoir and Creative Nonfiction for her book, Onigamiising: Seasons of an Ojibwe Year (University of Minnesota Press).


Linda, who is an enrolled member of the Bois Forte Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, is no stranger to awards. The praise has come for her work in poetry, short stories, fiction, and now non-fiction.

Her collection of short stories,The Dance Boots, won the Flannery O'Connor Award and the 2011 Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize. Her poetry collection, The Sky Watched: Poems of Ojibwe Lives, received the Red Mountain Press Editor’s Award and the 2017 Northeastern Minnesota Book Award for Poetry. Her novel, The Road Back to Sweetgrass, received the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers 2015 Fiction Award, and earlier the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas First Book Award 2008. Onigamiising: Seasons of an Ojibwe Year  was selected for the Minnesota Book Award from more than 250 submissions and 36 finalists.

The Place of Small Portage

The 50 short essays in the book, Onigamiising: Seasons of an Ojibwe Year,  reflect on the old name for the Duluth area, Onigamiising, “the place of small portage.”  The stories come from traditional teachings and practices that are still carried out through each year and accounts from family and tribal members add to humor and insight.

UMD American Indian Studies Program