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ᓂᒥᔓᒥᐢ

Papa left a little over a month ago, May 8th. The Star Tribune ran an article on him the day before his “Celebration of Life.” He didn’t want a funeral. The idea of everyone making that big a fuss over him didn’t sit right. Even when I was little, he’d tell me he planned to be cremated and that’d be the end of it. We got around his rule by putting on what was basically a funeral, but with no casket or monochrome, just a whole bunch of family at the Indian Center with a lot of food, a lot of pictures, and minimal tears.

One of his kids, Uncle Conrad, explicitly referred to him as “the Native Red Foreman,” and I think that says it all. If that doesn’t sum him up for you, I’ll offer a few quick touchstones on your behalf: he got the name Tuffy coz he was meaner than sin in his youth, and he got the name Papa coz we loved him. He called everyone “big dummy” but hung up his phone calls with “I love you bigger than the moon.” I never saw him dance, but those who have say they could watch him dance forever.

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