photo of Jiimaan being built

Fred Harrington Jr.
Gitchikun

fred@odawa.com

Fred

  

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My Free Time

Jiimaan: I build the big jiimaanan (canoes) and give rides to children of all ages. The jiimaan has become a large part of my life, at least when the weather is reasonably warm, I don’t mind a little wind. For a long time we had one large jiimaan (that's his name) and we had to make long runs south to rent more anytime the youth group went out, so we built 2 more, one for the Spring Grant and my buddy Gary and I build the last one with left over materials. So now we have 3 large jiimaanan and we can carry about 60 kids at a time. When the Tribal youth first started paddling down the Inland Water Way they asked me to get them jiimaans. I asked if I could go and they said yes. It was a childhood dream to do this and paddling with our youth was the treat of my life. My goal every year is to paddle out to Beaver Island to the Unity Ceremony. Some times we make it and sometimes we don't.

Swimming: A couple of years ago my brother Ken started a fund raiser for the Eagles Diabetes fund. We swam across Little Traverse Bay a couple of times. The first year was the best, we raised over $5,000. I’ve never really been fast but can swim all day. Swimming at the break wall in Petoskey is where you’ll find me and Begizo in the summer when it’s hot.

Camping: We grew up taking family camping trips all over Northern Michigan. Now I am a bit of a softy and use a motorhome. Anything to be in the woods right! Maria has a camper now kind of carrying on the family tradition and I take Begizo out as often as possible, we usually go in a tent. Combining paddling and camping is of course the best way to go.

Skiing: I have been skiing since they were wooden and we used Johnson’s paste wax to go faster. Having a winter sport is kind of a requirement this far north and skiing is one of the best. That’s downhill skiing, not the work type. I do like cross country skiing and snow shoeing but going fast is the fun part. And of course my little partner skis with me.

Bikes and Motorcycles: I’ve ridden motorcycles since my teenage years and still love being in the wind. When we invaded Iraq the first time I decided to sell my truck and use less oil. I’m not an exercise nut but ride a motorcycle to work until the snow flies and then walk or peddle to work. I even got one of those fat tire bikes this year.

My Wood Shop: Every retired guy should have a wood shop. I started on mine a bit early just to be ready. I actually worked with wood most of my life and since making the big jiimaans I needed a source of paddles so I started making them and now paint them. I use the paddles to teach cultural lessons of choice to children of all ages. With all the stuff on hand it is pretty easy to make other stuff. I’m helping people make lime stone pipes with sumac stems and I’m building a special lath to make flutes. The hands on work is a nice departure from the work I do at the college.

Reading: I love reading but my job requires so much reading that I don’t do a lot of pleasure reading. I’m kind of looking forward to retiring in four years and picking up all the unfinished books I have around the house.

Voluntering: I volunteer to work with our youth. My parents always worked for a variety of worthy causes and raised me contributing to my community. When asked to do something for our youth I say yes first and then check my calendar to see what I must cancel. They are my first priority. I've been involved in the Odawa Institute promoting Anishinaabemowin and our culture since it started. The Institute was the birth of Jiimaan, the paddle project, the anual trip to Beaver Island and many more cultural activities.

Migwetch,

gitchikun