Jim northrup

Jim Northrup. Courtesy

Jim Northrup
Born April 28, 1943 (1943-04-28) (age 77)
Fond du Lac Indian Reservation, Minnesota, United States
Occupation columnist, prose author, poet, playwright
Genres Journalism, short story, poetry, storyteller], anecdotal
Literary movement Native American writing, reportage
Notable work(s) "Walking the Rez Road", "Rez Road Follies", and "Anishinaabe Syndicated, A View From The Rez". "Shinnob Jep".

Jim Northrup (born 1943) is an Anishinaabe Native American poet, newspaper columnist, performer, and political commentator. His Anishinaabe name is "Chibenashi" (from Chi-bineshiinh "Big little-bird").


Northrup was born in the Government Hospital on the Fond du Lac Indian Reservation in Minnesota. He was raised at Pipestone Indian School, where he was physically abused by teachers and fellow students.

Northrup grew up a tough streetfighter with a smart mouth. Service in Vietnam and a surfeit of family tragedy have added to a strong, humorous voice that is unafraid to talk about the darker side of life.

In 1990-1992, he worked as a roster artist for the COMPAS Writer in the Schools Program. He has been a Mentor in the Loft Inroads Program, a Judge for the Lake Superior Contemporary Writers Series and The Jerome Fellowship, and a Member of the Minnesota State Arts Board Prose Panel. Jim also has given radio commentaries on the Superior Radio Network, National Public Radio, Fresh Air Radio], and the BBC-Scotland.

Jim and his family live the traditional life of the Anishinaabe in northern Minnesota, on the Fond Du Lac reservation. Year around they practice the construction of making winnowing backets, and harvest wild rice and maple syrup. Nonetheless, his traditional lifestyle does not deter him from participating in events like the Taos Film Festival and the Taos Poetry Circus.


Northrup's regular column, the Fond du Lac Follies, is syndicated through several Native American papers, such as The Circle, The Native American Press and News From Indian Country. It has won many awards (see below) and is known for a warm humour with a sharply political undertone. Northrup often tells stories through the perspective of his immediate family, most of whom like himself live a traditional Anishinaabe lifestyle, and uses a folksy style to make points about United States-Native American interactions.

His 2 books, Walking the Rez Road and Rez Road Follies, are written in the same style, and have been highly praised for their insights into reservation life. He peppers his column, and the books, with jokes (e.g. Q: Why is the white man in such a hurry to get to Mars? A: He thinks we have land there) and words or phrases from his tribal language, Ojibwemowin, of which he is a student.


"I used to be known as a bullshitter but that didn't pay anything. I began calling myself a storyteller - a little better, more prestige - but it still didn't pay anything. I became a freelance writer. At first it was more free than lance, then I started getting money for my words."[1]


  • Fond du Lac Follies was named Best Column at the 1999 Native American Journalists Association convention.
  • Northrup was named Writer of the Year in syndicated columns for 2001 by the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writer's and Storytellers for his column The Fond du Lac Follies.
  • Walking the Rez Road was awarded a Minnesota Book Award and a Northeast Minnesota Book Award. Jim was honored as writer of the Best Feature Story in 1987 by the Native American Press Association for the story "Jeremiah, Jesse and Dan". In 1987 he also was named winner of the Lake Superior Contemporary Writers Series for "Culture Clash".
  • The film Jim Northrup: With Reservations received an award at the Dreamspeakers Native Film Festival '97, and was named Best of Show at Red Earth '97. It was named Best Short Film at the Native American Voices Showcase 2002 at the Fargo Film Festival. It was also shown at the 1997 Native American Film & Video Festival, National Museum of the American Indian, New York City.
  • The Rez Road Follies has been nominated for a Minnesota Book Award, in the Creative Non-fiction category in 1995.



  • Three More: Poems (illustrated by Eva Two Crow). Minneapolis, MN: Minnesota Center for Book Arts / The Loft, 1992.
  • Days of Obsidian, Days of Grace: Selected poetry and prose by four Native American writers (by Jim Northrup, Adrian C. Louis, Al Hunter, & Denise Sweet). Duluth, MN: Poetry Harbor, 1994.
  • Nitaawichige ("To do something skillfully"): Selected poetry and prose (by Jim Northrup, Marcie R. Rendon, Linda LeGarde Grover, & Denise Sweet). Duluth, MN: Poetry Harbor, 2002..

Short fictionEdit

  • Walking the Rez Road. Stillwater, MN: Voyageur Press, 1993.
  • Dirty Copper. Golden, CO: Fulcrum, 2014.


  • The Rez Road Follies: Canoes, casinos, computers, and birch bark baskets'. New York: Kodansha, 1997; Minneapolis, MN, & London: University of Minnesota Press, 1999.
  • Anishinaabe Syndicated: A view From The rez. St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2011.
  • Rez Salute: The real healer dealer. Golden, CO: Fulcrum, 2012.

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[2]


  • Stories Migrating Home: Anishnaabe prose (edited by Kimberly M. Blaeser). Wisconsin: Loonfeather Press.
  • Returning the Gift: Poetry and prose from the First North American Native Writers' Festival. University of Arizona Press (Sun Tracks Books, No 29).
  • Touchwood: A collection of Ojibway prose. New Rivers Press (Many Minnesotas Project, No 3).
  • North Writers: A Strong Woods collection (edited by John Henricksson). University of Minnesota Press.
  • Stiller's Pond: New fiction From The upper Midwest (edited by Jonis Agee, Roger Blakely & Susan Welch). New Rivers Press.
  • Do You Know Me Now?: An anthology of Minnesota multicultural writings (edited by Elisabeth Rosenberg). Normandale Community College.


  • Rez Road 2000 — performed at the Great American History Theatre in St. Paul for a five-week run in January 2000.
  • Rez Road Follies
  • Shinnob Jep — performed October 9, 10 & 11, 1997, at the Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota, as part of the Indian Humor exhibition.

Audio / videoEdit

Appearances in films and videos Edit

  • Jim Northrup: With reservations, 1995, Center for International Education.
  • A review of the film
  • Internet Moview Database record for the film
  • Warriors: Native American Vietnam veterans, 1988, Prairie Public Television, Fargo, ND.
  • Diaries: Native Minnesotans, 1991, KTCA, Channel 2, PBS, St. Paul, MN.
  • Zero Street, 1993, an after school special Weapon of Choice Prod., 1993
  • Poetry Harbor, Duluth, MN has several videos of Jim reading his work.
  • Jim also appears in the video United States of Poetry, 1996. on PBS
JIM NORTHRUP End of the Beginning-0

JIM NORTHRUP End of the Beginning-0


  • Anishinaabe Syndicated: A view from the rez (audiobook). St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2011.[2]

See alsoEdit



  1. Rez Road Follies, p. 2.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Search results = au:Jim Northrup, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, Dec. 29, 2014.

External linksEdit

Audio / video
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