By Stephanie Fox
Northrup, 67, is best known by many as a poet and for his award winning syndicated column Fond du Lac Follies, published monthly in The Circle, The Native American Press, News From Indian Country, and the Daily Planet. His books include Walking the Rez Road, a collection of short stories featuring Viet Nam veteran Luke Warmwater as the main character, and Rez Road Follies.
His writing is filled with bone-dry and often pointed humor. Whether about his time in Vietnam, his run-ins with civil authorities to uphold treaty rights, his conflicts with tribal governments or his experiences with non-Indians who assume that he lives in a tipi, Northrup has a certain point of view, written to inflict a bit of discomfort to the comfortable reader.
So I am wondering about something... This writer has a character named Luke Warmwater, well Sherman Alexie also has one named Luke Warmwater. I wonder if he was paying homage to the writer. I only remember the name because I wondered if it was a joke towards Native American names (Luke...warm...water).
I get the joke. I haven't heard of either character, so I have no idea which one came first. Or whether one is an homage to the other.
For more on the subject, see:
Jim Northrup: Veteran, Wordsmith, Language Preserver
Excerpt: Anishinaabe Syndicated—on Veterans and Environs
Review: Anishinaabe Syndicated—a Dam Good Read
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