Marvin Repinski: Maybe we are giving mixed messages

Published 5:09 pm Friday, October 15, 2021

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“You felt your life was not an isolated thing, but existed in all other lives, as all other lives existed within yours.  There wasn’t anything anywhere to which you could say, ‘We don’t need each other!’” — (Elizabeth Goudge)

The history of our nation is, it seems, being rewritten. Or does the recording of the past need to be tidied up?

I’m supposing that the word “indigenous” will be part of the spelling bee for third graders.

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I have pleasant memories of close friendships I had as a college chaplain in St. Cloud with a woman who proudly affirmed her Native American heritage. Kathy Herring. If you’re listening; this is Marvin. We were part of a group of several students who you helped maintain a spirited, redone basement coffee house and music hangout! And Kathy, you were so funny … and so scholarly.

Now about the Indigenous Day. These are years of a new take on the history of our nation. Statues, history books, museums, classroom lessons, and cultural habits, languages, and geographical placements are being looked at with new eyes. Maybe some restitution or increased scholarships and grants to medical facilities and foundational businesses are in order.  There are, like in so many areas of our nation’s well-being, many that need attention. We say those who were on this land before are belatedly being given their dues. Our “original citizens” are being recognized as part of a larger picture being drawn.

Growing up Polish in a heavily Polish community in central Wisconsin, my memories of the treatment and affirmation of the many Native Americans was respectable. The Polish community had its own derogatory phrases aimed at it. Could it give us some identification with other peoples? Names of football teams like the “Redskins” are being put aside. Thank you!

I offer the reader for the sake of ecumenical pride the way my mother and grandmother created “Polish Lazy Dumpling” (Pierogi Leniwe).

Forty dumplings for a large serving; then to do the polka with the Moss accordion, clarinet, piano, and drum band!


• 2 pounds dry-curd cottage

• 2 cups all-purpose flour

• Cheese or farmer cheese plus more for rolling

• 4 large eggs, beaten

• 10 quarts water

• 1-1/2 teaspoons salt


• 1 cup bread crumbs, lightly toasted in 3 tablespoons

butter in a frying pan

• In a medium bowl, mash the cheese with a fork. Stir in the eggs, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and the flour, all at once.

• Turn the dough out onto a floured board and divide it into 4 pieces.

• Roll each piece out into a rectangle 12 inches long and 2 inches wide.  Cut each piece on the diagonal into about 10 pieces.

• Bring 10 quarts of water to a boil and add 1 teaspoon salt.  Reduce the water to a lightly rolling simmer and add 1/2 of the dumplings to the pot.  Simmer, uncovered, until they float to the top.  Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain.  Continue until all dumplings are cooked.

• Serve with a garnish of toasted bread crumbs.

In the United Methodist Church over the 50 states, a great number of clergy and laity have and live out of the native cultural history. The liturgy, art, and styles are incorporated into the setting of worship and social gatherings.  This I so appreciate. We not only respect transgender, but trans-cultural practices and selfhood.

The poems of Marge Piercy are more than a sentiment; they revere the passion of people.  Read on … “To be of Use.”

“The people I love the best

jump into work head first

without dallying in the shallows

and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.

They seem to become natives of that element,

the black sleek heads of seals

bouncing like half-submerged balls.

Hopi vases that held corn are put in museums

but you know they were made to be used

The pitcher cries for water to carry

and a person for work that is real.”