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Ojibwe author Jim Northrup dies at age 73

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Award-winning Ojibwe author, poet and playwright Jim Northrup Jim Northrup, a member of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, reflects on his life at his home in Sawyer during an interview in March 2016. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com) 2 / 2

Award-winning Ojibwe author, poet and playwright Jim Northrup died Monday night of complications from cancer, his family announced. He was 73.

Information about a wake and burial were not immediately available, but details will be announced soon.

Northrup, a member of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and a Marine who served in the Vietnam War, was an ardent keeper of Anishinaabe tradition. He and his wife started a summer Ojibwe language camp on the reservation, made birch bark winnowing baskets, took part in the yearly sugarbush to make maple syrup and harvested wild rice on the reservation's lakes.

Northrup was a student of the Ojibwe language for nearly two decades. His books include "Walking the Rez Road," "Rez Road Follies," "Anishinaabe Syndicated: A View from the Rez," "Dirty Copper" and "Rez Salute: the Real Healer Dealer." His column, "Fond du Lac Follies," was syndicated in several Native American newspapers.

Northrup had kidney cancer that spread to his lungs, lymph nodes and brain. He spoke about his battle with cancer in an interview with the News Tribune earlier this year, as others shared their appreciation for his work.

"Jim's gift of humor has always connected him to the people of the Fond du Lac Band," Larry Anderson, president of Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College and a member of the band, told the News Tribune in March. "Jim was born to be an ogichida (warrior) and has faced tremendous evils in Vietnam, and many hardships in his life. ... He is extremely intelligent, a man of wisdom, and has always been able to translate his Ojibwe knowledge, his Ojibwe heart and soul, to us who need his good words."

Look for more on this story later Tuesday at duluthnewstribune.com, and in Wednesday's News Tribune.

MARCH 2016 INTERVIEW / VIDEO

Preparing for his final journey: Fond du Lac elder Jim Northrup facing cancer with his signature humor

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