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A Month of Stars and Jewels
November means different things to different people. For some, it’s all about the gales that send surf crashing into Superior’s shore. For others, it is Thanksgiving, the first holiday of the “holiday season,” or the shopping madness of Black Friday. For nearly everyone in the rural Northern Wilds, whether they partake in the activity or not, November means deer season.
November also ushers in the darkest time of year. On the third we say goodbye to daylight savings time, bringing an early arrival to sunset and the slow creep toward Winter Solstice. Many of us don’t care for the extended darkness, because it means waking up in the dark and coming home from work in the dark. But the darkness has a bright side, too. Just look up. On clear nights, the sky above is a wonder of shining stars. Due to ever-present artificial lighting, people living in many places other than here rarely have the opportunity to view the night sky. Our “dark skies” set us apart. In this issue, Joe Friedrichs reports on efforts to promote stargazing throughout the Northern Wilds with festivals and events. The Heart of the Continent Partnership hopes to have our region designated as an International Dark Sky Reserve, becoming the second such place in the United States.
Our dark sky is not the only thing that is glittering in this issue. We have three stories featuring some extraordinary jewelers who live and work in the Northern Wilds. Shaun Hedican introduces us to three Anishinaabe women who work with beads, moose hair and other natural materials to create jewelry that reflects cultural traditions, but is firmly rooted in today’s world. An exhibit of Indigenous beadwork at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery captivates writer Peter Fergus-Moore. Along Minnesota’s North Shore, Rae Poynter meets jewelers who use local gemstones to create objects that may reflect Nordic culture or simply be unique to the creator.
Beyond the stars and jewels, you’ll find stories on a range of topics, from a trio of hunters who discovered a frozen mummy to ostrich racing in Thunder Bay. As always, we serve up an extensive menu of local events and happenings. Settle into your easy chair and start reading. This issue of Northern Wilds is the perfect companion for a long November evening.—Shawn Perich and Amber Pratt