This story was collected as part of a collaborative effort to record the state of American lakes, rivers, and waterways as well an attempt to uncover what water means to Americans. Listen to other stories recorded by the Minnesota Humanities Center for the Stories from Main Street project, an initiative created by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service for its traveling exhibition "Water/Ways."
Emily Buermann was born and raised in Becker County, Minnesota, on the White Earth Indian Reservation. Emily shares a memory of her great-grandmother, who was born September 8, 1918, in a wigwam on the shores of Baswood Lake at Wild Rice Camp. She once asked her great grandma what she thought heaven would be like. "I thought she would say the day we moved into the house, a house with a real roof and a real stove . . ." Emily's grandmother's actual answer surprised and humbled her.