Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America
June 17, 2000 - Issue 12


The Mvskoke Creek Greeting - pronounced - henz-cha

Means hello or greetings


Month of the Turtle


"The time will soon be here when my grandchild will long for the cry of a loon, the flash of a salmon, the whisper of spruce needles, or the screech of an eagle. But he will not make friends with any of these creatures and when his heart aches with longing he will curse me. Have I done all to keep the air fresh? Have I cared enough about the water? Have I left the eagle to soar in freedom? Have I done everything I could to earn my grandchild's fondness?"

-Chief Dan George-(1899 - 1981)

We salute- Lawrence Hart

Cheyenne Peace Chief Lawrence Hart and friends stared at the long row of tables in a silent room at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History.

Skulls, once decapitated by frontier soldiers, stared back.

"That was a difficult moment for all of us," recalled Hart, his voice strained by the vision in his mind. "You could see the bullet holes in some of the skulls."

Hearts beat hard and tears flowed.

And with the swiftness of a prairie fire, Hart's life was forever altered.


Rain-in-the-Face's Waistcoat Found in Glasgow Museum
His Grand-daughter is hoping it will soon be back in South Dakota

The first time Marcella LeBeau, from Eagle Butte, Cheyenne River Reservation, in South Dakota, became aware of Rain-in-the-Face's waistcoat was in 1995. She was visiting the Kelvingrove Museum, in Glasgow, Scotland, in connection with the-later successful-attempt to have the Ghostdance-shirt, held in the Museum, returned. Much to her amazement, she was shown a beautiful waistcoat, which had once been worn by her grandfather, Rain-in-the-Face.


Sherman Alexie

"We are more than just writers. We are (Native) storytellers. We are spokespeople. We are cultural ambassadors. We are politicians. We are activists. We are all of this simply by nature of what we do, without even wanting to be."


The Wallam Olum
A Legend of the Lenape Indians

WALLAM OLUM, meaning, red score, is a translation from the picture writing record of the Lenãpe Indians by Daniel G. Briton about 1860. In the language and dialect of the Delaware Indians and a legend of the Creation, the Great Flood, Migration and History from their beginning to the time of the coming of the white man to the eastern shore of Delaware. This is Book Five - History (continued).



An Inuit Showcase

Following a severe winter, the spring thaw follows with a vengeance that is awesome to behold. Plants explode into growth, tracking the midnight sun. Birds flock as far as the eye can see, hailing from lands as distant as Argentina. The large mammals caribou, musk-ox, narwhal, beluga and bowhead whales undertake eternal and herculean journeys to their respective calving grounds.

For a few brief months, the Arctic is as alive as a jungle, which it once was an unfathomable number of years ago. And as their most distant ancestors before them also did, Inuit groups come together in this time, to celebrate life and prosperity in a way that is all their own.


Peering Into "Baby Blues"

Tonto, the Lone Ranger's trusty and ultra stoic sidekick, is --for some people-- the alpha and omega of contemporary American experience with Native people. Others sum up their experiences with American Indians in three short words: "Dances with Wolves."

Truth is, most classical depictions of indigenous people mark them as stone faced, honor obsessed, primitive pagans. Thanks to a gradual dismantling of Western and modern stereotypes, we've started viewing Native people as the descendants of a proud tradition. And guess what? They can laugh and smile too!



 Evaluating Native American Children's Books

"No one illustration is enough to create stereotypes in children's minds. But enough books contain these images - and the general culture reinforces them - so that there is a cumulative effect, encouraging false and negative perceptions about Native Americans."


A "Nammy" in the Grammies

It's A Go! A "NAMMY" In The Grammies.

We, NAMA, are ecstatic and elated regarding the recent announcement of a newly established Native American music category in the Grammies. This calls for a time for the entire Native American community to participate in a unified celebration surrounding this momentous development.



Who Was Rain-in-the-Face

Rain in the Face was one of the most feared and respected Native American warriors of the late 19th century.

A Hunkpapa Lakota, he was born in about 1835. In a narrative attributed to him, he says: "I was born near the forks of the Cheyenne river. I had some noted ancestors, but they left me no chieftainship. I had to work for my reputation."

His name is thought to have come from an incident when, as a young brave, he was fighting with another boy. The fight was fierce and his face became spattered with blood so badly, it looked like rain on his face, or itonagaju.


The Imperfect Eye of Edward Curtis

In 1900, photographer Edward Curtis traveled to Montana to witness a Piegan Sun Dance. As the Indians made offerings to the sun against a stark prairie landscape, Curtis was intensely moved.

He thought it might be the last of its kind. The ceremony had already been outlawed in the United States, and the federal government was taking steps to assimilate Native Americans.

After two more visits to tribal ceremonies in Arizona that same year, Curtis conceived his life work. He would make a photographic record of Indian tribes before their traditions were lost.



Runner Raises Money for Diabetes Association

TAHLEQUAH - While many of us are planning on taking it easy this summer, enjoying the weather or puttering in the garden, long-time Cherokee Nation employee Marilyn Kelley has her sights set on a different kind of summer activity. She plans to be in Kona, Hawaii, with 1100 other runners and walkers on June 25, 2000, to run a half-marathon with Team Diabetes, sponsored by the American Diabetes Association. The Tahlequah native agrees that she has set a tough goal for herself, but said she sees it as merely "walking the talk."


Ute Language in Danger of Withering Away

Venita Taveapont has an urgent message for her brothers and sisters of the Northern Ute Indian Tribe: "Kachak eech noomwe noowygyenay moohoohtee-ep." It means, in the Uto-Aztecan language of Utes, or Noochew, "Don't allow our way of speaking to be lost." That the majority of Utes would need English translation to understand her message underscores the importance of the warning.



Buffalo Return to Red Lake Reservation

RED LAKE, Minn. -- On a desolate farm in the northwestern corner of the Red Lake Reservation, the thundering of buffalo hooves can once again be heard.

Five Red Lake men brought the buffalo back to the reservation to help restore a once-natural diet and to heal decades of spiritual wounds.

"We're doing our part to ensure the buffalo will always be here," said Joe Johnson, one of the men who formed Red Lake Bison Inc. to bring the buffalo back to Red Lake.

About This Issue's Greeting - "hescha"


Another name for the Creeks is Muscogees. Muscogee is also the name of the language of the largest group within the Creeks. Other groups spoke Alabama, Koasiti, Hitchiti, Natchez, Yuchi, and Shawnee. Often when people refer to speaking Creek or to the Creek language, they mean Muscogee, but it's not always clear which language they are referring to.

This Date In History


Recipe: Ice Cream


Story: How the Bat Came to Be


What is this: Important Bat Facts


Project: Make a Windsock


This Issue's Web sites


"OPPORTUNITIES" is from sources distributed nationally and includes scholarships, grants, internships, fellowships, and career opportunities as well as announcements for conferences, workshops and symposia.

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