Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America
July 29, 2000 - Issue 15

"niyáwë skênö' "


This phrase means hello, how are you?, how do you do?, good, well, or just fine.




"I thought I was tired from dancing, but the drum said I wasn't tired"
Amos Crooks, Wambdi Hoksida, Mdewakanton Dakota

Special Message to Kiki: Regarding the muskrat---I could find no evidence of the muskrat killing beaver, so this action may be rare.

We salute- MatThew Coon Come

When Matthew Coon Come grew up in a tent on Cree traplines near Mistissini, 700 kilometres north of Montreal, he and his family saw enormous changes unfolding. Forestry and mining companies edged the Crees off hunting grounds they had used for thousands of years. Families who depended on hunting sank into dire poverty.

Even his family's name, Coon, the Cree word for snow, changed when an Indian Affairs agent erroneously registered his father and four uncles' surnames as Coon, Coom, Coonishish, Coon Coonishish and Coon Come.

Recently, the 44-year-old began a three-year term as head of Canada's largest aboriginal lobby group, representing 633 communities, or more than 600,000 of the 1.4 million aboriginal people living across the country. At his inauguration as national chief of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) in Ottawa Wednesday, his parents Harriet and Alfred stood proudly beside him when he promised a new era of change.


Outstanding Indian of the Year

The 69th Annual American Indian Exposition has announced its choice of Inman Cloyde Gooday, Sr. as the Outstanding Indian of the Year 2,000. Gooday is a member and a leader in the Ft. Sill Apache tribe, whose headquarters are located in Apache, Oklahoma. The award will be made during the expo on the evening of August 8.

Inman was born on February 21, 1924 to the late Robert and Mary Dorcas Powhoneat Gooday at their home place near Boone, Oklahoma. His paternal grandparents were the late Talbot and Charlotte (LoShanne) Gooday, and his maternal grandparents were the late Pow-how-neat (Henry Wallace) and Maun-a-bofe-pa. Gooday is the great great grandson of Magnus Colorados, last chief of the Mimbreno Apaches and Loco, Chief of the Warm Spring Apaches.


Mark Silversmith

Mark Silversmith comes from a creative family as both his father and grandfather were silversmiths. He was born in Rehoboth, New Mexico in 1954 and spent most of his young life on the Navajo Reservation east of Gallup, NM.

While still a pre-schooler he would draw and doodle on any scrap of paper he could find. The first inspirations for the subjects in his paintings were his environment and the Navajo culture and traditions. He observed wildlife in the natural setting of the high country of pines during the summer, and while grazing cattle in the valley during the winter.


A-ne-jo-di &
The Stomp Dance

A-ne-jo-di, or Stickball, is a very rough game played by not only the Cherokee, but many other Southeastern Woodland tribes including the Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, and others.

In earlier days, there would be a dance before the ballgame. The ballplayers were the participants of the dance, along with seven women dancers. Each woman represented one of the clans. Throughout the dance, the women would step on black beads which represented the players of the opposing team.



Center Aims to Preserve, Teach Ojibwe

When he saw a group of people trying to carry out an Ojibwe ceremony even though they couldn't speak the language, Larry Smallwood recognized his calling.

"The creator gave us each an assignment, and mine is to teach language and culture," he said. "The ceremonies are supposed to be done in the language given to us, and that's not happening anymore."


Indian Languages near Extinction

There are only a dozen speakers of the language left - and only one person under 18 learning it - but Lorraine Sanchez isn't about to give up on the local dialect of Yavapai, once the dominant language of the Verde Valley.

Sanchez leans forward in her wheelchair, listening intently, as the weekly Yavapai language class of the Camp Verde Yavapai-Apache Nation begins. The subject this night, in a language no child has spoken in the home since Harry Truman was president, is the Yavapai words for the trees of the valley.



Tribes Return Bison to Circle of Life

Sometimes, when Sheldon Fletcher craves a break in his duties as wildlife specialist with the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, he rides an all-terrain vehicle into the Missouri River breaks to watch the buffalo.

The massive animals of the ancient plains have an enduring sense of dignity that stills any unrest in his life, Fletcher says.


The Mane Event

A mile from camp, the warriors would stop, send a messenger ahead, then prepare themselves for homecoming.

"When they came riding in, they'd be in their finest," Dave Matheson said of his Native American ancestors. "They'd war-whoop. The drummers would start, and the singers."

The history on horseback will be re-created four times at the Julyamsh powwow held by the Coeur d'Alene Tribe.



Saguaro Special

For the Tohono Oodham (the Desert People), the Saguaro was central to survival and their way of life. Virtually nothing went to waste. The month of June, when the fruit usually ripens, was celebrated as the beginning of the Oodhams agricultural year.

Not having a reliable water source, these Indians measured strength by the ability to go without water in their arid climate. According to the mythology of the O'odham people, the first Saguaro was created when a young woman sank into the earth and rose back out as a giant cactus, arms raised toward the heavens.


Excavation to Chronicle Yuki Legacy

As Deb Hutt stands on a ridge top overlooking a ring of mountains that hug Round Valley, she sees both the beauty of the land and the rich history of her ancestors buried in the ground.

Hutt, a Yuki Indian, is taking part in a weeklong archaeological excavation of an ancient Yuki summer camp in the Mendocino National Forest, an effort by the forest service to preserve the prehistoric site.

It's also about leaving a legacy.



Navajo Teen Competes In Piano Competition

Just before his preliminary audition for the World Piano Competition, 12-year-old Connor Chee of Westwood saw two deer in his backyard, and he knew he had nothing to fear.

To the Navajo people, deer represent something special. To Connor, they represented the spirits of his two grandmothers coming to watch over him and bring him luck.


Teens Vie to Design Sequoyah Coin

Dayton, Tenn., eighth-graders Melanie Wooden and Petra Hall always have admired Sequoyah, who invented the Cherokee alphabet.

Now the students are hoping to turn his cachet into cash, since their design of the famous American Indian is one of three finalists for the Tennessee Commemorative Coin.



Learning Navajo Style

Ten-year-old Lisa Shorty says the best part of her summer is making pottery and learning new Navajo words with her friends.

Shorty, who will be going into the fifth grade at Painted Sky Elementary School, is one of 150 students participating in the Albuquerque Public Schools' Navajo Language Immersion Camp.

The program is geared toward improving urban Navajo students' language skills and teaching them about their culture.


Meet the Teacher

The language part doesn't always go over real well, she says.

"The kids say it sounds stupid, and they don't plan on using it, so why should they learn it? They say that nobody will understand them anyway, so why should they bother?"

Saraficio, who teaches third- through sixth-graders, tries to get the students to understand that their language is part of who they are.



In Her Grandfather's Footsteps

The granddaughter of long-incarcerated American Indian icon Leonard Peltier has become an activist in her own right.

Alex Peltier, 16, granddaughter of Leonard Peltier, recently spent two weeks in Nicaragua inspecting working conditions and human rights activism. Peltier is pictured with a painting of her imprisoned grandfather.

An incoming junior at Free State High School, 16-year-old Alex Peltier spent two weeks this summer in Central America as a part of a trip planned by the Washington, D.C.-based group Witness for Peace.


Mohegan Chairman Named to Endangered Language Panel

Gay Story Hamilton, chairman of the Council of Elders of the Mohegan Tribe, has been named to the board of directors of the Endangered Language Fund at Yale University.

Since January, the Mohegan’s Council of Elders has assumed responsibility for the tribe’s ongoing language reconstruction project.

“One of the main enemies of native language is television,” said Hamilton, a former instructor at Western Connecticut State University and former employee in the anthropology department at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.



Native Jobs 500 Years Ago

Have your ever wondered what you would have been doing with your life had you lived in "the Americas" before the arrival of non-Natives??


Peace & Dignity Runs Update

Grasping ceremonial staffs and sprinting along the shoulders of busy roads, a dozen ancestors of Native Americans trekked through Sonoma County in what could be the ultimate run for health.


About This Issue's Greeting - "niyáwë skênö"


It belongs to the semantic field communication .

Basic Form
It likely comes from a verb base * -inö- /be well

Mingo is a northern Iroquoian language of people politically distinct from the League Iroquois originally inhabiting the Ohio drainage in western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, and northern West Virginia. It has not been the primary means of communication for any community since the disintegration of the Northwestern Confederacy. Its use as a second language in certain enclaves in certain situations has preserved it down to the end of the twentieth century

This Date In History


Recipe: Saguaro


Story: Ball Game Between the Birds and Animals


What is this: Flying Squirrel


Project: Paper mache Pots


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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