Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America
August 12, 2000 - Issue 16

"Klahowya "

Chinook Jargon

the common salutation




"The Giver of Life.... the Creator....did not intend that people abuse one another."
Iroquis saying

We salute- Winnie Jourdain
"Godmother of White Earth"

If you didn't know better, you might have thought Winnie Jourdain wasn't enjoying all the fuss her friends and family were making over her 100th birthday.

Dressed in black slacks -- she hasn't worn a dress since she was in her 70s -- and a colorful sweater with bright pink flowers, Jourdain sat patiently as well-wishers hovered to take photos. But as soon as the cameras had clicked, Jourdain would stick out her tongue and scrunch up her face defiantly at them. Other times she'd put up a stiff arm and announce, "Oh, that's enough!"

But for the roughly 75 people who gathered Saturday at Shooting Star Casino on the White Earth Indian Reservation to honor her centennial, the 5-foot-1 Ojibwe woman known to many as "Ma" could do no wrong.


St. Croix Ojibwe Youth
Lords of Dance

Accustomed to the more stationary or straight-line dancing of Canadian and Alaskan tribes, the crowds attending the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics in Fairbanks, Alaska, warmed up quickly to the spirited, swift moving Wisconsin Ojibwe youths from the St. Croix Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

With rotating circle formations, and toe and heel tapping combined with colorful regalia, the St. Croix Trails tribal youth dance team from Hertel, featuring boys and girls ages 9 to 17, captured the hearts of the fans and the judges. When the competition was over last month, the eight dancers and flag carrier representing the band were named the Best Indian Dance Team for 2000.



If he could, Sam English would give away all his material things to help Indian people. Sam is just that way. He is a man of immense compassion and sensitivity for those in need. A distinguished contemporary Indian artist, Sam is truly an individual who cares for people, especially "his" Indian people. A self-described "community activist," English's mission in art is to inspire pride, tradition and wellness for Native peoples.


Nez Perce Ride Into Past
Tribe Reclaims Its Tradition With a New Breed of Horse

A chocolate brown horse with white speckles on his rump prances inside a small arena near the Nez Perce Indian Reservation town of Lapwai, population 932. The animal resembles an appaloosa, a horse historically associated with the Nez Perce, except it's taller and a little leaner..



White Buffalo Has Meaning Beyond Color

I make a traveling salesman look like a stay-at-homer during the summer. I like cruising the highways on weekends. The traffic usually is light, and the roads are fair. Those rolling plains and the sweet scent of fresh air are enticing.

As I traveled west, then south, a week ago toward Standing Rock, dodging flagmen, road construction signs and loose gravel on the newly tarred interstate, I watched for the towering buffalo statue on the hill near Jamestown. That stone buffalo is my signal to try to catch a glimpse of White Cloud, our special North Dakota white bison. She had a calf this spring that I haven't seen.

I take special interest in this anomaly in the animal world for several reasons.


Now Is a Time of Renewal and Honoring
of the Female Spirit

This is the time of earth renewal and the people are giving honor and respect to the Great Holy Being, Ii-tsi-pah-tah-pii-op (the Source of Life). It all started in April and May for those of us who are called Plains Indians.

When it first began to thunder and lightning we were called upon to open our sacred bundles of holy objects. We were instructed by ancient teachings that it was time to honor all life and call it awake after a long winter's sleep. With the hide and bones of birds and animals, plants and other things representing life in the world, there is among those to be honored the female spirit.



Pala Tribal Elder Tells Tales to Preserve Past

It's hard to miss Nadeane Nelson in this rolling backcountry enclave. She's the 81-year-old great-grandmother in the red sports car.

She cuts an imposing figure walking across the leafy heart of the reservation: perfect posture beneath her flowery dress, her always-moving arms adorned with turquoise and silver.

Now the state of California, the local school district and a stranger have teamed up to let more people know this small woman who comes from the very root of this place.


Wyandots Return For Statue Unveiling

The drummers pounded a beat that stirred the hearts of many in the crowd by the river.

Hundreds of people from near and far of all ages and races joined together in the sacred circle to dance around the drummers.

It was a dance of honor and welcome, and many of those at BASF Waterfront Park wiped away tears of emotion before the day was over. Chief Steven Gronda of the Wyandot Anderdon Nation said he felt the spirits of his ancestors present.



Native Voices,
Rock~n~Roll Style

It all started in Auckland, New Zealand. At least, the inspiration for the kind of aboriginal radio system Gary Farmer hopes to some day realize started there, and by virtue of that, the impetus for the first annual Rock and Roll Celebration Tour 2000.

The tour features a lineup of some of the hottest aboriginal acts today, including Derek Miller, the 1999 Canadian Aboriginal Music Award winner for Male Artist of the Year; Keith Secola, the acclaimed singer/guitarist, and Lucie Idlout, up and coming rock/blues artist.


Native American Organization Closes One Door, Opens Another

This is a story you won't read every day. It's about an Indian organization, after more than a half century of service, saying it's time to close its doors and give away its assets to a deserving group.

ARROW, Inc., formed in 1949, will disband by the end of the year and is now searching for another American Indian organization to pass along its money.



American Indian Perspectives Religions Deserve Respect

A monument in Wyoming is sacred to about 20 plains Indian tribes, and during June, spiritual ceremonies are held by this great rock of basalt that shoots up hundreds of feet in the sky.

It is called Devil's Tower, but Bear Lodge to American Indians. The rock has many streaks and gashes running up and down along the sides as if a giant had made the scratches with its claws.


New View of the Stories in the Stars Planetarium Tells Pawnee Sky Tales

When some look up at the night sky, they see only a chaos of glowing stars and darkness. For the ancestors of the Skidi Pawnee, the stars, viewed through the smoke holes of their earth lodges, defined their existence.

On the Great Plains, the Skidi Band of the Pawnee nation used the stars to help them grow crops, raise families and hunt buffalo.



UW Weaves Wide Web of History

You may be surprised to learn that your local middle school has 2,300 photographs of Pacific Northwest Native Americans.

It boasts a copy of the original treaty between the U.S. government and the Puyallup Tribe, and it offers reports written by the U.S. Commissioner of Indian Affairs in the late 19th century.

Thanks to an online project at the University of Washington, the materials are available on a Web site called "American Indians of the Pacific Northwest."


Tradition Underpins Contempory Native Art

The Anchorage Museum of History and Art is showing "Contemporary Alaska Native Art From the Museum Collection," exhibiting works by artists of the many cultures indigenous to Alaska. Each of the pieces relates directly to the Native heritage of the artist yet is unique to each creator. What emerges is a combination of lively traditions and the artistic freedom to incorporate those ideas into contemporary works.



Chinook Jargon Workshop

The Third Annual Chinuk Wawa Lu'lu (Chinook Jargon Workshop) will be held at Grand Ronde, Oregon from August 25 to 27. Chinook Jargon, or Chinuk Wawa as it speakers refer to it, was commonly spoken in the Pacific Northwest from northern California to southern Alaska. As a Native American lingua franca, it was used among the various ethnic groups during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Workshop consists of language classes, discussion groups and presentations in hopes of reviving Chinook Jargon usage in the Pacific Northwest. The goal of the group is to increase people's knowledge of Chinook Jargon.


Group Wants Tribal Languages Taught in Schools

French, Spanish or Salish?

As long as children learn a language in school, why not preserve their culture too, says a group of educators, tribal members and elders

The First Peoples Language Committee of Washington state wants children to have the option of learning native language as they would other languages



Dance of the People

The hot summer sun beats down on your tent. You can feel the heat creeping inside. Just when you can't take it anymore, you quickly unzip the tent flap and roll your body halfway out, too tired to get to your feet.

Nearly every summer weekend day starts the same for teenagers on the powwow trail.


Ishi Goes Home

After 83 years, the Smithsonian Institution is returning the brain of Ishi, one of California's most famous Native Americans, to his closest relatives.

Ishi was something of a sensation in the early part of the century. He wandered out of the woods near Oroville, Calif., and was believed to be the last of a tribe wiped out by disease and massacres.


About This Issue's Greeting - "Klahowya"


Chinook Jargon, or Chinuk Wawa as it speakers refer to it, was commonly spoken in the Pacific Northwest from northern California to southern Alaska. As a Native American lingua franca, it was used among the various ethnic groups during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

This Date In History


Recipe: Campfire Cooking


Story: Cricket Beats Cougar


What is this: Mosquito Bytes


Project: Ojo de Oro


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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