Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America
October 21, 2000 - Issue 21

"Manahoo "



"Cawapekasna wi"

Moon when the wind shakes off the leaves


"Children were encouraged to develop strict discipline and a high regard for sharing.

When a girl picked her first berries and dug her first roots, they were given away to an elder so she would share her future success.

When a child carried water for the home, an elder would give compliments, pretending to taste meat in water carried by a boy or berries in that of a girl.

The child was encouraged not to be lazy and to grow straight like a sapling."

Mourning Dove Salish

We Salute
Lucy Wren

At the age of 69, when most people have already retired... Lucy Wren decided to become a teacher. Now, at 83, the students at Carcross Elementary School are holding a special party... to say thank you to one of their favorite elders.

Wren decided she wanted to work in the local school, teaching the Tlingit language.

"I got to do something to pass on the language... I try anyway," she says. "Even at home I talk with my kids in the language. They don't understand, but they catch on."


Trip To Mankato
by Students at Birdtail Sioux School, Birdtail Sioux Reserve, Beulah, Manitoba

From September 13th to 17th my classmates and I travelled to Mankato Minnesota. Our teachers and the staff at our school organized the trip so we could find out more about our people. Sharing and learning about our ancestors is extremely important to my friends and I. Being a Dakota is who I am. I need to understand the past so it will help me today.


The information here will include items of interest for and about Native American schools. If you have news to share, please let us know! I can be reached by emailing:


John Trudell

After years of being known as an outspoken activist for Native American rights, John Trudell, Santee Sioux, is establishing a hard-earned reputation as a rock poet. Known as a spell-binding performer, Trudell's spoken-sung phrasing and creative acumen grabs people's attention. His debut album, "aka Graffiti Man" (Rykodisc), was released in 1992 to critical acclaim by music reviewers throughout the world. Bob Dylan, in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine called "aka Graffiti Man" the "best album of the year."


Indian Youth Seek Bridge Between Tradition, Future

FLANDREAU -- An internal struggle simmers in many of today's American Indian youth.

It's a wracking pull between fulfilling their personal dreams and their sense of obligation to their reservations.

As South Dakota recognizes Native American Day, the children of the Indian culture find themselves at their own personal crossroads.



Outgrowing Bambi

Institute of American Indian Arts allows students freedom to create

SANTA FE ­ The Institute of American Indian Arts is more than a premier art college dedicated to indigenous cultures.

It's a native community.

Alvin Sandoval, facilities coordinator, started working for IAIA as a mail clerk in 1990 but he began coming to the campus years before.

Sandoval said the institute hosts a variety of artistic and cultural events that attracted natives and non-natives throughout the year.


Cherokee Children's Choir a Crowd Pleaser

TAHLEQUAH -- The Cherokee National Choir members are whispering, laughing and playfully punching one another, like a typical crew of youngsters. "Theyíre a pretty lively bunch," says Jan Ballou, looking out at her group of about 25 chatting Cherokee children. The illusion of idle playfulness ends just a few seconds later, when the children break into song.

"They sound like little Cherokee angels," says Chad Smith, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. "I drop by their rehearsals some evenings and it just lifts my spirits to see these kids proudly singing traditional Cherokee songs."



American Indian College Fund to Host Flame of Hope Gala in New York City

Celebrating eleven years as the leading force for Native American higher education in the United States, the American Indian College Fund will host its Flame of Hope Gala in New York City on Tuesday, November 7, 2000.

The fifth-annual benefit dinner, silent auction and awards ceremony begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the Pierre Hotel, followed by an After-Party performance featuring the Indigo Girls. The Atlanta-based duo have achieved critical acclaim for their bold and reflective folk-rock harmonies and their fervent commitment towards supporting indigenous communities.


Dance Champ Lights Up Eyes of Grandmother

There is a joy to having grandchildren. That joy isn't just because we can avoid changing diapers, walking the floor with a screaming teething child, or stomping our feet because the teen used up all his cleanest dirty shirts, and now is using his jeans as carpet. The grandchildren are the trophies and the prizes of our battle years, our good and bad times. The satisfaction is thinking we did something right with their parents.

When I was a young mother, I worked full-time and cared for three children. I knew that they didn't always get enough of my time and even less of my energy. So when I look at them and see that they are wonderful adults, I know they have more spirit than I gave them and they passed that spirit on to their children.



Extinct Tribes Honored on Holiday

Purupuru, Quaqua, Pulacuam. The words etched in chalk Monday on the campus of Montana State University-Billings arenít familiar ones. Thatís because they are names of Native American tribes that have become extinct since Christopher Columbus arrived in North America nearly 500 years ago.

A small group of MSU-B Native Americans gathered to write the names Monday on the sidewalk between the Student Union Building and McMullen Hall as a way to honor their ancestors. Organizer Jennifer Kewen, a member of the Northern Cheyenne tribe, came up with the idea after learning that there are more than 200 Native American tribes that have become extinct since Columbus came to North America in 1492.


Carolyn Quintero - preserving Osage language

Growing up in a small town in Osage County, Carolyn Quintero remembered people speaking Osage, a part of the Siouxan family of languages and one of many quickly disappearing from use among tribes.

Quintero was so intrigued with the ancient language and with preserving its history that it became the thesis of doctoral dissertation. Still fascinated with the language years later, she turned to experts to see how the Osage language was being spared from extinction.

There was nothing being done, so Quintero began meeting with tribal elders in Osage County to record their conversations and tales. From her recordings, she began sorting the sounds into phonetic symbols.



Inuk Hockey Player Honored

RANKIN INLET, NUNAVUT - A hockey jersey worn by a Nunavut player will be enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

Seventeen-year-old Jordin Tootoo, from Rankin Inlet, is the only Inuk to play on a national hockey team.

Tootoo says he's not sure which of his jerseys will be placed in the hall of fame -- one from the Arctic Winter Games, or from a recent international tournament.


Ortiz Center Designed to Bring Native Voices Into Academia

Ideas come spilling out of Beverly Singer, director of the fledgling Alfonso Ortiz Center for Intercultural Studies at the University of New Mexico.

The center, which has its grand opening recently at the Maxwell Museum on campus, was officially born in January with a $500,000 challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Singer has been on board since June, envisioning prospective programs, writing grants and thinking about fund raising.



Paean to Sherman High

Once nearly lost, the American Indian school's song has been brought back by an alumnus of more than 50 years ago.

Sherman Indian High School's song, first sung in 1906, once moved people to tears: "Oh Sherman, dear Sherman, we shall never forget . . . "

But some did forget and lost the words to the school song.

Robert Levi didn't. More than 50 years after he attended the boarding school for American Indians in Riverside, Levi, now 82, recently taught the song to the school's new generations: "Beneath Sierra's mountain high, with crested peaks of snow . . . "


Principal Comes Home to Save School

NIXON -- Randy Melendez likes the music he heard as a kid.

The Turtles play their hits from the '60s on the tape deck in the late-model blue Ford Ranger that Melendez drives between Reno and the Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation.

The 165 students attending classes in the $10.4 million facility that opened Sept. 5 probably haven't heard of the Turtles. But they know Melendez. He's the reason many of them are in the school, which is operated by the tribe and funded by the federal government.



Inuit Artist's Carving Featured on Millenium Stamp

RANKIN INLET, NUNAVUT - A carving by a Nunavut artist is featured on a millennium edition postage stamp... but most people in the territory will never see it.

The stamp is called "Powers of the Inuit Shaman" and it's part of a series celebrating aboriginal achievement in Canada.

Paul Toolooktoo made the carving.

He was honoured this week during a special ceremony in Baker Lake.

The stamp shows a woman's face in transformation.

She has tusks. Where her hair ends, the hair of a muskox begins.


Schools Tackle Sterotypes

A class session on stereotypes involved Amber Secord in exactly the wrong way this year.

Secord, a junior at North Kitsap High School, was the only American Indian in the classroom when the teacher displayed a cartoon about stereotypes and asked the class what other stereotypes there are.

"They started talking about casinos and welfare," she said. Secord, a Port Gamble S'Klallam, immediately felt singled out.

"I felt like I was there to defend every Native (American) in this world," she said.

On Friday, she was one voice on a panel of minority students, staff and parents who reminded North Kitsap School District staff that discrimination is a reality, in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. The panel was a main element of the district's "Strength in Our Diversity" in-service day.


About This Issue's Greeting - "Manahoo"


The Paiutes speak, along with the Great Basin peoples "speak languages in the Numic group of the large Uto-Aztecan family of languages. The Uto-Aztecan language family in many parts of the Southwest and go through Mexico and all the way down to South America.

This Date In History


Recipe: Pumpkin Recipes


Story: How The People Hunted The Moose


What is this: Moose


Project: Scarecrows


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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