Canku Ota


(Many Paths)


An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


January 13, 2001 - Issue 27



Yaxei haa satee, aax hoon gei

(yuckx-ay haa satee, aax hoon gay)

 means “It is good to see you, all my relations!”




whirling wind month


"These days people seek knowledge, not wisdom. Knowledge is of the past; wisdom is of the future. "

Vernon Cooper-Lumbee

We Salute
Phillip Martin

At this moment of shifting political climates, when the future of Native nations is clouded by uncertainties on the national level, it seems proper to salute a consistent peace chief, one who led his own people from severe poverty and obscurity to sustained prosperity and regional political prominence.

He is Phillip Martin, long-time chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. A man of great perseverance, the 75-year-old Martin has led and guided his 6,000-member Choctaw tribe since 1959.


Happy Birthday

Canku Ota

On January 15, 2000, "Canku Ota" was born. We would like to take this opportunity to share some of the things that have happened since then.



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:


Joseph Fire Crow

Joseph's musical journey began as a child. "Drums were a regular part of our lives. In the summer were the war dances, now called powwows. As kids, we would imitate the drummers on my mother's galvanized wash tub.


Year in Review

Once again, Robert Eurich has compiled some of the highlights of the year 2000, and the mascot issues. We thank you, Robert for doing this and for allowing us to share it with our readers



Keeping Cherokee Culture Alive

A challenge for many modern Indians is keeping hold of their culture along with their traditions and language. Long ago, an attempt was made to eradicate their way of life and replace it with more of a Caucasian philosophy.

Today, persecution of the Indian people for their way of life is not as deliberate, but the struggle can still be difficult.


Cheyenne Runners End Trek

Lessons of strength and unity capped the Fort Robinson Break Out Run as about 45 people finished the 400-mile event Tuesday in Busby.

Finishers included a 4-year-old and two elders, said coordinator Phillip Whiteman Jr. The group included 34 runners, ages 7 to 18, support staff and followers in a caravan.



Rare Artifact Almost Went Out With the Trash

The painted bison robe was found in a pile of refuse that had been set about for garbage collection about 10 years ago.

Kay Ingalls, an employee of the Broadwater County Museum in Townsend, Montana, saw the robe as she was passing by and asked permission to take it to the museum.


Shoshone-Bannock Official Tribal Host Events Announcement

On November 28, 2000 the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes accepted the opportunity to be "Host Tribe" to all Indian Tribes during the XIX Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah by the Native American 2002 Foundation,



A Shout Passes on Tradition

On New Year's Day, 3year-old twins Jocelynn and Elliana Jacobs walked up to the door of their great-great-grandmother's home on the Onondaga Nation carrying pillowcases.

Nikki Bucktooth, the girls' mother, told the girls to give a good yell.

A chorus of small voices followed: "New Yea ... New Yea ... New Yea." Sue "Granny" Thomas, 86, let the little ones in and offered cookies as a treat.


A Unique Academy Preserves Ute Culture

Next to the old, brick former boarding school where Southern Ute Indian youngsters once had their mouths scrubbed with soap for speaking Ute, Georgia McKinley, 57, now teaches the nearly lost language.

The newly opened Southern Ute Indian Academy stands on the ground of the boarding school's long-vacant girl's dormitory, where in the '50s McKinley and her classmates had their braids shorn to abolish evidence of their Indian heritage.



Forgotten Heroes

Franklin Shupla says it's for someone else to judge the worthiness of the time he spent more than five decades ago using his Hopi language to radio top-secret messages for the Army.

But the pain is palpable when Shupla, 77, talks about President Clinton's decision last month to award congressional gold medals to the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers and silver medals to the approximately 300 Navajos who followed in the South Pacific.

For other tribes who used their native languages to confound enemies in both world wars - including the Choctaw, Sioux, Chippewa and Seminole - there has been little historical mention, much less recognition.


What is Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit?

Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit. To me these words have almost the same ring as "Next year in Jerusalem" does to Zionists: like Judaism, the IQ concept is a binding force for a people; unlike Judaism, though, IQ was never written down.

What is IQ? I’ve been asking myself that question since I started working for the Department of Sustainable Development in late 1998.

The question itself is like asking how many grains of sand there are on Baffin Island. We can never hope to count each and every single grain of sand, but we can describe what a grain of sand generally looks like, and that was how we approached the issue at Sustainable Development.



Elk That Call Ahead Can Cross Highway

Led by females, a large herd of Roosevelt elk has been abandoning the colder, higher reaches of the Olympic Mountains in search of mild weather and year-round foliage here in the maritime splendor of the Dungeness Valley.

Led by retirees, people have also been abandoning habitats of colder, more hostile terrain in search of temperate climate and year-round gardening, making this valley one of the fastest-growing areas in the West.

The forces of nature and demographics clash with violent finality on the main road just outside the town of Sequim (pronounced skwim).


Russian Tribes Visit Northwest to Learn Resource Management

For the first time in history, there has been a major cultural exchange between representatives of Indigenous peoples organizations in Russia and tribes of the Pacific Northwest.

Representatives from five Indigenous nations spanning distances of more than 6,000 miles across Siberia and the Russian Far East, met with tribal leaders, managers and elders during the first two weeks of December to learn about this country's Indigenous rights, sovereignty and natural resource issues.



Project Preserves Traditional Crow Site Names

When Barney Old Coyote looks across his homeland in Crow reservation, he can point to places like Anmaalapammuua, “Where the Whole Camp Mourned,” Baahpalohkahpe, the place where the Crows first celebrated the Fourth of July, and Bisshiilannuusaau, “Where They Laid Down Yellow Blankets.”

These places all have English names on maps created by the state of Montana, but Old Coyote remembers what his people have called these places for hundreds of years, and he hopes the Crow Place Name Project will help generations to come remember them as well.

These places all have English names on maps created by the state of Montana, but Old Coyote remembers what his people have called these places for hundreds of years, and he hopes the Crow Place Name Project will help generations to come remember them as well.


Keeping in Touch

The drive is 70 miles through the Navajo Nation, as dogs and men on horseback herd sheep across the road and the sun strains its final light of the clear, crisp day on the red mesas and the journey goes from state highway to the slivers of the Indian Route. It's two lanes most of the way, with as many animals spotted as cars and even fewer signs of human settlement.

A dead end, one final turn, three more miles, and the little house without a phone is on the left, on the outskirts of White Cone. There is no address, only a hand-drawn map that must be trusted, an easy-enough concession: There is no other life on the left. Up a slight incline, through the gate, along the 50-foot driveway of gravel and dirt and ruts to the front door.Outside, the temperature is in the low 30s, and the forever sky of nighttime has all but taken over, interrupted by a spotting of stars and a few lights from two homes 100 yards to the north. Inside, Henry and Rosebelle Dickson have finished dinner.



Rosebud Drummers Aiming for Inauguration

President-elect George W. Bush has invited the Rosebud Elementary School drum group to represent South Dakota at the inauguration celebration Jan. 20.

Now $5,000 in fund raising stands between 20 Rosebud fourth- and fifth-graders and the rare opportunity.


Nineteen Future Social Workers
Graduate NAU Cohort Program

Nineteen Navajo, Hopi and Cree scholars graduated from Northern Arizona University (NAU) December 9 as part of the Tuba City Social Work Cohort.

The Tuba City Social Work Cohort is a program that allows native students to take classes and receive a degree from NAU in social work, without commuting to Flagstaff on a daily basis.


GRAMMY Nominees

For the first time, Native American music has a category in the GRAMMY awards. The Recording Academy will stage the 43rd Annual GRAMMY Awards on February 21 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles. The show will be broadcast on the CBS Television Network from 8 - 11 p.m.


About This Issue's Greeting - "Yaxei haa satee, aax hoon gei"


The Nadene languages form another linguistic family; its branches include Athabascan, Haida, and Tlingit. The Haida and Tlingit tongues are spoken in parts of Canada and Alaska. As a whole, the Nadene languages have tones that convey meaning and some degree of polysynthesism. The verb is characterized by a reliance on aspect and voice rather than on tense.

This Date In History


Recipe: Tasty Turtle


Story: How The Chipmunk GoT His Stripes


What is this: Eastern Chipmunk


Project: Apple Head Dolls


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.




  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.


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