Canku Ota


(Many Paths)


An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


March 10, 2001 - Issue 31



"Bo zho, Bode'wadmi ndaw!"

Means “Hello, I'm Potawatomi”




Seal Pups Moon


"Birds have always been important to the Indian because they go where they wish, they light where they may and they're free. ...The eagle flies highest in the sky of all the birds and so he is the nearest to the Creator, and his feather is the most sacred of all. He is the highest of the birds and so belongs to all the tribes, to all the peoples."

Buffalo Jim-Seminole

We Salute
Teresa McComber

KYLE — A math teacher at Little Wound High School is being honored in Washington, D.C., this week as a winner of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.


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:


MariJo Moore

MariJo Moore has been elected to serve on the Board of the North Carolina Humanities Council. She is the first person from Cherokee descent to serve on this board.

In 1998, The NCHC sponsored workshops across the state in which Moore taught creative writing to NC American Indians. The result was the publication Feeding The Ancient Fires, A Collection of Writings by North Carolina American Indians, edited by Moore.



A technique practiced for centuries in many parts of North America, quillwork was the primary form of decoration for the majority of tribes living in areas where the porcupine (the second largest rodent in North America) could be found. Colored, geometric bands of quills were folded and twisted to make complex patters on baskets, in jewellery or on gloves. Around 1840, quillworking began to decline when native women started using beads to decorate garments.



Law School to Give Inuit "Tools to Instigate Change"

Some will say they're spoiling paradise, but the Nunavut government intends to establish a law school this year to populate the Arctic territory with Inuit lawyers.


Class Draws Indians to Journalism

An effort to bring more diversity into America's newsrooms will unfold this summer during the month-long American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota.



A Return of the Natives

LEWISTON, Idaho - When Horace Axtell was a boy in the 1920s and '30s, his grandmother would take him on fishing and berry-gathering trips in the Idaho mountains. Like most Nez Perce, they would often work in the forest for two or three weeks at a time. It was on one of those long trips that he heard a wolf howl.


When Thunderbird Battled Whale, the Earth Shook

"There was a shaking, jumping up and trembling of the earth beneath, and a rolling up of the great waters."



Saving Native Languages

On February 23, American Indian and Alaska Native scholars, native language instructors, and community leaders gathered at the United States Senate for a symposium entitled “Saving Native Languages.”


Navajo Language Essential

There was a welcome sigh of relief to Arizona Attorney General Janet Napolitano's decision that the English-only proposition approved by Arizona voters does not apply to tribal or federal schools.



Font Moves Cherokee Language into Digital Age

TAHLEQUAH -- The Cherokee language that has echoed across North America for centuries now resounds in cyberspace as well. In the week since it was placed on the Cherokee Nation web site, more than 1,300 people have downloaded a font that allows computer users to communicate in the Cherokee language.


Artisans Program Making "Grandmother's Dream" Come True

As artisans, Roy Talahaftewa and Victor Lee Masayesva know the challenges—and the rewards—of starting a successful business. Now, the two are sharing their experiences with other aspiring artists, starting an enterprise at Second Mesa called So-oh’s Tunatya, or Grandmother’s Dream.



Have You Ever Seen a Real Indian?

The American Indian College Fund announced today the launch of a new advertising campaign that challenges "Indian'' stereotypes by profiling strong, successful Native American people. Created by long-time College Fund advertising agency, Wieden + Kennedy/Portland, the print campaign is expected to appear in April publications.


Local American Indian Wins Honor

Shawna Kirsten’s dream to improve the tribal court system has won the Hungry Valley woman one of 16 spots in a nationwide program that promotes leadership skills among members of American Indian tribes.

Kirsten, a member of the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, has been selected to participate in this year’s national American Indian Ambassadors Program.



Hampton Has Cool Vibe with Tribe

LAPWAI, Idaho _ Though he's performed for kings and heads of state, and played in the world's greatest concert halls, Lionel Hampton was content to hold court Thursday afternoon in the bleacher-lined gym of Lapwai Elementary School.


Camp Ditches Indian Motif

BLACK MOUNTAIN – The totem poles are gone. No longer will camp counselors wear ceremonial headdresses and be referred to as "chief." The age groups are now named for indigenous trees rather than Indian tribes.



The History of Sequoyah

Family tradition tells us that Sequoyah (S-si-qua-ya) was born west of Chillhowee Mountain, which is approximately one and a half miles east of Tasgigi, Monroe County, Tennessee. This location is only about 8 miles from Echota, the capital of the old Cherokee Nation. As far as his birth year, the best estimation is from 1760 to 1765.


Remnants of Old Indian Tribe Documented

Growing up along Bayou Dularge, Janie Verret Luster knew that the ground beneath her feet was rich with the history of her ancestors.

As a girl, she remembers occasionally finding shards of old pottery in the mud piled along the bank, spoil from a before-she-was-born dredging of the bayou.



About This Issue's Greeting - "Bo zho, Bode'wadmi ndaw!"


The Potawatomi language belongs to the Algonkian language group; as such it is related in structure and vocabulary to the Ojibwe, Menominee, Kickapoo, Miami-Illinois, Shawnee and Cree languages, and most closely resembles Ojibwe and Kickapoo. Linguists classify it as a separate language that became a distinct entity long ago. Most Potawatomi who are involved with the language feel strongly that this is so.

The most important characteristic of the language is that it is oral. English, by comparison, is a written language. Pretty much all of us started school when we were young and quickly learned that words have definite shapes and boundaries, defined by blank spaces. In a truly oral language, that isn't the case.

Potawatomi has been written down from time to time, but a definitive and commonly accepted writing system has never been developed. There is a "traditional" orthography, and several others that were developed over the years, including ours. For the most part, though, people are free to write the language as they hear it, and no one is criticized for misspelling in Potawatomi.

This Date In History


Recipe: Caribou


Story: How Porky Got Quills


What is this: Porcupine


Project: Beading Series


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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