Canku Ota

(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


April 7, 2001 - Issue 33




Kumeyaay Indian Language





"All children are my children. I teach them the songs and whatever else I can. That's what Grandmothers are for - to teach songs and tell stories and show them the right berries to pick and roots to dig. And also to give them all the love they can stand. No better job in the world than being Grandmother." Leila Fisher Hoh

We Salute
Ken Pepion

It's a long way from Badger-Fisher Elementary school on the Blackfeet Reservation to teaching at Harvard University, but that's where education and hard work have taken Ken Pepion. Born on the Blackfeet Reservation March 25, 1952, he is the son of Eileen and LeRoy Pepion.

Badger-Fisher was one of the typically small, rural schoolhouses that dotted Blackfeet country in the not-too-distant past. It was named for the irrigation system nearby, explained LeRoy Pepion, and housed eight grades in one room. Ken went from there to Valier High School, from which he graduated in 1969.


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:


Luci Tapahonso

FARMINGTON (March 15, 2001) - At a poetry reading by one of her 11 children Saturday, 87-year-old Lucille Tapahonso of Shiprock was in awe at the amount of attention her daughter attracted.

Tapahonso pointed to a photographer and the people who gathered around her award-winning poet daughter, Luci Tapahonso, March 9 at San Juan College in Farmington.


Securing Nuu chah nulth
by Tom Mexsis Happynook

Uuk-ltha-ma Mauk-sis-a-noop, his-tuk-shilth Cha-Cha-tsi-us, uh-aa Huu-ay-aht, uh-aa Nuu-chah-nulth-aht. My Name is Mauk-sis-a-noop which means gray whale hunter. This name has been passed down from generation to generation for thousands of years. My family comes from Carnation Creek which is part of the Huu-ay-aht First Nation which is a tribe within the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Group.



Horse Trainer Relates Experience

Lynne Ferguson has always maintained an emotional tie to her native Comanche people, despite being adopted out of the tribe as a child. This week, that emotional tie has grown stronger, even though she's 2,000 miles away on the Port Madison reservation in Washington.


Blending Three Tribes Into One Book is a Challenge

What will make this publication unique is some historic information, stories and narratives that have been told for the first time from the elders to our own people for this book.



The Ways of Tribal Courts

In the Muscogee (Creek) Nation tribal court, a medicine man may visit and sprinkle tobacco around the courtroom, purporting to be able to put hexes on people in an effort to further his cause.

An everyday occurrence? No. But has it happened? Sure, says Muscogee Judge Patrick Moore, who for years has witnessed such tribal traditions seep into his Okmulgee, Okla., courtroom.


154 Years Ago:
The Choctaw Sent Aid

One hundred fifty-four years ago, on March 23, 1847, the Indians of the Choctaw nation took up a collection.

Moved by news of starvation in Ireland, a group of Choctaws gathered in Scullyville, Okla., to raise a relief fund. Despite their meager resources, they collected $170 and forwarded it to a U.S. famine relief organization.



Nunavut Public Libraries Receive $486,000 Grant

Iqaluit-- Public libraries in Nunavut will receive a $486,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support public access computing and Internet access. Minister of Education, Peter Kilabuk, announced the grant during a meeting of the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut.


Brave Enough to Spell

WINDOW ROCK - Curie. Satiety. Lux. Diadem. Postprandial ... these were just some of the words that stumped participants in last week's Navajo Nation Spelling Bee.

All participants except Brendan Guinn, that is.



Indian Storytelling Isn't Just Entertainment

ARCATA, Calif. -- From Coyote to Thunderbird, the characters in Native American stories encapsulate the wisdom of the ages and convey it from one generation to the next. A newly established annual festival gives northwestern Californians a chance to share tales drawn from their indigenous traditions and weave them together with the stories of contemporary Indian life.


Aqua Caliente Storyteller Casts Spell on Audience with Account

Thousands of years after his ancestors came to the Coachella Valley, Ray Patencio still tells their story to everyone who will listen.

Patencio, the son of the last ceremonial bird singer of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, holds listeners with a style that is part college professor, part American Indian expert and part stand-up comedian.



Mexico Moves to Protect Monarch Butterfly

MEXICO CITY - Mexico's environmental protection agency Profepa said on Sunday it was taking more steps to protect the forest winter home of the Monarch butterfly amid illegal logging and other threats.

In one of nature's most dramatic journeys, tens of millions of Monarch butterflies migrate to the mountains of central Michoacan state from Canada every year to spend the winter.


Elders Pass on Message of Climate Change

CAMBRIDGE BAY, NUNAVUT - Elders in Nunavut are hoping their stories about global warming will win over world leaders. Elders from across the territory met in Cambridge Bay for a conference on global warming late last week.

There were many stories told – about new insects they've never seen before, or how the winds are so strong now they're knocking over cabins.



'Di Waste' (It is Good)

"It is sad to say that when we lose a fluent speaking elder, that elder is not being replaced by a fluent speaker. We want to stop this trend that with each generation, more and more of the language is lost."

Why is it important to teach the Dakota language to the Dakota people? It is so important because if you know your language and the elders talk to you, you understand what they are talking about and what they mean. The language is the Dakota thought and concept. We have a different way of thinking and a different way of perceiving things -- different from the non-Natives.


N.M. Foundation Wants Indian School Mural Saved

BRIGHAM CITY -- A New Mexico foundation has entered the fray over the planned demolition of the Intermountain Indian School's gymnasium, which features a 6-foot-by-12-foot mural by renowned Indian artist Allan Houser.

The Allan Houser Foundation, based in Santa Fe, has written letters to nearly a dozen senators and representatives, Utah's governor and the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, trying to enlist support for saving the mural.



Iqaluit Gets Crazy About Kites

IQALUIT — René Lavallée wants you to go fly a kite.

For the past two years, Lavallée has been sharing his passion for kites with his fellow Iqaluit residents, by giving his time and energy during Toonik Tyme to introduce the basics of kite-flying.

Lavallée, who works for Nav Canada, has spent all but one of the past 12 years in Iqaluit.

"And I don’t miss trees at all," Lavallée said.


Come Forth Laughing

That person called must come for the plate and stick, without smiling or laughing. They then retrieve the plate and stick, carrying it to their own side. If they laugh, or even smile, or drop the plate, they join the opposite side.

While they are doing this, their opponents will do their best to make them laugh. They can tell jokes, make funny sounds, anything is legal, to get them to laugh, or drop the plate off of the stick.



Preserving Cherokee Culture

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. - Hastings Shade is more than deputy principal chief of the Cherokee Nation. He is the living embodiment of the Cherokee culture.

Shade, a descendent of Sequoyah, inventor of the Cherokee syllabary, has dedicated his life to making sure the language, history and traditional crafts of the nation are not lost forever.

For most people, simply working in tribal government would be enough, but Shade also dedicated himself to being the keeper of the old ways of making traditional Cherokee crafts. He has spent thousands of hours teaching and passing on those skills.


Gwich'in Nation: We Come from the Caribou

Faith Gimmel is fighting for two nations.

One, the Gwich'in Nation, is composed of 15 villages in Alaska and Canada, representing 10,000 people who call one of the coldest regions in America their home.

The other is better known as the Porcupine caribou herd, whose 130,000 members are in the middle of a nationwide debate about the future of one of the most pristine spaces in the country.

To Gimmel, the two are one and the same.



Montreal Throat Singing Festival

Inuit women do it, Tibetan monks do it, the nomads of Tuva and Mongolia do it!

The extraordinary ability of these people to produce two notes from a single voice fills the air with magical, otherworldly music! Under the direction of these skilled musicians, we too can learn to produce these exciting and exotic sounds.


Laura Dance and Cultural Festival

Within the shadows of the world's oldest art galleries lies a place of magic and beauty.

Every two years a meeting of ancient wisdom and youthful energy takes place and transforms this sacred area into a ring of music, dance, colour, hope and life……….



About This Issue's Greeting - "HOWKA!"


The Kumeyaay, once referred to as Diegueno by the Spanish, were the original native inhabitants of San Diego County. The Kumeyaay, Yuman-speaking people of Hokan stock, have lived in this region for more than 10,000 years. Historically, the Kumeyaay were horticulturists and hunters and gatherers. They were the only Yuman group in the area, and were the people who greeted the Spanish when they first sailed into San Diego harbor with the Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo expedition of 1542

This Date In History


Recipe: Avocados


Story: How Fly Saved The River


What is this: Blackfly


Project: Go Fly A Kite


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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