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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


September 8, 2001 - Issue 44


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"Chin'an gu nin yu"


Dena'ina Athabascan


"Thank you, you came here"










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"The longest journey you make in your lifetime is 18 inches, from your head to your heart, the centre of your being. That's where spirituality lies."
Fernie Marty


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We Honor
The Thirty-Eight

August 17, 1862, The beginning of what would be considered by many as the start of the great Indian wars. It was in Acton, Minnesota that a small group of Dakotah men found some eggs, argued about their rightful ownership, and so led to what we know as the 1862 Conflict. To some it was but a mere skirmish, to me and to many of my people it was the culmination of years of lies and deceit, of oppression and thievery by top-ranking government officials and well known and respected traders and entrepreneurs.

Hundreds lost their lives and some lost only their homes. My people lost their way of life and for the most part, their culture. We were sent scattered across the continent and into Canada, for the lucky ones that could make it there. Into desolate prison-like reservations for the rest of us, where we would continue to live a miserable way of life. Having what was left of our culture slowly stripped from us, while we were taught the white man's way of life. To me, it was a form of genocide.

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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:

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News Flash

We've added maps to our articles, so that you can see where the many paths of our People are. Additionally, we've provided these two maps of North America and a coloring book picture for you to print. We hope that this new feature is helpful.

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Gene Gonzales

In searching for a comics project to stir his creative juices, Gene Gonzales looked not to the high-flying costumed heroes that he loved as a child, but to his rich American Indian heritage.

"Tales of the Cherokee" is the result -- three ancient stories adapted and illustrated by Gonzales. The tales, in simple, charming fashion, draw on Cherokee myth and legend passed down from generation to generation to answer such questions as how the world was made and why moles live underground.


Comic Book Images of American Indians Changing

LAWRENCE -- Comic books have run the gamut of portraying the American Indian from subhuman to superhuman, according to Cornel Pewewardy, University of Kansas assistant professor of education.

Today's contemporary comic books include characters developed by American Indian cartoonists, who picture native people as more modern and with a futurist image, says Pewewardy.

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Preparatory School Sends
90 Percent of Students to College
by Nathan J. Tohtsoni The Navajo Times

FARMINGTON, NM - On a recent afternoon at Navajo Preparatory School in Farmington, the student body was choosing class officers while administrators were busy getting the first week of classes in order.

It's been 10 years since the Navajo Nation took control of Navajo Prep - the premiere college preparatory school for Navajo high school students.

According to pamphlets provided by the school, nearly 90 percent of its graduates enroll in institutes of higher learning. School officials credit summer enrichment programs and its staff for that success rate.


Students Aiming High
 by Twila Van Leer Deseret News

FORT DUCHESNE — "Honoring the Past, Preparing for the Future."

That written objective for Uintah River High School includes pushing post-high school education for many of its students, a departure from years in which few of the Uinta Basin's Ute Indian children looked at higher education as a desirable option.

School has barely begun for the 2001-02 year, but already some students have their sights set on futures that include more study.

"Anthropology or medicine," said Ashley Groves. And she knows which university might offer the better opportunity, depending on her ultimate choice. "Brigham Young University has better courses in anthropology, but if I decide on medicine, it will be the University of Utah."

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Where the Buffaloes Roam
 by Rick Storm Amarillo Globe

QUITAQUE - Nine baby buffaloes bounce about Caprock Canyons State Park these days.

"We thought we had eight, but we had one fool us and got a late calf," said Danny Sweptson, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department district manager. "It's hard to tell when they're pregnant."

Sweptson said calving season lasts from the end of June to mid-September, with a nine- to 9-month gestation period.

The buffaloes belong to the historic State Bison herd, which was started in the late 1870s when pioneer cattleman Charles Goodnight, sensing the demise of the great southern bison herd, roped two buffalo calves.


Prairie Dog Conservation Efforts Making Progress
  by Claire Johnson of the Billings Gazette

Plans to conserve black-tailed prairie dogs, a key animal in prairie ecosystems and a candidate for federal protection, are progressing on several fronts.

More than 60 people from 11 states, tribes, federal agencies, landowners and conservation groups working on prairie dog management converged at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center in Billings for a two-day session that concluded Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the multistate conservation team, federal agencies and a tribal consortium held separate meetings. The groups then met together Wednesday where each reported on their activities.

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Grade 12 Course Debuts at Kugaaruk School
 by Denise Rideout Nunatsiaq News

IQALUIT — Six high school students in Kugaaruk are studying poetry and reading adventure novels in the school’s first-ever Grade 12 English literature class.

The course, English 33, made its debut at Kugaardjuq School when classes reconvened this week.

"We have a few people who are just starting to take some Grade 12 courses," Brian Johnson, the principal, said proudly.

Up until now Kugaardjuq School has only offered courses up to Grade 11.


Lummi School Sees Big Changes
by Kari Thorene Shaw, The Bellingham Herald

Despite losing most of its teaching staff last June, Lummi Tribal School opened this week with a reconstituted staff and a new curriculum.

This is a transitional year for the 200-student school, where teachers for the first time will use a new curriculum built around Lummi culture. Superintendent Luke Enemy Hunter spent the past year developing the curriculum in anticipation of a new $24 million tribal school facility, expected to open in fall 2003. Right now enrollment is down from last year's 270 to about 200. Tribal officials anticipate 750 students when the new building opens.

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Woman Touring U.S. Lobbying Against Drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
by Stephen Siegfried
Silver City Daily Press

In a legend of the Gwich'in people, the land that is now the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is the place where all life began.

Bobbie Jo Greenland, a Gwich'in woman who was interviewed by the Daily Press last week, is traveling the United States bringing a message from her people opposing plans by the Bush administration to drill for oil and natural gas in the refuge, home to the caribou herds that provide subsistence to the ancient culture.


Earth Day: 2001-Forever
 by Jamie Lockard

Earth Day…I’ve always considered it a silly tradition. Not a silly cause, mind you, but a silly tradition. The reason, simply put, is my personal opinion that Earth Day should be everyday. Now, please don’t misunderstand, I agreed whole-heartedly that it is a good cause and a good concept. At least, I felt this way until recently.

I had a hard time endorsing an idea that supported conservation one day a year. It was similar to the "Great American Smoke Out". I mean, if you are going to quit, it will take more than one day, and if you don’t have any desire to quit…why would you stop for one day. Follow me so far? These things take commitment. Traditionally, we, as a species, have a difficult time with commitment.

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Re-creating the Traditional Navajo Lifestyle
 by Marley Shebala Navajo Times

WINDOW ROCK - As she moved slowly around the exhibit of her husband's work, she smiled often and sometimes burst into laughter.

Her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren followed her around the art show, also smiling and laughing.

Minnie June McGirt-Tsihnahjinnie married Andrew Van Tsihnahjinnie in 1954 and they had seven children, three girls and four boys.


Remembering a Basket Weaver's Magic
 by Ed Vogel-Las Vegas Review Journal

CARSON CITY -- The roof of the small wooden house a stone's throw from the state Capitol has begun to sag. Trash is strewn on the floors of its two rooms.

Even when it was constructed by Carson City merchant Abe Cohn in 1895, the building wasn't much more than a shack.

But during the 30 years she lived here, Dat-so-la-lee was transformed from Cohn's lowly Indian maid into a celebrated artist and the most famous Washoe in America.

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Tribe Casts Medals for Original Enrollees
  by Ann DeFrange Staff Writer-News from Oklahoma

"There wasn't even an Oklahoma when I was born."

At age 98, Daisy Blackbird has seniority over Oklahoma's statehood status, and that many years in this state have cast her as a key player in some of the most significant moments and movements Oklahoma has seen.


Young Heritage Leaders Program Recognizes Contributions of Youth
 by Newswire Canada

TORONTO, Aug. 23 /CNW/ - Ontario youth who make valuable contributions to heritage preservation in their communities are eligible for recognition by the Ontario Heritage Foundation as part of the Young Heritage Leaders 2001 program.

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Camp Places Focus on Native American Science
by Arlene Helderman, Staff Intern International Falls Daily Journal

Near BARWICK, Ontario - Trying to integrate traditional Native American science with Western science is the aim of a summer science camp held recently at Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung Historical Centre.

The camp, which was run in two-day sessions from July 10 to Aug. 17, was sponsored by Seven Generations Education Institute in Fort Frances, Ontario. Other organizations and individuals were involved, including Indian Northern Affairs Canada, Rainy River First Nations, and the Historical Centre.


First We Take Tasiujaq, then We Take the World
 by Alison Blackduck-Nunatsiaq News

IQALUIT — A coordinator of the ambitious new Nunatinnit Nomadic Media Lab says the vagaries of weather still trump the power of the Internet.

"Our main obstacles were never technical obstacles," Katarina Soukup said in a telephone interview from Igloolik.

For five days, a trilingual group of Inuit and non-Inuit, young and old, used a satellite uplink to the Internet to share their experiences of living on the land.

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Final Indian School Hooked Up To Internet

WASHINGTON, Aug , 2001 (U.S. Newswire via COMTEX) -- Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton today praised the strong partnership that brought the last Bureau of Indian Affairs school online. Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Neal McCaleb, teachers and students celebrated the final hookup today at the Chichiltah/Jones Ranch Community School on the Navajo Reservation outside Gallup, N.M

"The last roadblock facing Indian children on the Information Superhighway was knocked down today," Norton said. "The President has told us to leave no child behind, and BIA, working with incredible partners, has turned that vision into a reality."


Indigenous Takes Unique Road To Top
by Heidi Henson Press and Dakotan

HARTINGTON, Neb. -- They have toured the country, been to new and exciting places and played with the musicians that some only dream of meeting. But now, before returning to the studio, South Dakota's Indigenous will be performing in Hartington for the annual Hartland Festival.

"We pretty much play anywhere," said lead singer Mato Nanji in a telephone interview earlier this week. "We try to give it our 100 percent."

Though they have played large venues this year, Nanji said he enjoys returning to the smaller venues because of the intimacy the band gains from the crowd.

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Victims of Adult Onset Diabetes Getting Younger
   by Sharon Salyer Everett Herald

While diabetes screenings are now being recommended for many people in their 30s, doctors here and across the nation say the disease is becoming epidemic among a much broader group as well: anyone who is overweight and doesn't exercise, beginning as early as adolescence.

"This is a huge health issue," said Charlein Pinkham, a certified diabetes educator at Providence Everett Medical Center.


The Long Journey Back to the Heart
 by Lisa Gregoire Edmonton Journal

When the talk turned political, Fernie Marty slipped out of the big top tent, walked over to a tree and began pulling sweet grass from the roots. Then he sat in the sun, wedged the roots between his heels and braided the shiny strands.

"When you are picking the medicine, it's like you can hear your ancestors talking," said Marty. "Out here is our church." Marty exudes peacefulness. It drips from his warm fingers when he touches your hand. He is a medicine man, a grandfather and a spiritual guide.

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In conjunction with ITTI 2001 -a four-day conference that will provide critical information to tribal leaders and others about ways to increase access to telecommunications services in Indian Country -, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) will sponsor a scholarship program in an effort to attract the largest possible tribal attendance. ITTI 2001 will take place Sept. 23-26 at Bally's Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada. The conference is co-sponsored by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Exchange Carrier Association (NECA)


Advocates of Indigeous California Language Survival

When Native American languages die, we all lose part of our heritage. Beyond the linguistically important loss of grammatical, semantic and cognitive aspects of these native languages so much more is being lost. Language carries embedded within it the cultural values of the society it sprung from. Unique world-views, oral literature and whole bodies of knowledge disappear with each vanishing tongue. More importantly, language loss is a human rights issue. The native communities of California have had their languages taken from them involuntarily. Indigenous people view their languages as the bearers of their culture, transmitter of their ceremonies and record of their history, their way of life and their very identity.

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In Every Issue Banner

About This Issue's Greeting - "Chin'an gu nin yu"


The ancestral language was, apparently, the Na-Dene family of languages (containing Athabaskan - Eyak - Tlingit), which according to current linguistic theories, arrived in Alaska 6000-7000 years ago. Proto-Athabaskan diverged from the others about 3500 years ago and as recently as 2500 years ago was still undifferentiated and also showed no significant Eskimo language influence, suggesting the physicalseparation of the proto-Athabaskans from the ancestral Eskimo and Aleut peoples. Krauss has argued that eastern interior Alaska and adjacent west central Canada were probably the Athabaskan linguistic "homeland." By minimally 1500 years ago, this language family had differentiated into three main branches - Apachean, Pacific, and Northern, of which the contemporary Athabaskan languages of Alaska and Canada are a part. Dena'ina is a dialect of the northern Athabaskan family.


This Date In History


Recipe: Hot Breads

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Story: Sunlight


What is this: Snowshoe Hare

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Project: Preparing Feathers - Part One


This Issue's Web sites

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"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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  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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