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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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 by Phil Goldvarg--Dedicated to all children who have ever been wounded by prejudice

Their once was a little white rabbit named Bumpy. Bumpy and her family lived in a big dark cave, where no sunlight ever came to visit. Bumpy's parents never let her go out and play and she only saw other rabbits that looked like her, pure white like a first snowstorm.

One day, Bumpy's older cousin told her that he had once seen some brown rabbits and some black rabbits and he went to play with them. When his parents saw him, they came over and pulled Bumpy's cousin away from the other rabbits and said that they were not real rabbits.

Bumpy asked her parents if brown and black rabbits, were real rabbits, and they said no, they were not.

After that, whenever they saw rabbits that were not white, Bumpy and her friends pretended that the brown and black rabbits were invisible.

One day a beautiful brown rabbit named Sunlight, tried to play with Bumpy, but Bumpy would not even look at Sunlight and pretended she was not there.

Sunlight was hurt and thought that Bumpy was not a nice or friendly rabbit.

So Sunlight went to talk with her grandmother. Sunlight went to her grandmother and gave her a big hug and asked if her grandmother wanted some water, or anything else before she sat down with her.

Sunlight's grandmother said "Thank you, but I'm not thirsty just now," as she patted the earth next to her, telling Sunlight that it was all right for her to sit down.

Grandmother asked Sunlight what was wrong, and said, "You don't look happy granddaughter." Sunlight told her grandmother what had happened and that she hurt in her heart.

Sunlight's grandmother put her arm around Sunlight and told her that the Creator hasmany children, they are many colors, but creator loves them all. She said the Creator had asked his Brown children to watch over the earth and care for each other.

She said that when the white rabbits came out of their caves and saw the earthland, they wanted it all for themselves. They thought if they could make the brown rabbits feel bad about themselves and that they were not as good as the white rabbits, then they would not stop them from taking the land.

Grandmother said, this did not work, because we are a proud and strong people and our ancestors are always with us.

Sunlight looked up at her grandmother and asked, "Grandmother, am I beautiful and proud and as good as anyone?"

Grandmother looked down at Sunlight and said, "yes Sunlight, you are beautiful and proud and as good as anyone and you can do anything you put your mind to. You are my dear shinning Sunlight."

Then Sunlight asked her Grandmother if she were a real rabbit.

Grandmother answered, "Yes, you are a real rabbit, a real, real brown rabbit.

Phil Goldvarg

 Print and Color Your Own Picture of Sunlight

Snowshoe Hare (Lepus americanus)

The snowshoe hare Lepus americanus, or "bush rabbit," as it is often called, is one of our commonest forest mammals. It is shy and secretive, often undetected in summer, but its distinctive tracks and well-used trails ("runways" or "leads") become conspicuous with the first snowfall.

Hares are often called rabbits, and both are members of the family Leporidae. However, hares are born fully furred and with eyes open, while newborn rabbits are blind and hairless. Newborn hares are soon able to hop around and leave the nest, but the helpless baby rabbits do not even open their eyes for 7 to 10 days.

Geographic range and habitat
The snowshoe hare, found only in North America, is distributed throughout much of the Boreal Forest. The southern extensions of this forest, along the Appalachian Mountains in the east and the Rocky Mountains in the west, take the snowshoe at least as far south as North Carolina and New Mexico. To the north, it reaches the Arctic Ocean in the willow swales of the Mackenzie River delta.

Physical Characteristics
The snowshoe hare is a medium-sized rabbit. Its feet are long (11-15 cm). With the toes spread apart, and the soles of their feet furry, the snowshoe hare is adapted for traveling in the snow. The snowshoe hare is noted for changing color; in the winter the snowshoe is almost all white, and in the winter the fur color changes to a grayish-brown. The males are smaller than the females which is characteristic of hares and rabbits.

Food Habits

The diet of the snowsow hare is variable, These animals browse on green grasses, forbs, bluegrass, brome, vetches, asters, jewelweed, wild strawberry, pussy-toes, dandelions. clovers, daisies and horsetails. The new growth of trembling aspen, birches and willows is also eaten. During the winter, snowshoe hares forage on buds, twigs, bark, and evergreens.

Snowshoe hares are typically solitary, but they often live at high densities, and individuals share overlapping home ranges. They are active at low light levels and so are most often seen out and about at dawn, dusk, and during the night. They are also active on cloudy days. During the daylight hours, hares spend a great deal of time grooming, and they take fitful naps. During its active period, a hare may cover up to 4 acres of its seven to 18 acre home range. Most activity is restricted to pathways, trampled down "roads" in the vegetation that the animal knows very thorougly.

Snowshoe hares are experts at escaping predators. Young hares often "freeze" in their tracks when they are alerted to the presence of a predator. Presumably, they are attempting to escape notice by being cryptic. Given the hare's background-matching coloration, this strategy is quite effective. Older hares are more likely to escape predators by fleeing. At top speed, a snowshoe hare can travel up to 27 mile per hour. An adult hare can cover up to 10 feet in a single bound. In addition to high speeds, hares employ skillfull changes in direction and vertical leaps, which may cause a predator to misjudge the exact position of the animal from one moment to the next.

Snowshoe hares have acute hearing, which presumably helps them to identify approaching predators. They are not particularly vocal animals, but may make loud squealing sounds when captured. When engaging in agressive activites, these animals may hiss and snort. Most communication between hares involves thunping the hind feet
against the ground.
Hares like to take dust baths. These help to remove ectoparasites from the hare's fur.

Snowshoe hares are also accomplished swimmers. They occasionally swim across small lakes and rivers, and they have been seen enetering the water in order to avoid predators.

Snowshoe hares are most often found in open fields, fence rows, swamps, riverside thickets, cedar bogs and coniferous lowlands.

Breeding season begins in mid-March and end in August. Hares can have up to four litters in a single season with an average of two to four offspring, although they can have up to eight. The young are born fully furred.

Snowshoe Hare
The snowshoe hare is a medium-sized rabbit. Its feet are long (11-15 cm). With the toes spread apart, and the soles of their feet furry, the snowshoe hare is adapted for traveling in the snow

There are two species of hares in Alaska, both of which turn white in the winter. The snowshoe, or varying hare (Lepus americanus), is the most common and widespread of these.

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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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