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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


November 3 - Issue 48


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"Cama-i "




"Hello, greetings (exclamation); usually accompanied by handshaking and used after not seeing someone for a long time, or when first meeting someone."




Little Bear's Month




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"The ground on which we stand is sacred ground. It is the blood of our
~Chief Plenty Coups~


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We Salute
Chamique Holdsclaw

WNBA star Chamique Holdsclaw wasted little time Monday touting her stellar record in a talk to more than 500 kids from several neighboring schools at Rocky Boy High School. Instead, the University of Tennessee great and 1999 Women's National Basketball Association Rookie of the Year talked character and health.

In easy, conversational words, she stressed stuff like staying in school and finding your right, positive niche even if others tease you. She also talked about avoiding too much junk food and of learning to persist in a positive way even when things aren't going your way.

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School News Banner

Indian Education Summit

Billings, Montana - The National Indian Education Association conference begins in Billings today with thousands of Native American students, educators, parents and tribal leaders meeting to help dictate the future of Indian education.

"There’s strength in numbers," said Carole Anne Heart, Lakota and NIEA president, as hundreds registered Saturday at the Holiday Inn Grand Montana. "When you put your heads together, there's an energy that 3,000 people bring together. That energy is forceful. It’s demanding. It's an evolving process."

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Sandia Mountains are the BackDrop for This Years Native American Music Awards

by Suzanne Westerly

The Fourth Annual Native American Music Awards were held outdoors this year with the magnificent Sandia Mountains as the backdrop.

Sandia Pueblo is located at the western foot of the Sandia Mountains just south of Albuquerque. Governor Stuart Paisano welcomed the crowd to the Pueblos beautiful new casino and 3,000-seat amphitheater.


When the Wolf Howl Echoes Across the Prairie
 by Dorreen Yellow Bird

Somewhere between Rugby and Devils Lake, while returning from western North Dakota on Sunday, I saw a large animal run across the road in front of my car. I watched it as it crossed the far lane and went up the steep side bank of the road. At first, I thought it was a dog because it was too big to be a coyote or a fox. Now I am reasonably sure it was a gray wolf.

I favor letting wild animals share the earth with us. From what I've read and heard, the gray wolf in North Dakota is a good neighbor.

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Power Of Place

The story did not begin in the usual way.

Asked to give his life history, the Yup'ik man did not immediately talk about his lineage, his birth date or the highlights that mark the passage of a life.

He began with the mundane. He began with the land.

The man spoke of places he'd hunted for seals as a boy. Of where he knew a certain plant could be found. Of natural landmarks and their character. The path of his life followed the way to fish camp and berry camp and seal camp. As he talked, it became clear these "memoryscapes," connections to landscape through personal experience, were an integral part of his soul


Voice of Tradition; Indian Tribes' Storytelling Transends Time

Jane Dumas, an honored elder representing the Kumyaay tribe, spoke to the audience Sunday, October 28, at the seventh annual Northern California Indian Storytelling Symposium and Festival at Ohlone College.

Stories and philosophies centuries old still can pertain to modern life. Clarence Holtler said Sunday. Hostler, who is of the Hupa and Karuk tribes, told an attentive audience about how Amerian Indians believe emotional stress in the home can harm children.

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Cheyenne Language Surviving

An ancient Cheyenne prophet said his people’s end time would arrive when they stopped speaking their language.

Sweet Medicine’s words seemed to loom larger with each new generation of Northern Cheyenne.

But a century-long erosion of the tribe’s tongue is beginning to slow, thanks to a recently developed language teacher certification program at Chief Dull Knife College in Lame Deer. In the last four years, the number of certified language instructors has nearly doubled to 13, said college President Richard Littlebear.


Nurturing the Dying Art of Cradleboards

Eleanor Tom remembers putting each of her five children in traditional Paiute cradleboards made by her mother-in-law.

"I put my babies in there so they would have a straight back and not be bowlegged," she says. "My babies cried for it. It feels like they are being held all the time."

The boards served as a cradle, changing table, bath blanket and car seat. They were part of the Paiute birth ritual. Each cradleboard came with its own story and song, known only to mother and child.

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Spirituality of Salmon

Each year at about this time, salmon return here. For the past three spawning seasons, so have members of a Mewuk tribe.

And ever since the American Indians started giving thanks for the salmon run on the Merced River, the fish count has been climbing.

"We feel they know it and more will come up (the river)," said Mewuk spiritual leader Jay Johnson of Mariposa. "The more we have prayers and ceremonies, we feel we're going to have a good year."


Students Dig in During Tribe's Water Potato Roundup 

The students tramped across the swampy flats and dug through the mud with their hands.

After several minutes, one boy held up his prize -- a small aquatic tuber that looked like a severed thumb.

"Found one," he yelled to classmates, "we aren't going hungry tonight."

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That Native-American Feeling

Using a hollowed-out gourd as a drinking glass, Drew Harris, a Milan Middle School fifth-grader, sipped a stew he made from scratch Tuesday.

It was part of a Native American experience that three fifth-grade classes had at a Summerfield Township farm.

"Indians had a much harder time than we do now," he said, still clutching a wood walking stick he found earlier.

Fifth-graders have been coming to the home of Margaret Nieman home for five years to learn firsthand about Native American traditions and culture.


Cherokee Teaches Kids to Appreciate Native Cultures

As a native Southerner who's been dismayed and disgusted by the way folks like me have been portrayed in movies and on TV, I can imagine how Diamond Brown felt when he was growing up.

His people, he told me this week, were caricatured even in the textbooks he was given to study in school.

Brown is a Cherokee whose life's work is educating kids about what that means --- and, just as important, what it doesn't.

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Students in Lame Deer Now Study Tribal Government

Like other students in Montana, students at Lame Deer High School are required to learn about the Bill of Rights, the Civil War and the Gold Rush.

Steve Brady Sr., a teacher at the school and a Northern Cheyenne tribal member, thought students should also be given lessons on the Council of 44, the Dog Soldiers, the Indian Reorganization Act and recent changes to their tribe's constitution.


California Governor Signs Viejas Sponsored Indian Curriculum Legislation

California’s history began with Indians thousands of years before the Spanish missions. We’re an important part of the state’s past and we want to be part of the future. Unfortunately, in our public school textbooks, California Indians ceased to exist after 1880. By signing SB 41 into law, Governor Gray Davis has set into motion steps that will provide California’s children with a more accurate portrayal of Indian history and our place as contemporary governments and people,” said Steven F. TeSam, chairman of the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians.

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Artist Re-creates Ancient Utah Indian Moccasins

Nancy Fonicello knows what it is like to be in the shoes of American Indians who lived nearly a millennium ago.

The Utah Museum of Natural History asked Fonicello, a self-taught tanning artist and quill worker, to replicate ancient American Indian moccasins that lay buried in a cave north of the Great Salt Lake for as long as 1,000 years.


Artist's Gift to Tribe Honors Sacagawea

Sacagawea, an Indian woman who helped Lewis and Clark explore the West, has figured prominently in the recent life of Mahomet artist Robert White.

Meeting one of Sacagawea's descendants inspired White to donate one of his prized sculptures to a tribe in Sacagawea's birthplace in Idaho, and this past weekend White was out west at a ceremony marking the groundbreaking for the Sacagawea Interpretive and Education Center in Idaho.

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Arizona Teacher Selected 2002 Toyota Family Literacy Teacher of the Year

In honor of National Family Literacy Day(R) on November 1, the National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) in conjunction with Toyota, is pleased to announce Gwendolyn Paul of Coolidge, Arizona as the 2002 Toyota Family Literacy Teacher of the Year.

Ms. Paul is a children's family literacy educator in the Family and Child Education (FACE) program at Blackwater Community School in Coolidge. FACE programs follow the national, four-component family literacy model and strive to meet the unique educational and cultural needs of Native American
families. Ms. Paul is herself a member of the Pima tribe, which is located on the Gila River Reservation near Coolidge.


Wright Receives Milken Educator Award

Wilhemina Wright, Arlee High School government and Native American studies teacher, had a very good day on Oct. 11.

In a special mystery assembly, the unsuspecting Wright was told by State Superintendent Linda McCulloch, that she had been selected to receive the 2001 Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award, which comes with a no-strings-attached $25,000 prize.

"We are here today to honor Wilhemina Wright for her dedication to the quality education of Arlee students," McCulloch said in announcing the award. "It is only appropriate that I make this announcement at the school in which she has made so many contributions."

Wright was selected to receive the award along with two other Montana educators.

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Martin Brokenleg Promotes Native American Child-Rearing Philosophies for All Children

Traditional Native American child-rearing practices provide a powerful alternative to the current system of raising and educating our children, says Martin Brokenleg, professor of Native American studies at Augustana College in South Dakota. Brokenleg is a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and practices the culture of the Lakota people. He has taught at Augustana since 1974.

The book, he explains, combines Native American child-rearing philosophies with contemporary psychological research.


Local Teens Will Learn 'Walking In Beauty'

The National Indian Youth Leadership Project has received federal funding for a substance abuse prevention initiative directed at adolescent females, using among other interventions, traditional native themes and traditions.

The federal grant, which was awarded to the project from the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention is expected to service more than 300 youth in the Gallup, McKinley County and Navajo reservation area over the course of the next three years.

"Walking In Beauty," as the program has been coined, is a year-round program which will include outdoor and experiential groups, service learning activities, rites of passage support groups and talking circles, to name a few.

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Second Graders Walk in Native American Moccasins

Nine eager second graders, accompanied by teacher Barbara Michel, visited the Parker Woodland Wildlife Refuge, a 900-acre parcel owned by the Rhode Island Audubon Society in Coventry, to learn about what life was like in a Narragansett Native American village. The trip augments their thematic unit on Native Americans.

Gathered in a circle, as the Narragansetts did, students participated in a lively talk about the traditions and history of the Indians. Their prior knowledge was evident as they answered many questions about what the Indians ate, what they lived in and what tools they used.


Revival a Way to Reconnect With Land

Today meandering cattle and the occasional four-wheel drive vehicle are the closest things to traffic near the shaman’s cave and ancient Chemehuevi Indians village site deep in the Mojave desert.

The painted cave on the edge of the Old Woman Mountains is about 30 miles from the nearest paved road.

But the sun-baked rock formations and native drawings have not always been isolated.

In the generations before European settlement, the area was crossroads for ancestors of today’s Chemehuevi Indians and other tribal people.

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Maori Take on Hi-Tech Lego Toys

After challenging Danish company Lego to stop using Maori words for its hi-tech toys, New Zealand Maori are now planning to work with the company to draft guidelines on how to use traditional knowledge.

Last week a Lego representative went to New Zealand to meet with the Maori, who had complained at Lego's use of Maori words in its Bionicle game.

After deciding to stop using offending words in any further launches of the Bionicle range, Lego now wants to set out a code of conduct for the use of traditional knowledge in the manufacture of toys.


Students Get Science Lesson

About two dozen students from Wellpinit School on the Spokane Indian Reservation got a sense of what college life can be like at Gonzaga University on Friday.

A bookstore tour, a view of an amoeba through a microscope and a short physics lesson were all part of the field trip organized by the university's Indian Education Outreach Program that's now in its second year.

Afterward, the kids from Wellpinit provided their hosts with a look at traditional American Indian culture, dancing to pounding drum beats for more than an hour inside a residence hall.

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In Every Issue Banner

About This Issue's Greeting - "Cama-i"


Because contact with the outside world was relatively recent, the Yup'ik were able to retain many of their original ways of living. The traditional Yup'ik language is still spoken, and the focus on the extended family as the center of social life remains. Communities are still located along water, and much of their subsistence comes from traditional harvesting of these resources. Recent interest in documenting and maintaining cultural traditions has led to a focus on the Yup'ik way of life, resulting in support of scholarly study and performances and demonstrations intended to explore, record, and share Yup'ik life.


This Date In History


Recipe: Winter Boredom Cures

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Story: Grandmother Spider Steals Fire


What is this: Golden Garden Spider

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Project: Ribbonwork-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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