Canku Ota Logo

Canku Ota

Canku Ota Logo

(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


December 1, 2001 - Issue 50


pictograph divider


"Ta Kaji Guatiao"




"Greetings Relatives"


 Buck and Doe Whitetail Deer - Winter Scene


nvda gutiha

Snow Moon
(Moon when the first Snows fall in the Mountains)

Eastern Cherokee


pictograph divider


"Today is a time of celebrating for you -- a time of looking back to the first days of white people in
America. But it is not a time of celebrating for me. It is with a heavy heart that I look back upon
what happened to my People. When the Pilgrims arrived, we, the Wampanoags, welcomed them
with open arms, little knowing that it was the beginning of the end. That before 50 years were to
pass, the Wampanoag would no longer be a tribe. That we and other Indians living near the settlers
would be killed by their guns or dead from diseases that we caught from them. Let us always
remember, the Indian is and was just as human as the white people.

Although our way of life is almost gone, we, the Wampanoags, still walk the lands of
Massachusetts. What has happened cannot be changed. But today we work toward a better
America, a more Indian America where people and nature once again are important."

~Frank James~


pictograph divider


We Salute
Monica Mayer, MD

On Thursday, I visited with a living tribute to UND's Indians into Medicine program. Monica Mayer, MD is proof to me that Dr. Robert Eelkema, author of this program, had exceptional insight and a vision that would reach far beyond the school.

Back some 18 years ago, when I first returned to the reservation, I was sitting around the table with an old friend drinking tea and getting to know the community. Avis told me that her daughter, Monica, was considering medical school. She was a student at UND. I wondered how this young Hidatsa woman, in spite of the fact that she was exceptional, could become a medical doctor. There were none on the reservation at the time. Her father was deceased, and her mother worked as a secretary. There were few American Indian doctors nationwide.

Read More Button

School News Banner
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:

Read More


Roy Henry Vickers

Roy Henry Vickers has firmly established himself as one of Canada's premier artists. His paintings are held in museums and private collections here and abroad and his work is admired and owned by some of the world's most powerful people: Queen Elizabeth II, American President Bill Clinton and former Soviet leader Boris Yeltsin have been presented with Vickers' artworks. In addition, Roy has been recognized at numerous events for his talent and for his contribution to society; most recently, he was presented with the prestigious "Order of British Columbia" award.


Wheaties, The Breakfast of Champions, Honors Jim Thorpe

JIM THORPE, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 20, 2001--Wheaties, The Breakfast of Champions, announced today at a ceremony held in Jim Thorpe, PA, that the legendary Jim Thorpe, an American Indian who left his humble beginnings on an Oklahoma reservation to become known as "the world's greatest athlete,'' will be honored on the cover of the celebrated cereal box.

Read More


Read More

News and Views Banner

Indian Performers Find Cultural Roots

Sherry Phillips' children grew up on Shonnard Street only 10 miles from the Onondaga Nation's land.

But her urban children had more contact with white, Latino and black urban cultural experiences than with their own Native American heritage.

They knew the words to the rap and rock songs, but not the songs their forefathers had been singing for centuries. That situation is changing - for her children and other Native American children in Syracuse.


Cherokee Nation Uses Thanksgiving Holiday to Teach Cherokee Culture

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – It’s a simple enough idea, but one that hasn’t been seen before, American Indians using Thanksgiving to teach their rich traditions and culture to public school children.

The Cherokee Nation sent out a short video to 100 public schools in Oklahoma. Featuring Cherokee children, it compares what they have been taught in school about Thanksgiving to the everyday Thanksgiving that is part of the Cherokee tradition, as explained by their grandfather.

Read More


Read More


pictograph divider

Day Touches Indians, Regrettably

GRESHAM - Clarence Chicks harbors no resentment about the Lutheran mission school he attended as a youngster in Shawano County, a school that ignored his American Indian heritage.

Chicks, 84, a member of the Stockbridge-Munsee band of the Mohicans, proudly describes the restoration of the three-story, yellow brick school that operated from 1908 to 1958. Emmanuel Mohican Lutheran Church Mission School is now used for church services in winter months and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

This Thanksgiving Day, as the nation recalls the first feast that brought together Native Americans and European settlers, not all American Indians share Chick's positive views about the mission schools. For some, the schools and the holiday are a reminder of a culture they lost and are struggling to regain.


District Aims to Integrate Indian Culture

Language and cultural differences are among the hurdles Indian students sometimes find blocking their path to meeting high academic standards.

Helping them overcome those obstacles falls to Jo Anne Grandstaff, community education liaison for Indian Education in Topeka Unified School District 501.

"Anything that can help individual students be successful in school," Grandstaff, now in her second year with USD 501, said of her job description last week.

Language and cultural differences and lack of resources are obstacles, Grandstaff said, that affect the education of Indian students. Integrating more Indian culture into the district's curriculum could help resolve this issue, she said.

Read More


Read More


pictograph divider

Group Preserves Colorful, Rare Early Strains of Maize

I have long been enchanted by maize. Not the civilized yellow ears of the summer barbecue, but the half-wild corns, our colorful legacy of American Indian gardeners.

There is a whole universe of little-known strains. They were perfected over centuries by the Pueblo tribes of the desert Southwest and the Plains tribes that farmed the fertile floodplains of the great Midwestern rivers.

The plant Zea maize, for example, was developed through millennia of breeding by Americans Indians.


Native Wisdom Benefits Biologists 

How do you follow a fast-swimming, deep-diving seal across polar ice?

The initial ingredients are simple: Patience. A breathing hole. More patience. Follow that with a sheet of plywood, a secondhand transmitter, a dab of epoxy and at least one orbiting satellite.

In a feat that married Inupiat seal-hunting know-how with Space Age gadgetry, villagers from Little Diomede Island worked with biologists last spring to capture and then track a ringed seal more than 400 miles through the frozen Chukchi Sea during the seal's annual northward migration.

Read More


Read More


pictograph divider

Navajo People in the 21st Century


The Navajo People exist today as one of the largest and most influential North American Tribal Nations today. It has a growing population of a quarter of a million and a land base the size of West Virginia. Its government and infrastructures are developing. However, the majority of the People are below the age 24. A significant portion of these young people move off-reservation for employment and education. This situation has resulted in a gap between the elder and the young. Most young Navajos today know little about their Languages and Culture. Yet this culture has much to offer the world at large. The Navajo Culture has provided a mode for resolving disputes alternative to the traditional American adversarial Court System - The Navajo Peacemaking Courts. The Navajo Language has help shape the history of the world by helping the United States win its Second World War.


Bolling's Powwow Educates People About American Indians

BOLLING AIR FORCE BASE, D.C., Nov. 26, 2001 -- "American Indians are very patriotic people," Southern Cheyenne Indian Mel Whitebird told attendees at the second annual Veteran's Powwow, here.

"When you come to Powwows and are around American Indian people, you'll realize that the highest honor that can be obtained within our society is that of a warrior," said Whitebird, who served as master of ceremonies for the two- day event. "Our modern day warriors are our veterans and we take time to honor them."

Read More


Read More


pictograph divider

Passing On Their Words Man Teaches Comanche

WALTERS, Okla. - Sam "Per kay uan ard" DeVenney, teaches Native American culture and the Comanche language to both American Indians and non-Indians throughout southwest Oklahoma and Texas.

"I am called a 'Speaker' among the Comanche tribe, because I learned our language as a child, along with English, in my grandmother Mary Lena Ukannachappy's home," DeVenney said.

"Now I teach the language to students who learn words mostly, because the language is not spoken in their homes," he said.


Report Calls for Separate Aboriginal Schools

REGINA - A report by the C.D. Howe Institute is calling for a separate education system for aboriginal children.

It says more and more native people are moving from reserves to cities and living in poor neighbourhoods. The report's author, John Richards, says that often means substandard education for aboriginal children.

Richards is a professor with Simon Fraser University. But in the 1970s he was an MLA in Allan Blakeney's NDP government in Saskatchewan. He also grew up in a neighbourhood in Saskatoon that now has a lot of aboriginal families.

Read More


Read More


pictograph divider

Celebrating Our Nation’s First Heritage

Coastal Native cedar basket meets Plains Indian powwow drum, as native traditions from all over "Turtle Island" are celebrated during Native American month.

Jamestown S’Klallam tribal member Roger Fernandes discusses Salish art of Puget Sound Nov. 18 for the Bainbridge Island Historical Society and gives listeners the chance to make their own designs. On Nov. 20, Robert Owens of the Lakota Nation tells traditional Plains Indian stories with acting skills honed at Oregon’s famed Shakespeare festival.

"We must always remember that the original inhabitants of this land were Suquamish," said Gina Corpuz, Squamish Native and island resident. "Many Coast Salish tribes (also) came here."


From Cola to Space

ALBUQUERQUE - As a self-described rez girl, Arizona State University senior Kristina Halona saw low-flying U.S. military airplanes over her small reservation community as inspiration, rather than a nuisance.

Halona, an aerospace engineering major, has aspirations of working for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and ultimately would like to walk in space as the first Navajo astronaut.

Attending the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) national conference for the sixth time, and second as the AISES' national student representative, Halona grew up in awe of United States Air Force airplane sorties over her Sawmill, Ariz., home.

Read More


Read More


pictograph divider

Navajo Performer Weaves Tales of Tradition

FORT WORTH - Storyteller Sharon Hatch French refuses to abandon her Navajo ancestors' traditions and beliefs.

On Thursday, Hatch French, of Fruitland, N.M., performed her award-winning one-woman play for high school students from West Academy.

Hatch French has performed various versions of her play throughout the Southwest since the 1980s.

Hatch French performs a more elaborate version of her play, called Anasazi, The Ancient Ones, every summer in a $1 million amphitheater built for her production in Farmington, N.M.


A Lesson for Students

Sen. Kelly Haney, D-Seminole, revealed the secrets behind the statues ... not statutes ... he makes as he addressed Jefferson Elementary School students Monday morning.

The occasion was Jefferson's Native American Heritage Day celebration.

Haney, a world-renowned artist/sculptor of Seminole Indian heritage, is nearing completion of "The Guardian," a 17-foot, 5,000-pound bronze of an Indian that will top the new State Capitol dome.

"We're going to put it on the State Capitol the second weekend in June," Haney said. "Right now, I am giving a personal invitation for you and your parents to come to the State Capitol... and watch us put this huge sculpture on top," Haney told the students.

Read More


Read More


pictograph divider

Native-American Culture Highlighted at Library's Holiday Event

Oakland, CA - To commemorate Native American Heritage Month, the main branch of the Oakland Public Library hosted an afternoon filled with storytelling, poetry, music and games on Saturday.

Those attending came from a variety of cultural backgrounds and ages. Several parents brought infants, toddlers and school-age children from throughout Oakland.

Loren Nakai of the Dine-Navajo Nation shared a prayer to ancestors past and present. The prayer ceremony involved a drum song and the lighting of sage. The smoke was fanned in four directions in reverence to tribal ancestors.


Indian Cultures Get Hi-Tech Help

BOZEMAN – Four Montana Indian reservations will begin projects to revitalize tribal languages and cultures using methods unheard of a generation ago.

Starting in the fall, the Northern Cheyenne, Crow, Rocky Boy and Fort Belknap reservations will begin equipping schools, senior centers and field museums with computers, scanners and related equipment.

One goal of the project, funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce, is to make high-end digital equipment available for training reservation residents who constitute one of the country’s digitally underserved populations, said Kim Obbink of the Burns Telecommunications Center at Montana State University in Bozeman.

Read More


Read More


pictograph divider

Hands-on Lessons in Tribe's History

PLAINFIELD -- The Mohegan Tribe may have a major casino expanding into a local landmark, but some local children learned there's more to tribal members than gambling.
On Thursday, they learned there is a history behind their visibility.

In fact, members of the Plainfield Recreational Day Care class performed a snake dance with Mohegan Tribe members dressed in moccasins and feathered headdresses, with drums beating as classmates and teachers looked on.

The dance was part of a presentation put on by the Mohegan Tribe's Council of Elders Cultural Programs Department and 25 children at the Plainfield Community Service Complex Thursday.

The children, aged 3-5, looked on as Shane "White Raven" Long and Bruce "Two Dogs" Bozsum told the children old Indian stories, displayed Indian toys and trinkets and played the flute and drums.


Indian Commissioner Says America Doesn’t Live Up to ‘Melting Pot’ Moniker

"America is a melting pot that didn’t work. We are still who we are."

These words, spoken by Native American Commissioner Ray Littleturtle, were part of his presentation to students at Laurel Hill Primary School during their Native American celebration Tuesday morning.

"Throughout the month of November we have been celebrating Native American Awareness month," said Principal Loretta Hagen." Gov. Hunt declared November the month of awareness in 1986 and declared it the 'year of the Indian.'Well, the celebration has been going on for longer than that and we have some very special guests here to show you some of the Native American celebration dances."

Read More


Read More


pictograph divider

Tribe Scribes

JENISON, MI-- Bri Bonzelaar is a proud new member of the Black Bear Clan.

To demonstrate her clan pride, the Rosewood Elementary School fourth-grader wrapped strands of blue and yellow yarn around a plastic ring with painstaking care. Later, she would attach the ring and a tiny drawing of a black bear along with feathers and beads to a wooden cross to create a clan stick similar to the ones made years ago by the Ojibawa Indians.

Bri, 9, and her classmates recently culminated a nine-week study of American Indian culture with a day of story-telling and activities that ended with a wild-game feast including bear, elk and venison dishes.

"If kids just read about things in textbooks, they aren't going to remember them," fourth-grade teacher Nancy Page said, adding that hands-on activities make the lessons more meaningful. "They won't forget the clan sticks or the foods they're going to eat."


Celebrate First Culture

Joe Liles wasn't born a Native American, but he has made Native American culture his life's passion. As a teacher at the N.C. School of Science and Mathematics in Durham, he organizes a large annual powwow that celebrates Native American traditions through music and dancing. He also has been adopted as an honorary Lumbee Indian.

But one of the most significant things Liles does to promote Indian culture is to participate in the intertribal-multicultural drum group Southern Sun.

Southern Sun is a hodgepodge of Native Americans from "practically every tribe in North Carolina," Liles says. It also includes the European-descended Liles -- hence its "multicultural" label. This melting pot approach works well for the group and speaks volumes about the new attitudes among North Carolina's Indians.

"We literally come from all sections of the state," Liles says. "And I feel like that makes a very strong statement to modern tribal relations."

Read More


Read More


pictograph divider

The Gates Millennium Scholarship Applications Available

Washington, DC - Nomination guidelines and forms are now available for the third year of the Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) awards. Principals, teachers, guidance counselors, tribal higher education representatives, and other professional educators are invited to nominate students with outstanding academic records, strong leadership potential and commitment to community service. Nominators must act in their personal capacity. Institutional nominations will not be accepted. All applications materials must be postmarked or submitted online no later than February 1, 2002.

The Gates Millennium Scholars Program was established in 1999 through a grant provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to provide African Americans, American Indians/Alaska natives, Asian Pacific Islander Americans and Hispanic Americans with an opportunity to complete a college education.

Read More


pictograph divider


In Every Issue Banner

About This Issue's Greeting - "Ta Kaji Guatiao"


The Taino language of the Greater Antilles is related to the Arawakan stock stemming from South America, "the people of the Arawak language family still comprise on of the more widespread indigenous culture within relatively large kinship nations in the Amazon and Orinoco river basins of South America." (Barreiro, 1990)

The language of the central Arawak or Lokono (meaning the "people"), and the Garifuna currently of Central America, are prime examples that are closely related to the Taino language, which is sometimes referred to as "Island-Arawak."


This Date In History


Recipe: Game Birds

Read More


Read More

Story: How Buffalo Taught The Bully A Lesson


What is this: American Bison (The Buffalo)

Read More


Read More

Project: Weaving-Part Two


This Issue's Web sites

Read More


Read More



"OPPORTUNITIES" is from sources distributed nationally and includes scholarships, grants, internships, fellowships, and career opportunities as well as announcements for conferences, workshops and symposia.

Read More

pictograph divider


Home ButtonFront Page ButtonArchives ButtonOur Awards ButtonAbout Us Button

Kids Page ButtonColoring Book ButtonCool Kids ButtonGuest Book ButtonEmail Us Button


pictograph divider

  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.


Canku Ota Logo


Canku Ota Logo

The "Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America" web site and its design is the

Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001 of Paul C. Barry.

All Rights Reserved.