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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


December 15, 2001 - Issue 51


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 Wolver In Winter






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"God gives us each a song. That's how we know who we are. Our songs tell us who we are."
~Charlie Knight~


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We Salute
Tex Hall

Tex Hall, tribal chairman of the Three Affiliated Tribes at New Town, N.D., is changing his views from local to national as he becomes the voice of most tribes in the nation.

He was sworn in as president of the National Congress of American Indians on Nov. 29.

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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:

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Mahkato Wacipi

This two-disc set brings together traditional songs, dances, and stories from the native peoples of southern Minnesota in the form of a two-day Wacipi (or Pow-wow). The event, recorded here for the first time, commemorates one of the most egregious atrocities dealt to the Dakotah, Lakotah and Winnebago peoples by the United States: the U.S. Dakotah Conflict of 1862 and the subsequent hanging of 38 people. This field recording is an educational document of state and national importance. It features respected tribal elders recounting the history, and performances by some of the best drum circles in the Mankato (traditionally 'Mahkato') region.

Zas (Snow)
by John Rustywire

It was the middle of the night and I was home on the Navajo reservation at Toadlena, Two Gray Hills. I slept in a small room and my grandparents slept in the next one. I was visiting their place, we had supper and went to bed, it was winter.

I heard the sound of maiis-coyotes were wailing far off. Shi-che-my grandfather came to me. Usually his hair was tied up but it was bushy and going every which way, I heard him say, Nchah-, nchah-, it sounded funny to me, because that is what is said to a baby when it cries, I said, I am not small anymore. He laughed and told me to get up. It was the middle of the night and cold.

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Running For Their Lives

Black River Falls - Seventeen-year-old Ashley Blackcoon's loping run has turned into a painful shuffle. His head tilted to the side, he nudges his nearly 350-pound body onward.

Four miles becomes six, six miles becomes eight. The barren highway rises in the distance, endless. Ashley bends over, clutches his legs, dizzy.

Always, he has been an outsider. A tenderhearted youth in a dysfunctional family. A Ho-Chunk in a mostly white school. A hulking boy in a society that prizes slender athleticism.

As much as he wants to leave the course, he pushes forward.


Cherokee Contest Puts Phoenix Legend in Modern Context

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Looking to the past for strength during today’s troubled times is the idea behind a writing contest being sponsored by the Cherokee Nation.

Sixth-, seventh- and eight-graders are invited to write a poem or short story on "How Does the Story of the Phoenix Bird Apply Today?"

During the Indian removal the Cherokee people took the story and made it their own. The belief that they too were continually facing the fire in the hardships they faced made the story of the Phoenix seem very real to them and cemented the tie.

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Montana, Wyoming Indian Youth Form New Organization

Youth Council representatives from eight tribes in Montana and two in Wyoming converged on Billings Saturday, Nov. 24, to take part in the first organizational meeting of the newly formed Montana-Wyoming Youth Tribal Leaders, according to group coordinator and new chairman Jay Dusty Bull of Browning High School.

"I coordinated this organization because I saw a need for youth leaders, so I called 10 reservations to send representatives," Dusty Bull said Monday.


State Test Questions Offensive to Iroquois

A top official in the state Education Department is apologizing for mistakenly including inappropriate material about Iroquois culture in a portion of the new state social studies test taken last month by about 250,000 fifth-graders.

Among them were students at the Onondaga Nation School. As they worked their way through the test, they found on a page under the heading of "ceremonial objects" images of two masks that the Iroquois hold sacred. They are definitely not meant for display, even among themselves.

The test talked about ceremonies that the Iroquois, who call themselves the Haudenosaunee, prefer not be discussed, she said. It referred to a war club as an object that was used in daily life. To Jacques, the test makes the Haudenosaunee sound like people who existed merely in the past.

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Tribes Race to Save Dying Languages

Michael and Cecelia Collins watch closely as Suzie Slockish writes on a marker board the words -- kusi, kusi kusi, lakas, pinaq'inut'awas.

Horse, dog, mouse, window. The Sahaptin words are the gateway to a language of their ancestors -- a language that could die out in a generation if young people don't begin speaking it in their everyday lives.

"It was our children who got us motivated to trying the classes," said Michael Collins, an accountant who lives with his wife and family on the sprawling sage and juniper-dotted Warm Springs Reservation. "Our little daughter at 21/2 knew more of the language than we did."


Voyage to Rescue a Tribe's History 

ORCAS ISLAND -- The boat slides quietly through Thatcher Pass and past Decatur Island, where red-barked madrone trees cling to the rocky bluffs.

This, Lena Daniels recalls, was the Samish highway.

It was the watery road that Daniels traveled eight decades ago in a dugout canoe, long before the U.S. government decided her people had ceased to exist as a tribe; long before a federal judge suffering from Alzheimer's disease stripped them of treaty fishing rights.

Still sure-footed at 92, Daniels climbs aboard the Paraclete to cruise through the San Juan Islands and back to her childhood.

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BROWNING - If you think education is expensive, try supporting a welfare state the size of Indian Country.

It is nothing new to say that America's Indian reservations are awash in poverty, propped up by welfare, and that along with generations of welfare have come generations of other social ills: drugs and alcohol, physical and emotional abuse, divorce, despair and the demise of the family.

But systemic poverty cannot stand long in the face of education, or such is the hope, and Indians - particularly Indian women - are leading an intellectual renaissance from tribal colleges to economic independence.


Lessons of Heritage, Language Intertwine for Elder and Pupil

CHILOQUIN -- "Bol'ooqs," Stephanie Ohles reads from the Klamath language dictionary then watches as elder Neva Eggsman scrunches up her face in disgust.

"My mother-in-law used to love to eat that," the 93-year-old Eggsman says of the word for duck embryos, once a delicacy in the Klamath and Modoc tribes. The two share the intimate laughter of women who are closer than friends.

Eggsman is teaching the Klamath language to Ohles and another apprentice, who in turn teach it to other families.

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Already an Educator, Miss Indian Oklahoma Passes on Knowledge

Although she hasn't yet earned her degree, future teacher Lena Nells is already doing her share of teaching.

The Tahlequah student recently was crowned Miss Indian Oklahoma for the coming year. She is of Cheyenne-Arapaho, Kickapoo and Navajo descent, but considers herself most strongly influenced by her Arapaho heritage. Her grandfather, William Pratt Jr., is full-blood Arapaho, and she has learned many things from him.


Din'e College: A Shining Beacon

The Navajo Nation is facing many hurdles. It faces such serious problems as joblessness, housing, and providing necessary services to a reservation the size of West Virginia.

Just where will future leaders come from and from where will they obtain the education needed to lead the Navajo Nation during the 21st century? Some will certainly come from Din'e College.

The college is one of, if not the largest Native American institutions of higher learning in the nation. But size isn't what makes the difference - it is the educators, administrators and students.

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Basket Weaving Demonstrations to be Held at Indian Marketplace

PAUMA VALLEY -- Marlene Fosselman is a Luiseño Indian who has a 100-year-old basket made by her grandmother on the Pala Indian Reservation.

But somewhere along the line, the art of basket weaving didn't get passed on to Fosselman's generation.

She and several other Luiseño women want to keep the American Indian art alive, so they will demonstrate it at the Native American Marketplace at Casino Pauma.


Nansemond Indians Approach Suffolk Council About New Facility

SUFFOLK -- The Nansemond Indian Tribal Association is taking another step toward fulfilling its dream of a permanent tribal cultural center.

At Wednesday's City Council meeting, Nansemond Chief Barry Bass and others will talk about the tribe's heritage and its role in the city's history.

"One of our key objectives is retaining our culture for our people and to educate the community to our heritage,'' Bass said. "We have a basic vision that takes time, thought and work to put into place.''

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Creek Nation Officials Welcome Group

The Muscogee (Creek) Nation Complex was the site Tuesday morning of an international visit by eight people from the regions of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia in Russia. These visitors are invited to the United States under the auspices of the State Department's International Visitor Program. They are professionals in business and government in their countries. The visitors will be in the United States for twenty days, having traveled from New York to Los Angeles.

The purpose of this trip is for foreign visitors to witness ethics in business and government relations.


U.S., Canadian Tribes Share Tradition

COACHELLA -- For three days, they danced, drummed, sang and ate as their ancestors did.

The fifth annual Winter Gathering and PowWow concluded Sunday on a lush patch of green grass behind the Spotlight 29 Casino.

An estimated 5,000 onlookers were entertained at the event, sponsored by the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians.

"If you have an imagination, it’s really a lot like being at a powwow hundreds of years ago," said Manuel Cortz of Coachella.

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Enviro Rantings From an All Natural Soapbox

I scour the papers each and every day searching for environmental injustices of the earth. It doesn’t usually take me long. In fact, the hardest job I have is decided who is the most evil of the week. It would much simpler if I had a sidekick to send up some kind of signal. The Recycle-Signal. “ Quick…to the environ-mobile!!! Must…fight…toxic waste! Come Leafboy let us be off to conquer the evil Dr. PCB!” It would be easy because my uniform would be earth tones and camouflage. The bad guys would never see me coming. I’d love to see the look of the US Congress-person’s faces when I showed up in that get-up.


Ontario Federation of Labour Honours Leonard Peltier
with Human Rights Award

Almost 26 years after his false extradition from Canada to the United States, Leonard Peltier was honoured on December 5, 2001 with the 2001 OFL Human Rights Award from the Ontario Federation of Labour. The province's federation of trade unions represents about 600,000 of the estimated 2.2 million unionized workers in Canada. Several hundred delegates from across the province as well as national labour representatives attended the OFL's 6th Biennial Convention in Toronto.

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American Indian Film Company Fighting Diabetes With Food.

Dallas, Texas, November 29, 2001- Rich-Heape Films and The Sovereign Nation Preservation Project fights against the Diabetes epidemic in the Native American community with their latest project: Conquering Diabetes Naturally- The American Indian Warrior Diet.

Diabetes has reached epidemic proportions among Native Americans. According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes will affect 16 million Americans, however the disease is more common in the Native American community. Nearly 10 percent of Native Americans and Alaska Natives ages 20 and above --some 65,000 people-- have diabetes; three times the rate for Non-Hispanic Whites. Diabetes, a chronic disease of high blood sugar caused by too little insulin, resistance to insulin, or both has no cure.


New MSU Grant Aimed at Maintaining Tribal Cultures

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

Starting this winter, 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.

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International Circle of Children Conference

My name is Edward Martin and I am the Conference Coordinator for the 1st International Circle of Children Conference - Intergenerational Effects of Residential School October 2003 to be held in Montreal

The purpose of this Conference is to honour, acknowledge, empower, and respect Residential School Survivors and the Children of Survivors. Over the next two years the development of this Conference will include a series of fund raising events that will educate, promote and build a healthy awareness of the effects. This Conference will address the legacy of physical, sexual and cultural abuse endured by many generations by focusing on the needs identified by Residential School Survivors and the Children of Survivors. Through unity and a sense of Nationhood, we anticipate building on the understanding of the effects of Residential School by including the rest of the Canadian society and the World in active participation of events prior to the Conference.


Internet Technology Logo Contest of the Atlantic Policy Congress

In the spring of 2001, Prime Minister Jean Chretien announced in the Throne Speech that the Government of Canada will work towards having high-speed Internet available in every community in Canada.

This initiative has been given to Industry Canada under Minister Brian Tobin who is to research the viability and costs of ensuring that every community in Canada has access to high-speed Internet and Broadband Technology.

We, the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs Secretariat Inc. want to ensure that the Mi'kmaq, Maliseet and Passamaquoddy communities throughout Atlantic Canada do not get left out of this project.

We need your help in naming this network, as well as designing a logo that will identify this network.

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In Every Issue Banner

About This Issue's Greeting - "Oonugwito"


The Quinault language is a branch of the Salishan language family. This Quinault
language was spoken by the Quinault, Queets and Copalis.


This Date In History


Recipe: Squirrel

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Story: How Tol-le-loo Stole Fire


What is this: White-footed Mouse

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Project: Ribbonwork-Part Two


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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