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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


February 9, 2002 - Issue 55


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"Hello! "




Photo of the first sunrise in Barrow, Alaska after SIXTY-SIX days of darkness.
courtesy of the town of Barrow, Alaska.


Kohmagi mashath

FEBRUARY - the gray month



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"A Warrior is challenged to assume responsibility, practice humility, and display the power of giving, and then center his or her life around a core of spirituality. I challenge today's youth to live like a warrior."
~Billy Mills~


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We Salute
Elizabeth Peratrovich

Alaska civil rights leaders Elizabeth Peratrovich and Howard Rock will be honored during the Elizabeth Peratrovich Day celebration on February 16, 2002 at the Alaska Native Heritage Center. Observances begin at 1:00 p.m. with an opening reception, which will be followed by a candle lighting ceremony by the members of the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Alaska Native Sisterhood, as well as a performance of "When My Spirit Raised Its Hands: The Story of Elizabeth Peratrovich and Alaska Civil Rights," featuring author and actor Diane E. Benson. In addition, speaker Emil Notti will honor Rock for his many contributions to Alaska Natives and civil rights, and an exhibit of Mr. Rock's paintings and drawings will be on display.

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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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Tsosie to get Medal!!!!!
U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., apologized on behalf of the U.S. Marine Corps to Navajo Code Talker David Tsosie, 79, in a phone call Friday from his Washington office. Bingaman told Tsosie, who listened on a speaker phone at his Bloomfield nursing home, that he would be getting the Congressional Code Talker Silver Medal.

"I apologize in their behalf for the confusion and the mistake caused by record keeping. Congratulations," Bingaman said, adding he looked forward to meeting Tsosie.

The Marine Corps verified Friday that Tsosie graduated from Navajo Code Talker School on Sept. 7, 1943, and was entitled to the award, Bingaman spokeswoman Jude McCartin said.

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Roscoe Patrick Pond

"I got my big break as a dancer, and I worked my way into acting because it was my big dream, to act. I really love it here in Hollywood, it was something I always wanted," said Roscoe smiling. Sitting outside on a breezy balcony in a restaurant at the Beverly Connection, a shopping center on the edge of Beverly Hills, Roscoe talked about his journey to Hollywood. Roscoe's life revolves around auditioning for (and getting some) acting roles, dancing and writing, while also working in an exciting new Southern California Indian Center (SCIC) Employment and Training (E&T) Program in audio/visual production. "It's been a long road, but it's been a really good learning experience," he said in his soft deep voice as he sipped some water.


Tsosie a Code Talker

SANTA FE - The state of New Mexico has officially recognized David W. Tsosie, 79, of Bloomfield, as a U.S. Marine Navajo Code Talker during a ceremony Tuesday on the Senate floor.

Tsosie received a decorated certificate signed by Gov. Gary Johnson and Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron. He also received a certificate from the New Mexico State Legislature, signed by Senate President Richard Romero and Sen. John Pinto, Sen. Leonard Tsosie - who is no relation - and senate clerk Margaret Larragiote. The state House of Representatives is also working on getting a certificate for Tsosie.

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Stories of Inspiration

SHONTO, Ariz. (Jan. 31, 2002) - Across the hallway from Rosie Dayzie's office at Shonto Preparatory School are letters written by students.

They congratulate and gave bits of advice for Dayzie who was selected to be an Olympic torchbearer.

She joins seven other Navajos who will carry the flame through her birthplace in Monument Valley. In all, a dozen people who have connections to the Navajo Nation were selected.

On Monday, Feb. 4, all eyes will be on the Navajo Nation when the torch relay comes through the northern portion of the reservation.


A Monumental Day

MOAB — The Olympic flame began its final ascent to Salt Lake City on a wing and a prayer as the sun rose over famed Delicate Arch early today.

Wearing a feathered war bonnet and full buckskin regalia, Frank Arrowchis carefully peered east across Arches National Park for the first rays to peek over the snow-capped LaSal Mountains. The Northern Ute sunrise ceremony passed down for generations must take place when the sun first appears, he explained earlier.

As the light illuminated the clear sky, Arrowchis said afterward that he offered a petition of protection and guidance for torchbearers, Olympians and the president of the United States.

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2002 Sports Warrior Boxing Team Tour

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - The Native American Sports Council (NASC), a member organization of the United States Olympic Committee (US0C), and group member of USA Boxing announced today its team members for competition in a three-city New England boxing tour. The team will be comprised of 10 Native American boxers representing six different American Indian Nations.

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation will kick-off the 2002 Sports Warrior Boxing Team Tour with a dual competition between the Native American Champions vs. Team Ireland Select, Tuesday, March 19 at Foxwoods' Fox Theater.


Cougar Shoots Down the Stereotypes

Francine McCurtain had come a long way from the days of shooting baskets on a dirt court in the heart of the Navajo Indian Reservation.

A freshman guard for Washington State, McCurtain found herself in the spotlight on Jan. 12 when the Cougars were in Arizona for a game against Arizona State. Playing in her home state for the first time since high school, she was introduced as a starter for the Cougars.

Cheers rose from the stands, a sign of pride from scores of Navajos who had trekked south from the reservation to see her play.

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Native Voices Are Heard At the Autry Museum of Western Heritage

Los Angeles, California - If your burning desire is to become an actor, screenwriter, director, or producer, you will probably find yourself on the road to Los Angeles, generally referred to as LA. Some people feel an irresistible magic and excitement in LA, for as everyone knows, it is the entertainment capital of the world.

It is said that Hollywood is a state-of-mind. A place where your dreams can become real-life adventures, mixed with sunshine, sandy beaches, palm trees, and possibilities. But the road isn’t always smooth, and after awhile, you may come to realize that your dreams of becoming an actor, writer, producer or director are filled with barriers - more for some than for others, it appears.


First Peoples TV Has Arrived

Something many of us have been hoping for has arrived. Finally, a nationwide television network that will give Americans a global perspectives on news, events and culture – “WorldLink TV.”

“WorldLink TV” premiered January 17th with a new weekly series by and about the tribal peoples of the world. The first program was Reason to Fear; The Cultural Defense of Hooty Croy. "First Peoples TV" will feature twenty-six award-winning documentaries and dramas focusing on the lives of contemporary Native and Aboriginal people and the issues they face.

"First Peoples TV" will be the first time a regularly scheduled TV series concerning tribal peoples will be accessible to all urban areas, including the territories of every Indigenous nation in the United States.

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Karuk Elder Keeps Culture Live Through Coyote's Tales

Charlie "Red Hawk" Thom has always had a special relationship with Coyote, a popular American Indian spirit teacher who has been around for more than 7, 000 years.

Thom, a 74-year-old Karuk elder from the Fort Jones/Klamath River area of Northern California, first met this wise and wild animal guide through tales his grandmother told when he was a boy.

"I was about 3 when I fell in love with Coyote and his stories," said the tribal leader who is a respected drummer, dancer, and singer. A ceremonial leader for his people, he is also a noted storyteller who keeps Coyote's tales alive.


Library Launches Native American Storytelling

About 70 Reno residents Saturday enjoyed a morning of culture and native Nevada history at the Northwest Reno library, where storytellers, poets and artists gathered for the library’s first Native American Storytelling program.

“It’s always hard to single out which programs will catch the public’s eye,” said Barbara Jaeck, programs librarian. “But obviously this one did.”

Children sat silently as storytellers like Judy Trejo, of Nixon, weaved tales for youngsters and other community members who attended the hour long event.

“I’m just here telling some stories,” Trejo said.

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Young Dancer Carries on Family's Hoop-Dance Tradition

Tony Duncan was just a toddler when he began learning a family tradition - the hoop dance.

Today, the 18-year-old is so good at it that he'll be trying to bring home the world title at the Heard Museum's 12th annual World Championship Hoop Dance Contest.

Hoop dancers from the United States and Canada will participate in this weekend's event. Some of the competitors include world champion Alex Wells of Alberta, Canada, and former world champions Derrick and Vincent Davies, brothers from Old Oraibi.


Lakota Dancers to Perform at Olympics

RAPID CITY — Lakota culture will be well represented during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. At least eight Black Hills area dancers/musicians are scheduled to perform during the Olympic games.

John Frazier of Spearfish will dance a traditional American Indian grass dance during the Olympic Games/Reebok Human Rights Awards on Feb. 7, at the Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake City. The official opening ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympics take place Friday.

Frazier, 25, was born in Rapid City and lived for a time on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation.

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Honor Indians

LINCOLN, Neb. - About this time last year, one of my Lakota uncles called me at work. He had an idea and wanted to talk about it.

My uncle is a tall, quiet, reserved man not given to small talk, so his phone call was memorable. He suggested I write a story encouraging the creation of a day that would honor the warriors, chiefs and peacemakers of our past. It was a good idea, I said, but unless someone was trying to make it happen it didn't leave much for me to report on.

I talked to my uncle again last week. He still hasn't given up his dream that we honor the indigenous leaders of yesteryear. "If it wasn't for them, we wouldn't be here," he said. "We should honor them for their fighting for the people, the land."

He continues to honor the great leaders in his own way, searching for their burial sites, praying in their memory.


Miss Navajo Nation Visits Preschool Center

BLUFFVIEW - Families with preschool age children can continue to look at positive things happening at the Little Feet Child Development Center, said Maschelle Torrez, the center's director.

Funding was obtained to hire the first ever full-time nurse for the center. In addition, construction on a new building is scheduled to begin this spring. To top that off, Miss Navajo Nation Jolyana Begay visited the children, parents and staff members during a family night at the center Friday.

Begay, 21, of Rabbitbrush, wearing her silver crown, silver and turquoise jewelry and traditional Navajo clothing, walked through the center and greeted everyone, repeating their names after the introductions so she would remember them. Rabbitbrush is five miles north of Ft. Defiance, Ariz., she said, just inside New Mexico.

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Gold-medal Runner Billy Mills Speaks in Advance of Torch Relay

Long before Billy Mills gave his inspiring talk on Friday morning at the Northern Hotel, he managed to touch the life of at least one young man in the audience.

A 1964 Olympic Gold medalist, Mills came to Billings to help kick off the events leading up to Monday’s arrival of the Olympic Torch. About 200 people came to the breakfast to hear Mills speak.

One of them, Matthew Flat Lip, a senior at Plenty Coups High School, arrived with his cross country teammates. This is the second year the Plenty Coups Warriors have taken the State C boys cross-country championship.


Student Letters Help Make Thorpe Cereal-box Champ

DALE — Students at J.D. Jackson Elementary School in Dale think they are among the hundreds of young letter writers who persuaded General Mills to put Jim Thorpe’s likeness on Wheaties cereal boxes.

Grace Thorpe, 80, daughter of the legendary Oklahoma-born athlete, says the Dale students may be right.

Thorpe of Prague said officials with Wheaties’ maker, General Mills, told her the large number of letters they received from Dale students was the deciding factor in picking her father to be a Wheaties champion.

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Indigenous Language Institute Celebrates 2001 Accomplishments

(NEW MEXICO) -- The Indigenous Language Institute (ILI) continues to build upon its reputation as the country’s premier nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving, protecting and perpetuating endangered Native American Languages.

“2001 was a banner year for ILI in many important ways,” said ILI President Gerald L. Hill, Oneida. “Grassroots collaborations in Native communities, a variety of language programs, and ongoing activities related to our international clearinghouse of language information continue to further ILI’s goals.”

Ongoing program collaborations include Regional Training Workshops with the Oklahoma Native Language Association (ONLA), to provide practical, hands-on training in Oklahoma and Florida.

“We continue to see an increase in the number of community-based language programs, as well as strengthening of our existing ones,” said Hill.


Wings of America

Eleven thousand five hundred Americans, including a number of Indian people, are carrying the flame as the Olympic Torch Relay travels 13,000 miles through 46 states. Several of the Torchbearers are associated with the Indian youth development program, Wings of America.

Devan Lomayaoma, Wings runner, and Anne Wheelock Gonzales, Wings Associate Director, have been selected to carry the Olympic Flame in Arches National Park in Utah on February 4.

Wheelock Gonzales nominated Lomayaoma as an inspiration for Indian youth in recognition of his running accomplishments, successful transition to college, and community work with children. Lomayaoma is a 19-year-old Hopi-Tewa from Polacca, AZ. A six-time state track and cross-country champ, he now attends and runs for Central Arizona College. He has been a top runner on the Wings teams for three years and has served as a Wings Running and Fitness Camp presenter, volunteer coach, and positive role model for Indian youth. He was chosen by the Olympic Torch Committee and placed in an "inspiring pairs" category.

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Cherokee Wins Gates Scholarship

Brandon Morrell had no idea Bill Gates would choose him.

A freshman at the University of Tulsa, Morrell had already received five scholarships to attend college. He planned to attend the University of Oklahoma, but he switched to TU at the last minute to stay close to home in Berryhill.

"I didn't want to live on campus," he said of OU's policy that all freshmen live on campus their first year. "I'm really involved with my church."

But the bills to attend the private university would begin piling up, and Morrell quickly applied for and received student loans. His big surprise came last October.


An Arctic Law School Tailored to Native Needs

TORONTO - A few years ago, Aaju Peter, an Inuit mother of five who lives in Canada's Arctic, would never have dreamed of entering the legal profession. Now, thanks to an innovative new program in the country's newest territory of Nunavut, she and 14 other future Inuit lawyers have completed their first semester at law school.

Many native people who go to the southern part of Canada to study end up dropping out because of culture shock and language difficulties. So the organizers of the new Akitsiraq Law School in Iqaluit, Nunavut, tried a different approach: They brought the school to the students, instead of the other way around.

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Defenders of Wildlife Essay Contests for Kids

MONTEREY, Calif. -- Students in grades 6 through 8 will get a chance to do something positive for the threatened California sea otter in an essay contest announced today by Defenders of Wildlife. Writing on the topic "Why the Sea Otter is Important to California," student essayists will compete for first, second and third place prizes of $1,000, $500, and $250 savings bonds. Defenders has also developed new sea otter lesson plans that are available free to teachers, to compliment this initiative.

"This essay contest will really help to raise middle school students' awareness about this important animal and how the sea otter impacts other species in the ecosystem off California’s coast," said Jim Curland, a Marine Associate with Defenders of Wildlife’s Monterey office.


Labels for Education

The Labels for Education programs trades labels from specific products for educational equipment (PCs, AV-equipment, etc.). The Puyallup Tribal School, Chief Leschi, is a participant in the program.

There's an extra need for labels now due to the recent earthquake in Washignton State. The tribal headquarters building has been red- tagged and the infra-structure of the tribe is scrambling to find places to get back into business. This is particularly significant because the building itself is one that was 'occupied' by the Puyallup and was the beginning of rebuilding our land base. It had first been an Indian hospital...a four-story brick monster. Then it became a TB hospital and later Cascadia...a juvenile jail. Washington State decided it was too costly to operate and maintain and decided to sell it.

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Alaska Native Woman Wins Distinguished Service Award

(Seattle, WA) Martha Flores, an Alaska Native Physician Assistant (PA-C) recently was awarded the 2002 Distinguished Service Award from MEDEX Northwest, the University of Washington’s Physician Assistant Training Program.

Flores, a 1991 alumni of MEDEX Northwest, currently serves as a PA for the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation, located in Bethel, Alaska. She provides urgent care, emergency, and clinic services to community members and is a representative to the YK Medical Staff Executive Committee. She also is the Vice President of the Alaska Physician Assistants Academy.


Nancy Ward Cherokee Heritage Days 2002

Nancy Ward Cherokee Heritage Days is an educational event for K-12 age children and their parents, educators or youth leaders. The event features two duplicate days of activities with demonstrators/teachers recommended by staff of the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in Cherokee, NC, and who are members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, making this the most unique event in the State of Tennessee. Activities include traditional foods, oral traditions, social songs and dances, lifeways (traditional culture), technologies (arts and crafts), language, a self-guided museum tour, and a presentation on stereotypes and contemporary Cherokee culture.

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In Every Issue Banner

About This Issue's Greeting - "Posoh"


In most respects Menominee is a typical Algonquian language. Menominee has six vowels rather than the usual four, and has complex rules governing vowel length, but otherwise the sound system is similar to Ojibwa, Mesquakie (Fox) and Shawnee. The vocabulary is also similar to the neighboring languages; especially, most Menominee words will have an exact equivalent in Potawatomi and Ojibwa. The noun inflections are similar to other Algonquian languages, but Menominee has a number of verb inflections not found in the other languages, and consequently some sentences are put together in a different way than in Ojibwa or Mequakie.


This Date In History


Recipe: Wild Duck

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Story: How Ducks Got Their Fine Feathers


What is this: Wood Ducks

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Project: Regalia - Headgear - Part One


This Issue's Web sites

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"OPPORTUNITIES" is gathered 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, 2002 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.


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