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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


February 23, 2002 - Issue 55


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Siberian Yupik


"We Welcome You! "


 Spring Flight by Benjamin Chee Chee






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"Think not forever of yourselves, O chiefs, nor of your own generation. Think of continuing generations of our families, think of our grandchildren and of those yet unborn, whose faces are coming from beneath the ground. "
~Peacemaker, Founder of the Iroquois Confederacy circa 1000 AD~


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We Salute
John Herrington

U.S. Navy Commander. John Herrington has hunted Russian submarines, broken the sound barrier and will soon be the first American Indian in space.

But one basic question kept arising during his visits with students Tuesday in Lodge Grass.

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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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Special Announcement
"Sharpen your pencils! We're excited to announce that Canku Ota is teaming up with Peace Party for an art contest coming in the next issue. The winners in each age group will receive prizes including the PEACE PARTY Native-themed comic books. This should be a great opportunity for you to stretch your imagination and have fun too."

Duane Allen Humeyestewa

Just back from the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, where his film Running On Indian Time premiered; exuberant young filmmaker, Duane Allen Humeyestewa said, "The experience was a huge success!" Exhausted, but energized from the positive responses he received after his film was seen by a packed audience, he proclaimed, "The whole experience was overwhelming, but positive" and that he was "ready for the next movie."

With a challenging schedule of going back and forth from California to New Mexico he only finished filming last November. The film was accepted for the Sundance Film Festival at the end of November, the editing was done by December, the sound finished in January, and then he left for Sundance January 8th. Quite a whirlwind!


A Part of History-Five rings, Five Nations

Inside Rice-Eccles Olympic Stadium in Salt Lake City, more than 65,000 people braved the cool, winter air.

Outside the stadium, just as many gathered to be a part of the historic event. For the Native American tribes in Utah, it was an event more treasured because it was the first time all five tribes have joined together for an international event.

The event was the most watched Olympic opening ceremony in history. Nearly 72 million television viewers watched the event in the Unites States and 3.5 billion worldwide.

About 600 of the 3,800 performers in the ceremony were Native Americans.

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News and Views Banner

SunUte Community Center Exceeds Goals

IGNACIO,CO - Two months ago, Nathan Cloud was a self-proclaimed "couch potato." The 388-pound Southern Ute tribal member would not even walk down the road to get his newspaper.

But with Ignacio's SunUte Community Center now in full swing, Cloud exercises daily. He has dropped 19 pounds.

"I've been doing this every day since the second week in December," he said, taking a rest after working his muscles on a weight machine Wednesday afternoon.


Day Care is Trendsetter for Navajo Nation

Navajo, NM - A day care center in this tiny community has become a trend setter on the Navajo Nation, pulling millions of dollars in grants in the last decade and become a model for other day care centers on the reservation.

"The tribe wants to privatize its day care center services," Marsha Smith said, "and they tell the people who are running those centers to look at Little Folks.

Smith is the director of Little Folks Daycare, Preschool & Community Services, a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1991 in space provided by Shepherd of Lutheran Valley Mission.

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2nd American Indian Journalism Institute Seeks Student Nominations

VERMILLION, SD— The Freedom Forum will fully fund and run an academic journalism program for American Indian college students again this summer, and the University of South Dakota will award four hours of college credit to graduates of the three-week course.

The American Indian Journalism Institute will offer 25 Native American students the opportunity to train as newspaper reporters, editors and photographers. The institute will be June 2-21 at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion. To be eligible, students must be enrolled in a college and must have completed their freshman year. They also should be able to provide proof of tribal enrollment or lineage.


Indian Business, Entrepreneurship, and Supporting Each Other

“Any kind of positive eye-opening experience is so beneficial to a young mind and their development, that's what encouraged me! So we try to make those kinds of opportunities available,” said Paula Starr (Cheyenne-Arapaho), the vibrant Executive Director of the Southern California Indian Center (SCIC) headquartered in Orange County. Paula resolutely believes in the importance of “lifeplanning. Whether you use this agency or another agency, use us! That’s what we’re here for. We're here for the community, to provide whatever assistance we can,” she said passionately. Paula was born in Oklahoma. “We were part of the Relocation. My parents moved from OK in the late 50's, so I grew up in LA County, and went back and forth. By the time I was in high school and college at UCLA (University of California Los Angeles), things changed.”

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Idaho Students May Learn Indian Languages

Boise, ID - Legislation to allow the state and tribes to cooperate on the teaching of Indian languages in Idaho schools was introduced in the Senate on Friday.

"I think it's just a small piece of what we can do to work together for the state and for the tribes," said Rep. Hilde Kellogg, R-Post Falls, a co-sponsor.

The bill was developed in the Indian Affairs Council, a committee whose membership includes state lawmakers and officials of Idaho's Indian tribes. It allows tribes to designate people who are qualified to teach their native language and allows a school district to have those individuals teach a class. The language teachers could not teach any other subject unless they obtained regular teaching certifications.


Begaye's Indian Education Act Passes New Mexico House

SANTA FE, NM - The New Mexico House of Representatives voted unanimously Wednesday to pass the "Indian Education Act" sponsored by Rep. Ray Begaye, D-Shiprock.

The legislation, House Bill 28, would identify and correct the disadvantages faced by American Indian students in New Mexico's public schools and would ensure maintenance of native languages.

Begaye cited the bill as a landmark piece of legislation that will dramatically change educational opportunities for Native American children, and for present and future teachers and administrators in New Mexico.

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Light the Arctic Flame

For the first time, Greenland and Nunavut will host Arctic Winter Games, the largest sports and cultural event in the Arctic region. Almost 2,000 athletes will meet to compete, form contacts and make friends across the boundaries of nationality and culture. However, the host towns of Iqaluit and Nuuk also have another mission: to show that we are a high tech part of the global community, capable of organising international events of high standards.


Wings of America Cross Country Teams Take First and Second in USA

The Wings of America national cross-country teams competed at the 2002 USA Winter National Championships February 9 & 10 in Vancouver, WA. The Wings junior women captured the team title in their event, and the junior men were awarded 2nd place following a tie for 1st.

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Three Indian Teens Face Challenge of Saving Heritage

Atlanta Braves. Jeep Cherokee. Indianapolis Indians. Tippecanoe County. Florida Seminoles.

When you hear these names in everyday speech, do you think about the connection they have to American Indian culture?

Though references to their heritage are widespread, American Indians must work to preserve their history. Recently Y-Press talked with George Kanesta, 15, and Angel Boone, 17, from the Zuni reservation in New Mexico, and Peggy Balog, 18, a Cherokee from Amelia, Ohio. All spoke about the challenge of preserving their heritage.


Telling Indian Stories

An elder speaks, recalling the place where tribal members once dug for camas bulbs.

A computer screen displays the countryside and a basket used for collecting the camas.

A student rotates the basket on the screen, studying the design, perhaps looking for the imperfection deliberately left by the weaver.

Without leaving the classroom, the sixth-grader has shared an experience from generations ago.

By next fall, such experiences could be common in regional classrooms.

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Nooksack Program Revives a Nearly Extinct Language

DEMING, WA - Quentin Charlie admits his mouth didn't take quickly to forming the complex, singsong words of his grandmother's language.

"I was afraid I was saying it wrong and it would make her mad," he said.

But he kept going to the Nooksack Tribe's Upriver Halq'emeylem language classes. And though the language was nearly extinct 30 years ago, he now can say greetings and recite the alphabet.


Tribe to Revive Nearly Lost Language

MASHANTUCKET, CT - For 364 years, the Pequot language has been lying dormant, the result of the 1638 Treaty of Hartford that forbade tribal members from speaking their language.

But the language is not extinct, Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Councilor Charlene Jones said. "I believe it needs the breath of life in order to live and thrive like the community is thriving today," she said.

To do this, Jones and the tribal nation's Historical and Cultural Preservation Committee are hosting "Revitalizing the Algonquian Languages," a conference that will feature a number of respected scholars.

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It Will Be OK ... Everything Will Be OK

Several months have now passed since the loss of friends in NYC. Sadly they remain lost amongst the rubble. It seems the spirit of who I once was also remains distant. There seems to be no focus left in my walk and as a ship without a rudder my heart is at the mercy of the winds blowing across the waters.

I look deep into myself to remember the lessons I was taught and still have only seen the surface of. I question who I am. Time passes and land struggles drag on here as all across Indian Country. I thought the deepest blow to my heart is the coming loss of forest land from the mountain that is my heart. Prayers and ceremony were done for my mother. Things this dominant culture has no clue about.


Activists Carry Torch for Peace Flame from Hiroshima Travels U.S.

Just 23 days after the Olympic torch passed through the Bay Area, another revered flame has arrived here -- one that burns with a far darker past and a brighter hope for the future.

The "Hiroshima Flame" - kindled 57 years ago from embers of the atomic bombing of Japan - entered San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge yesterday morning as it slowly wends its way across America.

Its escorts are a diverse group: a seemingly indefatigable Japanese nun who's walked across the United States four times, a Native American elder from Massachusetts, an idealistic 15-year-old girl from Honolulu, and others united in the hope that their unusual spiritual pilgrimage will foster world peace.

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Thoughts of Bison Roaming Wild and Free Over the Land

PICURIS PUEBLO, NM - "The government used the bison to take land away from Indian people, now we want to use the bison to acquire the land back for ourselves. That's our goal. We'd like to see the bison roaming again. Strong herds, not just little ranch herds, we want to see wild herds. They are good for the land."

Before the bright rays of sunshine appear over Picuris Peak in Northern New Mexico to warm the secluded valley where the Pueblo of Picuris sits, Danny Sam, the Bison Manager, has already begun his day amongst the Pueblos herd of 25 bison; make that 26.


Cherokee Nation Offers Career Services Classes

TAHLEQUAH, OK - The Cherokee Nation Career Services group offers classes to prepare Native American students for jobs that are in high demand. The Career Services group offers students training in three disciplines and assistance with job placement after completion of the courses.

"We average about 90% successful placement ratio once students complete the program," said Ken Foster, Vocational Education Specialist.

The three areas currently offered are Business Technology, Childcare, and A+ Computer Training.

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Fry Bread Class a Hit

KIRTLAND, NM - Novices in the fry bread making class at San Juan College West Thursday left with the feeling their fee was well-spent.

Helen Benally, along with her assistant Cora Goldtooth, both of Shiprock, treated the 10 non-Native American students who made up the class to step-by step preparation from mixing the ingredients to making the dough and frying it.

She gave students an option of making the fry bread out of white flour, whole wheat or blue cornmeal.


MSU Powwow Highlights Fun, Indian Culture and Tradition

EAST LANSING, MI - They were decorated in feathers, beads and brightly colored ribbons, moving to the pounding drums and echoing chants.

They traveled from across the country to celebrate their traditions, visit with friends and just have fun.

"I'm just here to dance," said Lisa Fisher, of Grand Rapids.

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Lessons in the Oneida Way

The 20 pupils in Maryellen Miller's fourth-grade class at Canastota's Roberts Street Elementary School listened to Oneida Indian storyteller Debbie Ninham relate the legend of the no-face doll.

The legend teaches of the dangers of vanity. It's about a doll who thought herself superior to other dolls until a hawk stole her reflection from a pond, leaving her with no face.

A few minutes later, the children were in a nearby room making their own no-face dolls from corn husks and string. Justin Rossi said his doll looked like a scarecrow.


"Upward Bound" At Hopi

POLACCA, AZ – Hopi High School students and their parents came together during a recent dinner to praise the Upward Bound and Educational Talent Search programs that serves these students. Jineane Horace, a freshman, said based on what she learned in Upward Bound she hopes to become a surgical technologist.

Sunnirae Suqnevahya, a freshman, said Upward Bound teaches that there is life after high school, so students should learn how to take responsibility and communicate. She is considering several fields including social work, speech therapy or elementary school teacher. "Schools on Hopi need more teachers," she said.

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A Time to Heal and Rejoice

NENANA, AK - Saturday's Nenana potlatch to honor incoming Doyon Ltd. president Orie Williams had two extra, unexpected meanings.

One was to help bring healing to the people of Northway, who buried Rosemarie Maher, William's predecessor who died unexpectedly last July.

The potlatch also allowed the people of Nenana to rejoice. The community has had a series of funeral potlatches in the last several years.

"Generally these occasions have been more solemn," said Jack Irwin, first chief of Nenana Native Council. "This is a chance for celebration."

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In Every Issue Banner

About This Issue's Greeting - "Quyakamsi"


Siberian Yupik is spoken in the two St. Lawrence Island villages of Gambell and Savoonga. The language of St. Lawrence Island is nearly identical to the language spoken across the Bering Strait on the tip of the Siberian Chukchi Peninsula. The total Siberian Yupik population in Alaska is about 1,100, and of that number about 1,050 speak the language. Children in both Gambell and Savoonga still learn Siberian Yupik as the first language of the home. Of a population of about 900 Siberian Yupik people in Siberia, there are about 300 speakers, although no children learn it as their first language. Although much linguistic and pedagogical work had been published in Cyrillic on the Siberian side, very little was written for St. Lawrence Island until the 1960s when linguists devised a modern orthography. Researchers at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks revised that orthography in 1971, and since then a wide variety of curriculum materials, including a preliminary dictionary and a practical grammar, have become available for the schools.


This Date In History


Recipe: Unusual Meals

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Story: How Skunk Got His Scent


What is this: Striped Skunk

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Project: Regalia - Headgear - Part Two


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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