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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


March 23, 2002 - Issue 57


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'O si yo "


The Cherokee Greeting - pronounced



"Hello.", "Hi.", "How are you?", "How are things?"


 Bear - Catching Fish






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"The caribou is not just what we eat, but who we are. It is in our dances, stories, songs and the whole way we see the world. Caribou is how we get from one year to the other."
– Sarah James, The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA), March 18, 2001


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We Salute
Jiles Pourier

People who know Jiles Pourier might not be surprised to hear that the 16-year-old Eagle Butte boy is an honor student at a prestigious Massachusetts boarding school.

Friends know Jiles is persistent. He always has been one to set his sights on something and make it happen, whether it was perfect school attendance, a trampoline trick or a top test score.

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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 are excited to announce that Canku Ota is teaming up with Peace Party for an art contest!!

The winners in each age group will receive prizes including the Peace Party Native-themed comic books. And, you can have your art displayed on our "Kid's Pages".
This should be a great opportunity for you to stretch your imagination and have fun too."

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Robert Davidson

ROBERT DAVIDSON is one of Canada’s most respected and important contemporary artists. A Northwest Coast native of Haida descent, he is a master carver of totem poles and masks and works in a variety of other media as a printmaker, painter and jeweler. He is also a leading figure in the renaissance of Haida art and culture. Robert Davidson is best known as an impeccable craftsman whose creative and personal interpretation of traditional Haida form is unparalleled.


Juvenile Injustice

Juvenile corrections experts, youth advocates and tribal members from across South Dakota were pleased by a recent juvenile court decision that moved Adelia Godfrey, a 17 year old Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota youth from a windowless cell in the basement of the Grant County, SD jail to a juvenile facility in Fargo, ND. Many people watching juvenile justice issues are questioning how the Indian youth, whose arguably most serious crime was a traffic incident, could be facing 30 years in an adult prison.

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Tuba City Lady Warriors Third Straight Year As 3A State Basketball CHAMPS!

With 45 seconds left in the state championship game, Tuba City's Lady Warriors blew past the Seton Catholic Lady Sentinels for a 42-32 win, making this an unprecedented third straight title win for the largest native school district in Northern Arizona. Jayme Lomakema was the scoring leader for the Lady Warriors with 17 points, trailed by Nicole Tsingine with 13 points. Defense was the key-winning element for this unstoppable girls varsity team.


Belknap Celebrates Its Heroes

FORT BELKNAP RESERVATION, MT - Goodwill reverberated even louder than the pulsing drums and soaring songs as Fort Belknap treated its basketball players to a royal homecoming Monday night.

Hundreds gathered at the reservation's bingo hall to celebrate the weekend's double victory on the court.

While the Harlem Wildcats were winning the Class B title in Great Falls Saturday, the Hays-Lodgepole Thunderbirds, from the south side of the reservation, were wrapping up Class C honors in Butte.

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Kids Show off Skills at Cherokee Language Bowl

TAHLEQUAH, OK - Sunshine, a field-trip and pizza - three things to guarantee success for students participating in the Cherokee Language Bowl at the Cherokee Nation tribal complex in Tahlequah.

Seventy-five students from seven schools have competed so far in the first annual event sponsored by the Cherokee Nation's Johnson O'Malley Program. Designed to challenge JOM students in grades K-12 to learn the Cherokee language, the competition involves a panel moderated by bilingual staff members and others who use flash-cards, one-on-one word play and a unique device that reads Cherokee words from a card and plays them back out loud. It is an interactive teaching method that rewards students for forming teams and studying Cherokee, and provides immense satisfaction for adults who have lived through many changes in Indian education.


Bayfield H.S. Team Competes in Native American Quiz Bowl

Imagine having five seconds to answer the following question: What is the shape of a molecule that has four identical pairs of electrons in hybrid orbitals?

Uh, time's up, do you have your answer? Bayfield High School student Katrina Werchouski does. It's "tetrahedron."

Werchouski was one of six Bayfield High School students who recently attended the Native American Science Quiz Bowl in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Teams of Native American students from across the country met at Colorado College for a two day showdown of their knowledge in astronomy, biology, chemistry, computer science, earth science, general science, mathematics and physics.

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Duck Island

On my path in life I was surrounded by two different cultures.

My mother was of the dominant culture.

I honored my mother's wishes and attended a Christian church regularly through my late teens. I listened to the stories and sang the songs. For me there was something missing in my heart. The hole remained and my quest to fill it continued.


Handling Racism With Grace

Chuck Archambault is used to people staring at him in public. He's used to comments about his long ponytail. He's become patient in answering the same questions about his heritage over and over from non-natives. As a talented athlete and a role model in the Indian community, he understands that people are curious, ignorant and sometimes racist.

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Health Exec Helps to Bridge Cultures

Leland Leonard always wanted to escape from Navajo land, but he couldn't quiet the demons that forced him to battle substance abuse.

Today the 49-year-old is chief executive officer of the Phoenix Indian Center, one of the largest urban Indian centers in America.

What got him there?


A Champion of Indian Causes

Looking at a map marking every American Indian reservation in the United States, 34-year-old attorney Wayne Shammel points to the scattered red dots and wonders at the scarcity and distance between these places he calls "Indian Country."

A commitment to his own ancestry and the well-being of these tribes prompted Shammel to champion their causes using Indian law.

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Efforts Under Way to Preserve Karuk Language

With roughly eight fluent speakers of its language remaining, the Karuk Tribe is gathering its resources to keep its tongue from slipping into history.

Protected from settler influence more so than most of California's tribes during the 1800s, the tribe has managed to preserve its language in ceremonies and songs, but few fluent speakers remain, a problem that may cause the language to dwindle and die.


Tribes’ Ceremony Honors C’waam

Saturday morning amid snow flurries and swirling smoke from a campfire, elders of the Klamath Tribes blessed suckers in a ceremony honoring the fish.

Tribal members gathered on the bank of the Sprague River in Chiloquin for the annual rite, which celebrates the return of the suckers, known as “c’waam” and pronounced “tchwam” by the Tribes. The ceremony recognizes the fish as an important food source when winter supplies were depleted and a vital part of the ecosystem, said tribal spokeswoman Taylor Tupper.

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Tribe's Bet on Future Pays Off

"I've always felt that I was a valuable person, but it didn't show that on paper," said Auld, who's now majoring in accounting at Gonzaga University. "I went back to school to know that I accomplished something with my life."

Auld, a Kalispel Indian who lives on the reservation near Usk, Wash., would never have pursued a bachelor's degree if she hadn't received support from the Camas Institute.

Established about a year ago with profits from Northern Quest Casino, the Camas Institute is a chartered entity of the Kalispel Tribe.


Sedona Students Get Educated Hopi-Style

In 1942, a globally thinking couple, Hamilton and Barbara Warren, who originally met in Guatemala, came to Arizona and together with the assistance of skilled Hopi construction workers created a private school in Sedona.

The school, known as the Verde Valley School originally started with 16 students and a handful of teachers and artists. VVS was and is committed to creating a school that would foster an environment that would promote the mission of "learning to live and think as world citizens so we can help the world toward peace."

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Students Put Twist on Mascots

Indian students in Colorado have turned the tables in a debate on racism by naming their intramural basketball team "The Fighting Whities."

The students, at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, chose a white man as a mascot after failing to persuade nearby Eaton High School to drop a nickname they say offends them.

"The message is, let's do something that will let people see the other side of what it's like to be a mascot," said Solomon Little Owl, director of Native American Student Services at UNC.


Fightin' Whities Gain National Attention

Solomon Little Owl hasn't had much rest since Monday.

That's when the national media began calling about his University of Northern Colorado intramural basketball team named The Fightin' Whities.

Since then, Little Owl, team member and leader of UNC's Native American Student Services, has answered phone calls from talk shows and news organizations around the country.

"The attention is overwhelming," Little Owl said. "It's gone beyond all of our intentions."

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Program Motivates Indian Students to Pursue Success

Valerie Tanner has seen Indian students give up on education. Of her 80-some high school classmates, only two went to college.

She was one of them.

"My father told me 'You get an education and work for your people,' '' said Tanner, 36, an enrolled member of the Leech Lake Band of Chippewa.

That's what Tanner was doing Thursday, addressing American Indian high school students at a steps-to-success program at the Fond du Lac Reservation's Brookston Center.


Salt River Tribe Breaks Ground on State-of-the-art School

The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community broke ground on a $21 million state-of-the-art school Friday that is being paid for with casino revenues.

Tribal Council Member Leonard Rivers called it an historic day as he stood on the school site facing Red Mountain as clouds whipped across the sky.

"We are taking a big step in our community," he said.

The new junior high-high school is significant because few Indian tribes in the United States have built their own schools, Education Director Franklin Berry said.

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Shiprock Native Wants to Race in NASCAR

He's a visionary who wants to change his stars.

Standford Benally, 30, hopes to shatter cultural stereotypes Native Americans face by being the first full-blooded Navajo to become a NASCAR driver.

"I want to drive the vehicle for my Navajo people," he said.


Symphony Trio Plays for Students

Savannah Jensen and Dotian Levalier live in different worlds, but the two found a common bond Friday in music.

Savannah, sporting pigtails and a "Miss Perfect" T-shirt, listened attentively with others in the audience as Levalier, principal harpist of the National Symphony Orchestra, performed with fellow members of The Unlikely Trio at Red Cloud Indian School.

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Healy Musher Honored as Doyon Citizen of the Year

Shortly after Ramy Brooks graciously accepted the Doyon Ltd. Citizen of the Year Award Friday he headed for the door.

But before the Healy dog musher could clear the hallway outside the Westmark Gold Room he was intercepted by well-wishers and an invitation by elder Richard Frank to speak to the children at the Minto school. He quickly accepted.

But Brooks had something else to do first.

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In Every Issue Banner

About This Issue's Greeting - "O SI YO"


Linguists tell us that Cherokee is a branch of the Iroquoian language family, related to Cayuga, Seneca, Onondaga, Wyandot-Huron, Tuscarora, Oneida and Mohawk. Linguists believe that the Cherokee migrated from the Great Lakes area to the Southeast over three thousand years ago.

Cherokees are the only Native American People who possess a writing system equivalent to the European alphabet


This Date In History


Recipe: Shrimp

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Story: The Eagle and the Snake


What is this: Bald Eagle

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Project: Regalia - Outerwear - Abenaki and Chippewa


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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