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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


August 24 , 2002 - Issue 68


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"Neenjit dagoonch'uu"


The Gwich'in Greeting


"How Are You?"


Geese Taking Flight






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We Salute
Ted Hibbeler

Ted Hibbeler curbed a soaring Native American high school dropout rate in the Valley's urban school district using knowledge from his Lakota Sioux background.

He moved to Phoenix from Nebraska a decade ago to work in the Native American Education Program for the Phoenix Union High School District.

What he saw shocked him.

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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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The Girls of Rez Dog Clothing Company 2003

"These girls are so gorgeous this is going to rival Sports Illustrated," said Mary DeHaas, co-producer of the Rez Dog calendar. "People are going to be pleasantly surprised and impressed."

After a 9-month model search, "Rez Dog Clothing Company," American Indian Apparel, announces its choice of 12 models for their Premiere Edition of "The Girls of Rez Dog Clothing Company 2003" swimsuit calendar sponsored by the Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Oklahoma.


Cherokee Nation Welcomes Woman to Highest Court

TAHLEQUAH -- The "Cherokee renaissance" that Principal Chief Chad Smith promised in his inauguration speech three years ago continued this week when the Cherokee Nation swore in its first female justice. Stacy Leeds, a 30-year-old law professor from Muskogee, is a member of the Cherokee Nation's highest court, the Judicial Appeals Tribunal, after taking her oath on the tribal courthouse steps Thursday in downtown Tahlequah.

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The Legend of the Dragon’s Tail - Part 2
by Geoff Hampton

Writer Geoff Hampton shares this story that should delight both young and old.


Teaching Tolerance for Parents - Ten Steps
A project by Southern Poverty Law Center

In the next issues of Canku Ota, we are going to share ideas with you about learning and teaching tolerance. Perhaps this will inspire you to come up with your own ideas to share.

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News and Views Banner

Indian Voyage Echoes History

TISBURY, MA - It probably hasn't happened in more than a century - crossing Vineyard Sound in a dugout canoe. Yesterday, nine men and one woman ventured out in two mishoonash, the plural of mishoon, the native name for these vessels, from a beach under Nobska Light for a seven-mile paddle to Tashmoo Beach in Vineyard Haven.

The re-creation of the historic voyage, using the only means of transportation connecting mainland and island Wampanoag tribe communities hundreds of years ago, was planned by the staff of the Wampanoag Indian Program at Plimoth Plantation, where the canoes were made using the ancient technique of their ancestors.


24 Canoes and Thousands of Indians Nearing Taholah

TAHOLAH, WA - As the misty ocean fog cleared this morning, members of the Quinault Indian Nation began last - minute preparations for a celebration that has been four years in the making.

Thousands of Indians from tribes in Washington, Canada and Alaska are making their way to Taholah this weekend for the 2002 Paddle to Quinault.

About 2,000 were expected to converge this afternoon on the tiny village of Queets, north of Taholah on the Quinault Reservation.

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Elwha Teens Follow Ancestors' Steps

The Lower Elwha Klallam people historically traveled a trade and marriage route through the Olympic Mountains to reach the Quinault and other tribes.

Now a group of Lower Elwha youth has retraced those steps to learn about their ancestors.

Eight 14-year-olds and four adults reached the North Fork Quinault River a week ago after hiking close to 50 miles past the Elwha River headwaters and ancient campground sites.


Crow Girls' Winning Science Project is Not the Last Straw

CROW AGENCY, MT – On a blistering morning in late July, four young girls sit on a stage in the town park, smiling and sweltering in heavy dresses trimmed with elk teeth.

In English and the Crow language, one speaker after another calls them symbols of hope for the Crow tribe. "We have just met the next generation of tribal leaders," says Crow chairman Clifford Birdinground Jr.

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Navajo Tale of Hope Inspires Young Men

Verna Clinton's father seemed to have known that his daughter would grow up to be a teacher and storyteller. And so he filled her life with stories, from early childhood on until his passing.

She never wrote anything he ever said, but she remembered it all.

"Ashkii's Journey" — Clinton's latest book —is a story of a post-Bosque Redondo youth, orphaned at an early age but trained by his grandparents into the life of a medicine man. Before he could come of age, Ashkii lost both grandparents as well and found himself facing very grown up problems.


Tribe's Golf Tournament to Aid Reading Program

BEAUMONT, CA - A San Bernardino school district program that promotes reading among young children will be getting help from putters during an Aug. 26 charity golf tournament.

Proceeds from the fourth annual San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino Charity Golf Tournament will benefit the City of Readers program. The program, founded in 1997, encourages reading for fun and information through the use of tutors, family reading festivals, spelling contests and other means.

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Crow Fair a Family Affair

CROW AGENCY, MT - Ruben Little Head Jr. slept through his first Crow Fair Powwow intertribal dance.

The 8-month-old nestled into his dad's shoulder Friday afternoon as Ruben Little Head Sr. made the rounds in the dance.

"This is his first year and that's why I danced with him the first intertribal," Little Head said. "Even though he's asleep, it's culture and he's out there."

So was little Ruben's brother, 4-year-old Xavier, who is a fancy dancer.


Aboriginal Games Thrill for Stevens

It may not have been the Olympic Games, but for Daina Stevens, it felt like it.

The former Ontario collegiate cross-country star has had a dream for many years of competing among her cultural peers and a couple of weeks ago got her chance at the North American Indigenous Games in Winnipeg.

"It was the biggest thrill I've ever experienced in my life," said Stevens, 27, the 1996-97 OCAA cross-country champion when she attended Cambrian College in Sudbury. "I've never actually been so nervous before at a competition."

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The Sovereignty Run

The Sovereignty Run is a cross-country relay spanning twelve states, beginning in Washington State on September 11, 2002 and ending in Washington D.C. on October 7, 2002. The primary goals of the Sovereignty Run are to unite tribes and tribal supporters throughout Indian Country; to create sovereignty awareness and support on a national level; and to raise over $1,000,000 for the Tribal Sovereignty Protection Initiative.


Tribes Fight to Keep Native Culture Alive

Indian tribes that once made their homes on protected Puget Sound coves or along rivers tumbling out of the Cascades have disappeared.

Some others are barely hanging on.

The Gig Harbor Tribe is gone.

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Mescalero Schools Mark Grand Opening of Large New Building

U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici and National Indian Gaming Association Chairman Ernest Stevens Jr. joined Mescalero Tribal President Sara Misquez and the Mescalero Tribal Council Monday in inaugurating a new 218,000-square-foot school, which will open for classes next week.


In North Dakota, Spell her Name 'Sakakawea'

The Three Affiliated Tribes in New Town, N.D., are considering changing the spelling of Sakakawea to Sacagawea, according to The Associated Press.

"The Indian woman," as explorer William Clark most often called her, was a guide for the (Meriwether) Lewis and Clark journey to the Pacific Northwest when she was about 16.

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Bears Dine on Trees - Rob Tribe of Revenue

HOOPA VALLEY INDIAN RESERVATION -- The female bear snaps and growls from inside the trap. Her captors whisper, coo and -- when the animal is sedated -- gently stroke her fur. "So pretty," one says.

The kind treatment reflects the Hoopa Indians' traditional reverence for the American black bears, animals they consider their cousins.


Fish Walk the Plank for a True Tribal Taste

For at least 100 years, the cooks in my father's tribe -- the Kwakiutl in British Columbia -- have turned bentwood boxes into pots to steam and boil soups of shellfish, salmon, cod and halibut, giving those fish extra flavor. Today, many tribe members still living on Quadra Island in British Columbia use spearlike sticks to skewer and cook a butterflied whole fish on a beach or other outdoor area.

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Spokane Tribal Leader Turned His Dreams Into Reality

This was Robert Sherwood's dream: Spokane Indian children twirling through their dances, speaking their language, in a cultural center built to preserve their history.

He accomplished much of it, before dying Saturday, August 17, at 71.

As the tribe's most diligent cultural preservationist, Sherwood led efforts to record and pass on a dialect of Salish spoken by the Spokanes.

He doggedly organized drumming, dancing and singing sessions, including the yearly Friendship Dances.


Mending the Wounds

MANKATO, MN - The main cultural celebration in Mankato is one that has managed to go beyond recognizing one group and instead has served as a significant healing force for those hit by a painful part of the city's history.

In the course of its 30 years, the Mah-Kato Powwow has managed to bridge a historical gap between Dakota Indians and the white settlers, two sides of the bloodiest Indian War in the United States. Because of the powwow, many Dakota will tell you, a town that had historically meant large-scale death and antagonism to many Dakota now makes a different impression.

"It's almost less intolerant than any other town around," said Glenn Wasicuna, a Dakota teacher in Prior Lake.

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Fifth Annual Native American Music Awards

New York, NY - The Fifth Annual Native American Music Awards, or the Nammys, makes its midwest debut on Saturday, September 7th at the Marcus Amphitheater in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Hosted by Crystal Gayle, the Awards show features over 30 awards presentations and ten live music performances. Performers include: Felipe Rose, the Indian from the Village People, Gary Small with special guest Graham Lear of Santana, Micki Free of Shalamar, Jana (2001 Best Pop Artist), four-time nominee Martha Redbone, Primeaux & Mike, Bill Miller, a special Hall of Fame Induction of the Queen of Country, Kitty Wells, and more special guests to be announced. Showtime is 8:00pm. Tickets are $24.75 and VIP tickets are $104.75 which include admittance to the VIP post-show party at Potawatomi Casino. Tickets are on-sale now at all ticketmaster outlets and


Midway Music Festival Fires Up Arctic Circle

FORT MCPHERSON, NWT -- In 1986, the Teetl’it Gwich’in (People from the Head of the Waters) of Fort McPherson in the Canadian Northwest Territories held a gathering 15 miles up the Peel River from the community.

The gathering was called by then Chief James Ross to discuss community concerns and to have a good time out on the land with no drugs or alcohol. The gathering went so well that it was decided to make it an annual event.

In order to get more people to attend, a site was chosen twenty-five miles southwest of Fort McPherson on the Dempster Highway at a place called Midway Lake, midway between Fort McPherson and the Northwest Territories/Yukon border.

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In Every Issue Banner

About This Issue's Greeting - "Neenjit dagoonch'uu"


The Gwich'in Athapaskan language has also been known as Loucheux, Kutchin and Tukudh. It is used in Northern Yukon, Northeast Alaska and Northeast N.W.T. The people of the Gwich'in community of Old Crow call themselves the Van Tat-Gwich'in, or people who live among the lakes (ie., Crow Flats)" (The language is referred to as Kutchin, or Tukudh.)


This Date In History


This Issue's Web sites

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Story: Why Kingfisher Wears a War Bonnet


Recipe: After School Treats for Diabetics

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What is this: Belted Kingfisher

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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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