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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


December 28, 2002 - Issue 77


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"Hon Dah!"


The Apache Greeting


Means “Welcome”




Big Winter



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"When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light. Give thanks for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food and give thanks for the joy of living. And if perchance you see no reason for giving thanks, rest assured the fault is in yourself."
Taken from "
The Gospel of the REDMAN" Chapter 4; The Teachings of Wabasha


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We Salute
Denise Casillas

VERMILLION, S.D - University of South Dakota graduate student Ms. Denise Casillas was recently awarded a Mental Health Services Fellowship from the American Psychological Association-Minority Fellowship Program (APA-MFP). This prestigious fellowship is supported by a training grant from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and is awarded to graduate students of color enrolled in APA-accredited doctoral programs in psychology who have demonstrated a commitment to improving the quality of mental health services delivered to ethnic minority populations.

Casillas, an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from USD in 1997 and her Masters of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (with emphasis on counseling, psychology, and alcohol and drug abuse studies) from USD in 2001. Casillas began her doctoral studies in the USD Clinical Psychology Training Program in fall 2001.

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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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"Native Heroes" Essay Contest Announced!
Winners to be announced in the January 11 issue
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We have entries!!!
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Cherokee National Youth Choir

TAHLEQUAH, OK - The release of Building One Fire, the second album by the Cherokee National Youth Choir, comes on the heels of a very exciting time for the group. In September of 2002, the accolades for their work hit an all-time high, when their first album, Voices of The Creator's Children featuring Rita Coolidge, took the top award for "Best Gospel/Christian Recording" at The 5th Annual Native American Music Awards, ("NAMMY's") in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Based on the early response to Building One Fire, the Cherokee National Youth Choir has made another great musical statement that will promote Cherokee language and culture, and further their role as "Ambassadors" for the Cherokee Nation.


"Bearwalker" Wins Prizes and Hearts at NAFATA Fest
by Deanna Brady

The second annual NAFATA Film Fest opened this year with the Los Angeles premiere of "Bearwalker." By the time the festival closed, "Bearwalker" had won the Audience Award as the favorite entry overall, and its central performer (Rinae Morriseau) had garnered the Best Acting prize.

"Bearwalker" is a motion picture from the prolific James Bay Cree filmmaker/actress/artist/playwright Shirley Cheechoo, the first Canadian First Nations woman ever to write, produce, direct, and star in a full-length dramatic feature (this one).

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Thunderhawk - Winter Blows into Happy Valley - Conclusion
by Geoff Hampton


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


Prairie Moon Lights Peaceful Path Across State
by Dorreen Yellow Bird

When the moon was teetering between first quarter and full half, I saw it hanging just above the housing units at Spirit Lake reservation Tuesday. I was awestruck. The moon looked like an orange peeled and sectioned, only it was the color of a hot, hot ember. She leaned back like a woman resting in a lounge chair after a long day of chasing children. As I drove across the undulating pavement toward Spirit Lake, the moon seemed to move across the sky toward the horizon almost as fast as some celestial spaceship.

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Lakota Nation Invitational Not Only for Basketball

RAPID CITY, SD -- Brittny Has No Horse swam like a fish in a motel swimming pool. Marva Pretends Eagle finally got to see "Skins." And Robert Herman won his first-ever boxing match.

And all that went on in addition to Thursday's line-up of basketball games at the 26th annual Lakota Nation Invitational tournament.

The tournament draws thousands of fans to Rapid City each year, but they don't spend all their time at the basketball games. Many attend meetings and conferences held here at the same time. Most also try to finish their Christmas shopping and take in a movie or two.


Hand Game a Hit at Lakota Nation Invitational

RAPID CITY, SD -- On the basketball court at the Lakota Nation Invitational tournament, the game is a physical blend of shooting, defensive hustle and ball-handling, set to the sound of cheering fans and clock buzzers.

But behind the bleachers, there's another contest under way, and it's all about concentration, distraction and sleight of hand.

This is the fifth annual LNI hand-game tournament, where teams compete for trophies and jackets in what essentially is a guessing game accompanied by singing and drumming.

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Tootoo Makes Cut for Team Canada

IQALUIT - Rankin Inlet hockey player Jordin Tootoo has been named to junior hockey's Team Canada.

Tootoo will play in the world junior tournament in Halifax Dec. 26.

The announcement was made Monday morning in Halifax. Team Canada rounded out its 22–man roster for the World Junior Hockey Championship, making its final four cuts.

Tootoo will play as a forward in the championship tournament, being held in Halifax from December 26 to January 5.


No Reservation About His Net Skills

PEORIA, IL - The Peoria Rivermen had no reservations about bringing back goaltender Alfie Michaud when he decided to leave Europe last week.

They hope the 5-foot-10, 178-pounder from Selkirk, Manitoba, can pick up where he left off - a 3-0-1 record, 1.96 goals-against and .930 saves percentage - before he went to Finland in November.

Michaud is a bona fide NHL prospect, lost in the logjam of high-caliber goaltenders forced down into the class-AA ECHL after the International Hockey League folded.

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Miami U., Tribe Work to Save Culture

OXFORD, OH - Three centuries of American Indian culture is flowing through this northern Butler County city now that Miami University is the central repository for the Miami Indian tribe.

Its historical, cultural and linguistic resources - the essence of a people - are back on land once inhabited by Indian tribes, including the Miamis.

The tribe, now based in Miami, Okla., and the university, which takes its name from the tribe, reached a historic agreement this month to establish the Myaamia Collection at Miami University. (Myaamia is the Miami word for Miami.)


Choctaw Graduate Student Strives to Keep His Native Tongue Alive

Chahta iskitini anumpuli li.

In English, that would be: "I speak a little Choctaw."

Half of the world's languages will be extinct in 100 years, experts predict.

But if Kansas University graduate student Cedric Sunray succeeds, Choctaw won't be among them.

"If you lose English or French, you can go to England or France to get it back," Sunray said. "If you lose our language, you lose it forever. It only exists here" among the relative few who speak the language in the United States.

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Gates Foundation Pilot Program Fights Dropouts

SEATTLE, WA - The Early College High School Program is gearing up to accept a second round of applicants from Washington State Native communities or public schools with a high proportion of Indian students. The program is part of a nationwide effort on the part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and others to help disadvantaged children improve graduation rates and move into higher education. Over the next two years, five to six schools will join Medicine Wheel Academy in Spokane, Wash., Ferndale High School in Ferndale, Wash. and Tulalip Heritage School in Marysville, Wash.


Indian Youngsters Benefit from Dolly's Love of Books

PIGEON FORGE, TN - Dolly Parton - who has added literacy advocate to her list of credits - has often wondered why she stayed in school.

She didn't enjoy it. She's written songs about how she was taunted for being poor. No one else in her household at the time went. Her father couldn't read or write.

If she decided she didn't want to go, then certainly no one in her family would have tried to make her.

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Preston Singletary's expression of his Tlingit heritage has inspired other tribal artists

Preston Singletary belongs to two tribes -- the Tlingit nation into which he was born on his mother's side, and the tribe of contemporary glass artists he grew up among.

At 39, he's one of the key figures in a movement that began in Seattle and has inspired Native American artists across the country. Singletary uses glass to express his Tlingit heritage, merging the ancient art of glass blowing with even more ancient artistic practices of his people in order to create a 21st-century version of tribal aesthetics.


A Time for the Generations

Anyone peering through the windows of Iqaluit’s elders’ centre last Thursday afternoon would have been pleasantly shocked.

About 30 elders stand in the middle of the room, each with a balloon tied to his or her ankle. All of a sudden, the gentle group of men and women start manipulating their feet to stomp on others’ balloons.

The elders are playing a game as part of a Christmas party organized by Inuksuk High School teacher Nick Newbery and his class of Grade 9 students in the Terry Fox Program.

Today, 10 students came to the centre to decorate in the morning, and the space, accented with the sound of Christmas carols, feels decidedly festive.

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In Every Issue Banner

About This Issue's Greeting - "Hon Dah"

The Anglo theory is the Apache Indian migrated to the Southwest from Northern Canada in the 1500's. The Apache Indian history says it was the other way around, that most of the Athapaskan speaking people migrated to the North and a few stayed in their homeland. In any event, it is generally agreed that about 5,000 Apaches lived in the Southwest at the end of the 1600's.

This Date In History


Recipe: Festive Non-alcoholic Drinks

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Story: Rabbit and the Moon Man


What is this: Pine Marten

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Craft Project: Christmas Crafts

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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