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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


October 18, 2003 - Issue 98


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A Cherokee Creation Story


Moon rising over a pondMany, many moons ago, in the beginning of time, the earth was all water. There was no land. All the four-leggeds, all the animals, all the winged-ones, lived up in the sky on the clouds, they were waiting for the land to dry, but it would not dry.

They would send one animal but he would never come back unable to find dry land. The animals would regularly check the water below.

BeetleFinally, after a dog had looked and reported back that it was still wet, they sent the water beetle. The water beetle dove into the water, grabbed a handful of mud at the bottom, brought it up and placed it on top of the water, and it started to dry, started to build land. He brought more and more; and still they waited for it to dry, still they waited and waited.

Finally, they sent grandfather buzzard, the mighty buzzard, down and the land was almost dry. As the buzzard flew, he'd fly down close to the land; and every time he would flap his mighty wings, he would form a mountain and a valley. That's why the Cherokee land has mountains and valleys in it today.

All the animals came down and settled on the earth.

After they did, they realized they had no light. So they called to Grandfather and asked would he give them light, and he did. He brought to them the sun. He the sun down right by the ground, and it was too hot for the

CrawfishSo they pushed and pushed, till finally they got it far enough out that it would not burn all the time, but it was still so hot that the crawfish was baked. That's why, if you look at him today, he is red from the sun being too close.

Finally, they got the sun far enough out so it would not burn and we would have night.

And Grandfather told them, "Now that I have done this for you, I ask that all the four-legged, and all the animals, and the plants stay awake for seven days and seven nights." This is why today, when a warrior goes to cross his manhood, he fasts and sweats for seven days.

All the animals and all the plants fell asleep except for some.

OwlThe owl stayed awake, and that's why he has vision to hunt at night now.

The plants, the Douglas fir, the cedar, the pine, and a few others stayed awake for seven nights and for seven days. That's why only these, among all the plants, are allowed to stay green all the year round. The other plants fell asleep and so must sleep part of every year.

Print and Color Your Own Crayfish Picture

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Red Swamp Crayfish
(Procambarus clarkii)

Red Swamp CrayfishDescription: Adult red swamp crayfish are colored dark red, whereas juveniles are a drab gray. A blue vein is visible under the tail of this species, and it also has a wedge-shaped black stripe on dorsal side of the abdomen. The texture of the carapace (shell) is rough, and the tail and carapace are not separated by an abrupt space. The pincers are narrow and long and may appear red in subadults. Full-grown adult crayfish can measure 20 cm in length.

Habitat: Red swamp crayfish are tolerant to a wide salinity range and are therefore found in both freshwater and brackish water habitats. They burrow into the muddy banks of sloughs, rivers, swamps and irrigation ditches.

Origin: Southeastern North America.

Invaded Areas: In North America, western states including California.

Red Swamp CrayfishConcerns: In their native range, red swamp crayfish are economically valuable, for instance as the basis of profitable aquaculture in Louisiana, where they are used for Cajun cooking. They have been intentionally introduced outside their native range for aquaculture operations. They are known to be very aggressive, territorial, and are generalist feeders, making them a formidable threat to organisms that rely on the same resources; in California, they may outcompete native crayfish. They are also known to prey upon endangered newts and are thought to be directly responsible for the decline in newt numbers in some areas. The burrowing behavior of this species can compromise the integrity of banks and levees, thereby increasing erosion and causing destruction to important wildlife habitat.

Red Swamp Crayfish distribution map

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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, 2003 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.

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