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Canku Ota
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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Celebrating the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota Nations
by VisionMaker Video

Across the rolling plains of the Midwest, a great nation was created by a people who had their own system of government and a livelihood that was forever changed by settlers and trappers. The Oyate, the people, tell their own history and culture in this hour-long documentary, Oceti Sakowin: The People of the Seven Council Fires.

Produced by South Dakota Public Broadcasting with a grant from the South Dakota Department of Education, the now regional Emmy-nominated Oceti Sakowin incorporates interviews from leading Lakota, Dakota and Nakota historians and tribal leaders to understand language and the origin of Oyate, and how present-day things became to be. Interviews include:

  • Clifford Canku, Dakota Studies instructor at Sisseton Wahpeton College, Sisseton, S.D.
  • Dr. Craig Howe, graduate studies instructor, Oglala Lakota College, Pine Ridge Reservation
  • Russell Eagle Bear, tribal councilman, Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Norris, S.D.

The two-disk educational package includes a bonus 24-minute DVD, Bridging the Gap: Native American Education. The bonus DVD can be used with an educational guide to aid K-12 teachers in instruction of Lakota, Dakota and Nakota, and other Native American children. The guide, developed by the South Dakota Department of Education, can be found at the SD Public Broadcasting Web site by clicking here.

Educators who reviewed the DVDs and guide said:

"I particularly like the layout of the guide with sections for video synopsis, key concepts, program interviewees, pre-viewing, post-viewing, general teaching issues, small group discussion, and content based questions.

"The questions in the guide were also well-written and align very well with the content of the programs. The variety of questions allows a facilitator to pick and choose between different topics to lead a discussion that does not overemphasize one area while leaving out other key issues."
-Becky Guffin
Director of Education Services
Aberdeen School District, Aberdeen, S.D.

"I am an enrolled member of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe located in central South Dakota. The workshop facilitator's guide can be broken down into sub-sections for teachers to do even more research in their classrooms. Bridging the Gap is also a great tool for teachers, students and administrators to learn more about the viewpoints and opinions of Native American students.

"Both programs and the workshop guide are greatly needed in our public, private and Native schools in South Dakota because they provide history, culture and factual information."
-Silas Blaine
K-8 Principal
Crow Creek Tribal School, Stephan, S.D.


Home sale price $15.96 (DVD)
Educational sale price $180 (2-DVDS)


Since Bad Sugar, episode four of the Unnatural Causes series appeared on PBS this spring, a community activist featured in the film, Terrol Drew Johnson, has started a 3,000-mile walk from Maine to Arizona to encourage Native people to return to a traditional, healthy diet.

Johnson, co-founder and co-director of Tohono O'odham Community Action, has named his multi-state journey The Walk Home. Johnson, who also aided Bad Sugar producer/director Jim Fortier (Metis/Ojibway) with interviews in the film, said a family member thought their diabetes problems were just "bad sugar."

Read the column by Anne T. Denogean in The Tucson Citizen about Johnson and The Walk Home.

To read about the latest updates since the Unnatural Causes series aired, go to film's Web site at

To watch a preview of Bad Sugar, click here. To watch other previews of the six-part Unnatural Causes series, click here.

November is Native American Heritage Month, as well as National Diabetes Month. To schedule a community screening of Bad Sugar, contact NAPT Marketing Director Kim Baca at 505-604-3517 or


Coming soon to public television:


March Point

Cody, Nick and Travis, three teens from the Swinomish Indian Tribe, wanted to make a gangster movie or rap video. But instead were asked to investigate the impact of two oil refineries on their tribal community. March Point follows their journey as they come to understand themselves, the environment and the threat to future generations.

Coming to PBS


Visit March Point Web site

Visit Independent Lens Web site

Check local listing for film time in your area.


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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, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 of Vicki Barry and Paul Barry.
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