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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America



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Favorite Sites


collected by Paul and Vicki

Down To A Whisper
The first languages of Wisconsin, the vessels bearing ages of American Indian history, song, medicine and prayers, could be as little as a generation away from an all-abiding silence. Languages that are grafted to the land and that together once counted tens of thousands of native speakers in the state, now have only an aging few here.
Perú, heart of the Inka culture, has presented us with a priceless gift: the musical group WAYANAY INKA. Founded July 4, 1984 in Lima, WAYANAY INKA has established a firm international reputation for being among the finest ambassadors of Andean music.
We Shall Remain Teacher's Guide
We Shall Remain is a groundbreaking mini-series and provocative multi-media project that establishes Native history as an essential part of American history. Five 90-minute documentaries spanning three hundred years tell the story of pivotal moments in U.S. history from the Native American perspective.
“Walking into the Unknown”
“Walking into the Unknown” traces the intimate journey of a middle aged American Indian male through the health care system as he gains a deeper understanding of himself and the health risks he faces. Dr. Arne Vainio is an Ojibwe physician who works on the Fond du Lac Reservation in northern Minnesota. Frustrated by middle-aged Native men not coming in for health screenings, he came to the realization that he was also avoiding the necessary screenings. The program is based on Dr. Arne Vainio’s 49th and 50th years of life, a critical turning point in the lives of many American Indian males when it is important to become earnestly involved in finding out more about the ways in which their health and well being are at risk and developing ways to practice healthier choices.
Easy Origami
Origami is the ancient Japanese art of paper folding. Today's tour includes hundreds to easy-to-learn models. You can start with regular copy paper, but as you progress you may be interested in buying a package of special origami paper, which is thinner, easier to crease, and available in many cool colors and prints.
Kids Web Japan: Let's Make Origami
"According to Japanese tradition, one way to pray for good health is by folding a thousand origami cranes." Published by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kids Web Japan introduces Japan to schoolchildren around the world. This section of the site includes instructions for thirteen origami models such as Dog, Cup, Piano, Balloon and Box. Click Next to visit the Download Center, where you'll find printable origami patterns with fold marks, and colored printable origami paper.
Origami Club
Wow! What I love about the Origami Club is that the instructions are available both as a printable diagram and as an animation. And the animation can be sped up, or slowed down depending on your skill level. Other reasons to visit include their newspaper origami section, holiday collections (Halloween, Christmas and Valentine's Day), and their big page of fifty-one really easy origami models. Just one note of caution, this Japanese site, although written in English, uses A4 and B5 paper sizes, not the standard American 8.5" x 11".
Origami Fun
Origami Fun is chock-full of projects rated by difficulty, available in printable PDF format and video, along with lots of origami tips. "Be patient. If you are just learning how to make origami, you have to realize that it is a contemplative and relaxed activity, that is, you can't go rushing through the instructions as fast as you can!" For the easiest models, look for those rated one or two pelicans, or go directly to the kids section. Sign up for the Origami Fun newsletter, and you'll get a sample copy of their Ultimate Origami e-book.
"Paper, of course, is mushed up plant material. Plants, as you know, grow through photosynthesis (energy from sunlight) so looking on t he bright side, origami is like playing with sunlight." Derek Stancombe started folding paper when he was nine or ten, "mainly because he was asthmatic and ran out of breath when trying to play sport." His beautiful site features creative, animated shorts starring origami figures, and a selection of origami games, all built in Flash.

Yup, you guessed it. OrigamiTube is the YouTube of origami paper folding. "Watch, Fold, and Show Off!" Because all the videos are user-submitted, the quality varies greatly, but it's still a great source of origami how-to. Remember, you can pause and replay as often as you like, making these videos a great way to learn. To find a specific model, use the search function, or navigate through the categories such as animals, flowers, money, or kirigami (which include cutting in addition to folding.)

Whooping Cranes
The endangered North American whooping crane has a remarkable story. Starting in 2001 (using a method pioneered by Bill Lishman and Joe Duff with Canada Geese) a flock of baby whoopers raised in captivity in Wisconsin was trained to follow an ultralight aircraft to their winter home in Florida. Learn more about whooping cranes and their amazing comeback story at the following sites.

ARKive: Whooping Crane
The ARKive project has taken on the goal of gathering films and photographs of the world's species to preserve them for future generations. Their whooping crane collection includes twelve stunning photos and nine videos, as well as species quick facts such as Range & Habitat, Biology, and Threats & Conservation. "Today, cranes remain at risk from human development; collisions with power-lines are now a serious cause of mortality."

International Crane Foundation: Whooping Cranes
This species field guide includes links to a photo gallery, a table of whooping crane numbers from 1938 to 2006, and a migration map. Unfortunately, the links are not underlined, so you'll really need to hunt for them. Be sure to visit the Kids page for instructions on building an origami crane, a printable Field Guild to Crane Behavior, and answers to commonly asked questions. "Q: How many kinds of cranes are there? A: There are 15 species in the crane family Gruidae. According to the conservation status designations assigned by International Crane Foundation, six of the species are considered endangered."

Journey North: Whooping Cranes
Meet the Western Flock (the only wild migratory flock of whooping cranes) and the Eastern Flock (a reintroduced flock seeded with eleven chicks bred in captivity.) " With no wild parents to teach the way, new captive-bred chicks added each fall learn their migration route by following ultralight aircraft on their first journey south, and a few are also released to follow older cranes south. Each spring we eagerly wait to see if, when, and how the youngest crane-kids return north – unaided, wild and free. The goal: 25 breeding pairs from 125 birds released in the Eastern Migratory Flyway by 2020, with 18-20 chick introductions each year."
National Geographic: Whooping Crane Profile
"Whooping cranes nearly vanished in the mid-20th century, with a 1941 count finding only 16 living birds. But since then, these endangered animals have taken a step back from the brink of extinction." This whooping crane overview from National Geographic includes an audio of the whoopers' loud shriek (you might need to turn your speaker volume down a tad!), and a short video describing their miraculous comeback.

Operation Migration: Whooping Crane Reintroduction
Operation Migration is my whooping crane pick of the day. It includes photos, field journals, lots of sound files, population counts, and a kids section. The site navigation, however, is not up to par, so use the site map to find your way around. "What is aircraft-led migration? This technique relies on the birds' natural instinct called imprinting. Imprinting means the just-hatched waterfowl chick immediately trusts the first object it sees and follows the object. As soon as the chicks hatch, they bond with their parents and become inseparable. The OM team acts as surrogate parents, helping the birds imprint on the aircraft and conditioning them to fly with it."

Environmental Science
Environmental science (also called ecology or bionomics) is a branch of biology that studies the relationship between organisms and their environment. It encompasses topics such as climate change, energy, endangered species, land use and more. Today's website picks cover a wide range of environmental issues, and offer lessons and activities for all grade levels.

Designed to inspire elementary and middle-school kids to become "life-long environmental stewards," EcoKids from Earth Day Canada uses interactive media to teach kids about their impact on the environment. The Games & Activities section is divided into topics such as Wildlife, Energy and Climate Change. And then further segmented by grade and difficulty level (primary, junior or intermediate.) Unfortunately the EcoKids Challenge is limited to entrants in Canada, but the rest of the site is universal.

Environmental Literacy Council
The Environmental Literacy Council website is a huge library of K-12 lessons, articles and news about environmental studies, including subjects such as global climate change, biodiversity, energy, and land use. Topics can be accessed via the subject menu on the left-hand side, from the site map, or via the site search. Each article concludes with an outstanding collection of Recommended Resources, making this site a terrific first stop for further research and my pick of the day for middle-school and high-school students writing papers or doing science fair projects.

Franklin Institute Science Museum: Community Science Action Guides
These sixteen Community Science Action Guides (some for primary grades and others for secondary grades) were created by teachers to support student investigation into local science issues. They include planning resources, activities and ready-to-use material in topics such as water, energy and life science. For example, SWISH (Student Water Investigators Showing How) is a project outline for investigating water usage during toilet flushes and includes two separate tracks: one for middle school and another for high school.

HippoCampus: Environmental Science
HippoCampus (from the Monterey Institute for Technology and Education) is a collection of educational videos arranged not by popularity (as on YouTube) but by topic as a outline for a high-school science class. In fact, the site contains a complete AP Environmental Science class, covering all the material outlined by the College Board as necessary preparation for the AP exam. In addition to the videos, there are labs, discussion questions, and chapter tests with answer keys.

LiveScience: Environment
LiveScience is an online magazine with an extensive Environment section. Visit for articles, videos, image galleries, and quizzes. Here's a sample question from the "What's Your Environmental Footprint" quiz. "Is going vegetarian better for the Earth? Meat-eaters who switch to a plant-based diet save: 1) A few animals' lives, but not much else. 2) Over one hectare of land per ton of food . 3) Over 10 hectares of land per ton of food."

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Students And Teachers Against Racism announces their new website that offers insight into the Native American perspective to teachers and educators.

Changing Winds Advocacy Center
Through presentations, classroom sessions, curriculum, fund raising, charitable works, and multi-media efforts, we seek to raise public awareness of the stereotyping, discrimination, racism and other unique situations facing Native Americans.

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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 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.

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