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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


SNEAK PREVIEW: Check out our new site dedicated to Native American contemporary art

The Eiteljorg is thrilled to announce the “soft” launch of its new dedicated Web site for the Eiteljorg Fellowship for Native American Fine Art, made possible by a generous grant from Lilly Endowment.
Visit it at

You will find:

  • Profiles of Fellowship artists such as Jaune Quick-to-See Smith (Flathead), Shelly Niro (Bay of Quinte Mohawk), Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie (Dine, Seminole, Muscogee), James Lavadour (Walla Walla), Will Wilson (Dine) and Edward Poitras (Gordon First Nation). Profiles include video, audio and spaces where these artists may communicate with you directly and share their thoughts and new projects through blogs and other methods.
  • A gallery of the Eiteljorg Museum’s renowned Native American contemporary art collection. Simply click to view images up close and engage the site’s “virtual curator” (audio of curator of contemporary art Jennifer Complo McNutt and assistant curator of contemporary art Ashley Holland sharing their thoughts and stories behind the art).
  • An art forum where you can not only learn more about the evolution of Native American contemporary art through an interactive timeline and a keynote address by Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, but also engage others in conversations by posting comments, questions, original art, academic papers and more in several sub forums.
  • A community art gallery where anyone can share original art based on the theme of “identity.”

Our new site is, quite simply, one-of-a-kind. We have found no other place on the Web that celebrates and informs about Native American art and artists in this way.

Before we make the new Fellowship pages accessible at and broadly announce the launch, we wanted to first share the news with the museum’s closest “friends.” Please take some time to explore Fellowship’s new digs and start using our amazing new forum.

Enjoy and let us know what you think by visiting Contact Us on our Web site.
Social Music
In the old days, radio disc jockeys controlled what music was heard over the public airways. Nowadays, everyone's a music critic, and we rely on friends (virtual and otherwise) to recommend new sounds. This week's crop of sites use the power of the Internet and social networking to take music discovery to new heights.
Release your inner DJ and create an Internet radio station to share with friends (and the whole world.) So what exactly is a blip? It's a single music track accompanied by a short text message. is a Twitter-like social network that allows you to follow other DJ's with similar music tastes, and to see what sounds your friends are listening to. With good integration between and Twitter, FriendFeed and, is also a way to integrate music with your existing social media activities such as Facebook or MySpace.
iLike is a social network application with over fifty million members who share music recommendations, playlists, and personalized concert alerts on networks such as Facebook and MySpace. The first step is to scan your existing iTunes music library and install the iTunes sidebar plugin. Next is to add iLike to your Facebook or other social network profile. Using the wisdom of crowds, iLike will recommend music you're likely to enjoy, and let your friends know what you are listening to.
iTunes Genius
New in version 8 of the free Apple music organizer iTunes, is Genius, a recommendation engine and playlist creator. To get recommendations of songs not already in your library, add the Genius Sidebar (select Genius in the View dropdown menu.) To create custom playlists based on a single song, click the Genius icon in the lower-right hand corner when that song is selected. These created playlists are terrific fun, and are based on the playing habits of millions of users. is a personalized streaming radio station, with a playlist based on any artist or genre you choose, as well as a music recommendation engine connected to your computer and iPod. " turns what millions of people listen to into the perfect mix for you." After downloading their Scrobbler software (for Windows, Mac or Linux), will "scrobble" any song you listen to on your computer or iPod, and automatically add it to your profile. The more music you "scrobble," the more accurate your recommendations.
Pandora's recommendation engine is based on their Music Genome Project, and works a little differently than other Internet music discovery sites. Built around a collection of hundreds of musical attributes (or "genes"), they "capture the unique and magical musical identity of a song - everything from melody, harmony and rhythm, to instrumentation, orchestration, arrangement, lyrics, and of course the rich world of singing and vocal harmony." You can enjoy the results by creating a streaming radio station based on an artist or song, or listening to stations created by others.
Book Exchange
Have you ever swapped paperbacks with a friend? Then you've participated in a book exchange, also known as a book swap or trade. Now imagine a website that gives you access to thousands of book-reading friends and keeps track of multi-way swaps so that you can send a book to Thelma, but in return receive a free book from Louise. Now you've got the ultimate book club for readers who don't mind spending a few minutes wrapping up their old books and mailing them out.
BookMooch gives you one point for every book you send, and a tenth of a point for every book you enter into your profile. Most books are priced equally at one point, and subscribers are responsible for the paying the postage for each book they ship. One usual feature here is the ability to request books from other countries, in other languages. When sending a book overseas you'll earn three points (to compensate for the higher postage cost) but getting a book from overseas costs only two points. BookMooch currently has over 500,000 books to choose from.
Bookins (also with an inventory of over half a million books) uses a variable point system, where hardbacks and popular books cost (and earn) you more points than paperbacks. What's different at Bookins is their prepaid postage system. They will email you a shipping label, so all you need to do is print it out, put your book in an envelope (or wrap it grocery bag paper) and slap the label on your book. But this simplicity comes at a price: $4.49 per item. In addition to books, you can also swap DVDs.
LibraryThing is a community of book lovers, and does not directly provide book swapping services. Instead, it is an "easy, library-quality catalog" where you can share what's on your bookshelf and what you're reading with like-minded folks. And on each individual book page, in addition to reviews, ratings, tags, reader recommendations and links to book stores, you'll find a "Swap this book" link. That link will take you to a page that shows which of twelve popular book swapping sites have the book available for trading.
With 3.7 million books available for swapping, PaperBackSwap is the biggest of the online book swapping sites. And their point system is pretty simple: earn a credit for sending a book, use a credit for receiving a book. For shipping, PaperBackSwap provides a printable two-page wrapper that is a both a do-it-yourself envelope and an pre-addressed label. Just wrap your book, add postage, and "pop the book in the mail." You'll need to weigh your book to determine the correct postage, but they advise that most books under one pound typically cost $2.23 to send.
SwapTree is smallish, with 78,000 books currently available, but they also provide a marketplace for trading music CDs, DVDs and video games. SwapTree has done away with points, and simply displays exactly which titles on your want list that you can get for each trading item you list. Sometimes the trades might be one-for-one with a single party. Other times the trades might be three-way, where you are sending your item to one person, and receiving an item from another person.
Healthy Food
Teaching kids about nutrition happens around the dinner table, in the grocery store, at the fast food restaurant, in the classroom, and now also on the Internet with this bunch of sites that make use of fun, online games, cartoon characters and printable activity sheets to get the message across.
CDC: Fruits and Veggies Matter
Although not specifically for kids, this CDC site has interactive tools, tips, and information for all ages. How many fruits and veggies do you need each day? Enter your age, sex, and level of daily physical activity into the tool on the front page, and learn the benefits of adding more fruits and vegetables into your daily diet. Other reasons to visit include Fruit & Vegetable of the Month (pretty pictures to enjoy with your little ones) and Analyze My Plate (drag food items to your virtual plate to get a nutritional analysis of your choices.)
Dole 5 A Day
With games, cartoon characters, recipes, and advice on eating right and being fit, Dole has something for everyone. My favorite sections are the Nutrition Database (where I learned that apples are a member of the rose family!), the healthy recipes, and the games. The Superfoods Mighty Gobble & Chomp is a Pacman style game where fruits and vegetables increase your strength, and candies, fries and soda pop decrease it.
Food Champs
With bright colors and cartoon mascots, Food Champs has fun and games for kids as young as two. Choices include coloring pages, printable stickers, printable recipe cards, interactive games, printable activity sheets, and a gallery of artwork. Games are divided into two age groups: two to five, and six to eight. They include Farm to Fork (learn how food gets from the field to your table), Fruit & Vegetable Math, and Fruit & Veggie Pyramid Game. For Kids
Although the kids home page at lacks color and pizzazz, they have great games and content. MyPyramid Blast Off Game is a flash game for students six to eleven, "where kids can reach Planet Power by fueling their rocket with food and physical activity. Fuel tanks for each food group help students keep track of how their choices fit into MyPyramid." There are several variations of the healthy food pyramid to print and color. And for classroom or homeschool, there are printable lessons and activities for grades one through six.

Nutrition Explorations: Kids
"How many servings of Milk Group foods do you think you need every day? Three or more." Explore the world of nutrition with the National Dairy Council. Play games, learn about the food guide pyramid, and get recipes for healthy snacks like a Carrot Cake Smoothie. Games include Arianna's Food Force One ("Go on a global adventure to find ingredients for combination foods"), Quintricious (match foods from five food groups as they fall arcade-style), and Nutrition Mixer (use your knowledge of serving quantities to "mix" a song for a rock band.)

To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee published her first and only novel in 1960, at the age of thirty-four. It won a Pulitzer Prize for fiction the following year. "To Kill a Mockingbird" tells two stories at once: one about attorney Atticus Finch's defense of a black man accused of rape, and the second about his young daughter's coming of age.
CliffsNotes: To Kill a Mockingbird
CliffsNotes does a bang up job with their literature study guides. Visit for a book summary, Harper Lee biography, character analysis, a handful of critical essays, famous quotes, and a chapter by chapter summary. They also include a glossary ("obstreperous: noisy, boisterous, or unruly, esp. in resisting or opposing"), a fifteen-question interactive quiz, and five ideas for "To Kill a Mockingbird" projects. "Select a song that represents one of the themes in To Kill a Mockingbird. Play the song for your class and discuss your choice and the theme it represents."
Harper Lee
"To Kill a Mockingbird was Lee's first novel. The book is set in Maycomb, Alabama, in the 1930s. Atticus Finch, a lawyer and a father, defends a black man, Tom Robinson, who is accused of raping a poor white girl, Mayella Ewell. The setting and several of the characters are drawn from life - Finch was the maiden name of Lee's mother and the character of Dill was drawn from Capote, Lee's childhood friend." Ms. Lee's official site is worth a visit for her bio, but unfortunately the links page is mostly out of date.
NEA The Big Read: to Kill a Mockingbird
The Big Read is a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) program addressing the decline of reading for pleasure by bringing together communities to read and "celebrate books and writers." "To Kill a Mockingbird" is one of about twenty books already on their website, with more "coming soon." For readers, the The Big Read gives us discussion questions, an author biography, and a short piece about the Jim Crow South for historical context. For teachers, they provide lesson plans, project ideas, and essay topics.
SparkNotes: To Kill a Mockingbird
SparkNotes covers all the bases with a plot overview, character analysis, chapter summaries, and a discussion of themes, symbols, and motifs. "Motifs are recurring structures, contrasts, or literary devices that can help to develop and inform the text's major themes." They also explain five key quotations, suggest ten questions/essay topics, and provide a reading list of five books of literary criticism. And for those of you who like quizzes, their's is a doozy with twenty-five multiple-choice questions.

To Kill a Mockingbird: The Student Survival Guide
"This website has been set up to be an annotation to the text of the novel (annotations are notes that explain things). As you travel through the site, you'll find more than 400 annotations to help you get more out of your reading. Many of the annotations contain links to pictures or other websites to further help you in understanding your reading. Click away, learn, and have fun!" Created by Belmont High School teacher Nancy Louise Rutherford, this chapter-by-chapter guide includes a single-sentence chapter summary, and definitions of vocabulary, allusions, and idioms.

Folklore generally refers to stories and traditional beliefs spread informally, usually by word of mouth. The term was first coined by British antiquarian William J. Thoms in 1846, replacing phrases such as "the lore of the people" and "proverbs of the olden times."
Aaron's World of Stories: Folktales
Author and storyteller Aaron Shepard specializes in "retelling folktales and other traditional literature from around the world." Each of his tales is annotated with genre, country of origin, reader age range, and word count. Each also has an Aaron's Extra which might be a song, a poster, or a deleted passage omitted from the published picture book because of limited space. For a complete site map, use Aaron's Indexes, where his stories are organized by title, age level, genre, theme, ethnicity, geography, holiday and more.
American Folklore
"This folklore site contains retellings of American folktales, Native American myths and legends, tall tales, weather folklore and ghost stories from each and every one of the fifty United States. You can read about all sorts of famous characters like Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, Daniel Boone, and many more." American Folkore is my pick of the day because of the variety and number of stories they offer. The site also has lesson plans, tongue twisters, and audio versions of many of the ghost stories.
Pitara's Kids Network
From India, China, Burma and Aesop, Pitira offers up nearly a hundred illustrated folktales and fables. "Some of these tales will make you think, some of them will make you laugh, some will make you wonder, but almost all of them have hidden wisdom for you to discover!" They also have collections of poems, stories, book reviews, games, coloring pages, and art projects. When navigating the site, be sure to scroll down the page (past several ads) because the page navigation is near the bottom of the layout.
Scholastic: Myths, Folktales & Fairy Tales
This Scholastic site is a treasure trove of resources for learning about myths, folktales and fairy tales. Several authors have contributed, fielding questions from young writers wanting to create tales of their own. "When we read these traditional stories from around the world, we find that the things we value most highly, fear most deeply, and hope for most ardently are valued, feared and hoped for by all people. When we read these traditional stories from around the world, we find that the things we value most highly, fear most deeply, and hope for most ardently are valued, feared and hoped for by all people."

Whootie Owl's Stories
Whootie Owl stories, folktales from many cultures, show us " that people all over the world share many of the same concerns." The collection is searchable by age, country, type of story or theme. To see them all, simply leave all the selection criteria at "ALL." The best part of the site is the ability to submit your own illustrations or comments about the stories. For each tale, editor Elaine Lindy also includes a Footnote with the source of the story and a bit of commentary.

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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, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.

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