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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
June 1, 2011 - Volume 9 Number 6
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"Yá'át'ééh Bina"
The Navajo Greeting
"Good Morning!"

Greater Prairie Chicken - Male displaying in Illinois, USA

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"And when your childrens' children think themselves alone... they will not be alone...At night when the streets of your cities and villages are silent and you think them deserted, they will throng with the returning hosts that once filled and still love this beautiful land."
~Chief Seattle~
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We Salute
Kevin Tso

There comes a time when every wrestler realizes his competitive career is over. Exactly when that moment occurs varies for every wrestler. For some, that realization takes place in advance of their last match; those wrestlers walk out onto the mat knowing it ends after that match. Others get caught up in the race for the top and don't really want to think about what may be their last match. It is difficult to put an end to something to which you have given so much of yourself. However, sooner or later, every wrestler grasps the reality that he has wrestled his last match, and for many, it happened at state this year.

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Our Featured Artist: Honoring Students
Diné Artist's Design Becoming a Symbol for Native America Veterans

Symbols are powerful things. The best ones capture people's imaginations and rally them to action.

For a Diné‚ artist living in Michigan, the fact that one of his designs is rapidly becoming a national symbol for Native veterans represents a high point in his career - a career that, 25 years ago, was dangerously on the skids

Centuries of Interruption and a History Rejoined

Commencement season is arriving in this grand metropolis, the higher education capital of the world. Every graduate has a story. Tiffany Smalley’s just happens to be 346 years old.

She sat in a Harvard Square coffee shop one recent morning telling it in the understated way of hers, repeatedly talking about two young men, Caleb and Joel, Joel and Caleb, as if they might breeze through the door and start hashing over weekend plans.

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Our Featured Story: Northwestern Wisconsin First Person History:
American Indian Programs Target Bullying

Back in the fall, Kathleen Atene's 5-year-old daughter was eagerly anticipating her first day of kindergarten—she'd get to ride the big yellow bus and go to the school her older sister attended. But when Atene went to her first parent conference a few weeks into the school-year, the teacher informed her that since the beginning of the year her daughter had been bullied by a classmate on the bus and in school—the abuse included having her hair pulled and being mocked for her appearance. The revelation surprised Atene, in part because her three other children had never experienced anything similar and her youngest had never said a word. The teacher said she was aware of the problem and the bully and her daughter had been separated. "She reassured me she would follow up," says Atene.

History of the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians of Michigan
Chapter Seven
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Education News Education News
Celebrating Native American Culture

Although rain forced many of the activities inside, it did not dampen the festive spirit of the May 21 Native American Cultural Celebration.

The seven-hour event, which was held at Coon Rapids High School, included several hands-on demostrations of Native American crafts, information on nutrition and other health information and an opportunity for people to talk to Native American dancers about the regalia and how it’s made.

Diné College Keeps Navajo Traditions Alive

Ceremonies are one of the most private parts of Navajo culture, and a class at Diné College is bucking tradition to ensure they don't disappear.

Part of Diné College's required Navajo and Indian studies curriculum is a series of classes that teach everything essentially Navajo — from language to culture and history.

But they also teach something much more fundamental, and in the past, reserved for a select few.

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Education News Education News
Hopi High Musicians Hit High Notes During Performances

The Hopi High band, guitar class, jazz and percussion groups have been drawing attention from throughout the northland.

Hopi High music students performed at the Grand Canyon Guitar Society Festival at the Coconino Center for the Arts in Flagstaff.

Hopi High music teacher Thomas Irwin helped get this festival off the ground along with Craig Yarborough from the GCGS because there hadn't been any festivals like this in northern Arizona for a while.


Let's Move! in Indian Country Launched at Menominee Reservation

The Office of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! Initiative and four federal agencies today launched Let’s Move! in Indian Country (LMIC). LMIC is an initiative to support and advance the work that tribal leaders and community members are already doing to improve the health of American Indian and Alaska Native children. As a part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative, LMIC brings together federal agencies, communities, nonprofits, corporate partners and tribes to end the epidemic of childhood obesity in Indian Country within a generation.

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Honoring Students Education News
Soon to be CMR Grad Uses Lens to Learn About His Blackfeet culture

Tony Vielle never felt connected to his Blackfeet heritage and was headed nowhere fast until he realized the camera placed in his hands during his freshman year of high school was a gift — his gift.

Support CRYP's Winyan Toka Win Garden!

This month, the Cheyenne River Youth Project® in Eagle Butte, South Dakota, is launching its 2011 fundraising campaign to support the 2-acre, naturally grown Winya n Toka Win Garden. Funds and in-kind donations will allow CRYP to further develop the garden program, an initiative that links into The Main Farmer's Market, the Cokata Wiconi Gift Shop, the children's and teens' meal programs and the ever-popular Garden Club.

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Living Traditions Education News
Iroquois Nationals Beat Team USA at World Indoor Lacrosse Championship

What could be better than jumping back into the international lacrosse arena after a year's break and winning the first game in a championship series? Answer: Winning the first three games in a championship series.

As of May 23, that was the Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse team's status at the World Indoor Lacrosse Championship underway in Prague from May 21-28. The team is participating in its first international competition since a controversial governmental snafu last summer prevented them from traveling overseas on their Haundenosaunee passports.

Utes to Hold Event Honoring All Vets

They have their own national anthem and are their own sovereign nation. But that hasn't stopped the Southern Ute Indian Tribe from sending their young men and women to fight for American causes since World War I.

"We try to keep our Indian ways, but we also incorporate American values into our lives," said Roderick Grove, an elder member of the tribe and Vietnam veteran who served in the 25th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army. "We serve under the American flag, and we're proud of that."

More than 100 members of the small tribe have served in the country's armed services since World War I, by Grove's estimates. In fact, many of the tribe's current and past leaders were U.S. war veterans.

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Living Traditions Living Traditions
Seminoles Add Baby Otters to the Tribe

Meet, well, we’re not sure of their names yet. But the two baby otters are the latest addition to the Seminole Hard Rock.

Unable to decide what to name the pair of otters, the Seminole Indian Tribe is opening up the naming process to the public.

Suggestions will be accepted through June 17 and should be sent to

Hopi Agriculture Tours Showcase Tribe's Culture

The small plots below the curve of a steep gravel road seem an unlikely place to grow crops, as does the sandy slope near a busy freeway and the cliff side of a tribal village.

Hopis know that these places aren't the most accessible, but it's here where the staples of traditional food — corn, squash and beans — flourish with what little water reaches the usually dry land.

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Preserving Language Preserving Language
NOW PLAYING: For a Group of Young Ho-Chunk filmmakers, Movies are About Having Fun While Learning to Make a Film in Their Native Language

Their hands shot up in the air, each wanting to say something about their films.

They are actors, writers, directors and producers - and some of them haven't even left junior high.

The movies they are talking about are often funny, with a little bit of the horror genre thrown in. And sometimes there's no ending at all to their movies. Sometimes, it's just fun to shoot a scene.

Students Work to Save Salish Language

English is the first language for most of Montana's American Indians, and that has some worried that their native tongue could be lost forever.

We recently met some young college students who are holding tight to their roots and hoping their ancient language will grow again.

The sounds and words that the Salish Indians used for hundreds of years once echoed through the Mission Valley.

Now, a dozen students in a language class at Salish Kootenai College are wrapping their tongues around an ancient language that's struggling to be heard.

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Living Traditions   Living Traditions
Micki Free, the Hard Rock Café, and the Future of Native American Music

The tribes of Native America were making music on the North American continent for centuries before the Europeans arrived. The drumming of pow wow music was considered the heartbeat of the nation, a deep pulsating sound often parodied in cowboy films. Like many marginalized cultures, Native Americans developed their own style of music, often incorporating the sounds of blues, European folk, classical music, and more recently, rock ‘n’ roll. Like African American music before the advent of phonograph records, the sounds of Native America were developed outside the attention of mainstream American culture, with notable exceptions.

Jim Northrup: Veteran, Wordsmith, Language Preserver

Award-winning writer Jim Northrup, Ojibwe, is not just a storyteller. Along with his wife, Patricia, Dakota, he is also known as a language warrior for reviving Ojibwe. And he keeps alive such traditions as sugarbush, the tapping of maple trees for sap, and making birch-bark baskets.

Born on the Fond du Lac Reservation in northern Minnesota, Northrup was one of 12 children. He attended boarding schools in Minnesota and South Dakota and did a stint in reform school—charged with “aggravated buffoonery with intent to mope,” as he put it—before graduating high school in Carlton, Minnesota. He joined the U.S. Marines and served for five years, including in Vietnam.

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About This Issue's Greeting - "Yá'át'ééh Bina"

Navajo is an American Indian language spoken by between one hundred twenty and one hundred forty thousand people in the Southwestern United States.

Navajo is a member of the Athabaskan family of the Na-Dené group of languages. It is considered to be closely related to Apache.
Nature's Beauty : Prairie Chicken
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, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.

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