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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
Potlatch Fund - Inspiring Philanthropy In Northwest Indian Country
From the potlatch to the powwow, building community and sharing wealth have always resided in the Indian spirit. Potlatch Fund continues this tradition through grants and leadership development in Tribal communities throughout Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Montana.
Preston Singletary
When I began working with glass in 1982, I had no idea that I'd be so connected to the material in the way that I am. It was only when I began to experiment with using designs from my Tlingit cultural heritage that my work began to take on a new purpose and direction.
Rural Spin
Retro Living in a Modern World. Naturally Sustainable Skills in City and Country
Welcome to the Hopi Website
Since time immemorial the Hopi people have lived in Hopituskwa and have maintained our sacred covenant with Maasaw, the ancient caretaker of the earth, to live as peaceful and humble farmers respectful of the land and its resources.
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Gingerbread Houses
Gingerbread is a baked treat that dates back to the Middle Ages. It is thought to have first appeared in the U.S. in the nineteenth century, when the Swiss monks of St. Meinrad Archabbey in Indiana baked gingerbread on holidays and gave it to the sick. Over the years, baking gingerbread cookies and building gingerbread houses developed into a popular American Christmas tradition.
Celebrating Christmas: Gingerbread House 101
"From very simple designs for busy moms and dads to challenging art projects for those artists among us, we've got it all.… Let the decorating begin!!!" Celebrating Christmas offers a potpourri of gingerbread house advice, from how to plan a gingerbread party to recipes for gingerbread tree ornaments. Highlights are six gingerbread house blueprints (including a log cabin, chapel, country store and Victorian) although you will need to enlarge the patterns before using them.
Highlights Kids: Design Your Own Gingerbread House
To add a little computer fun to today's topic, this pick is an online game. Decorate your virtual gingerbread house with the usual Candy and Icing, or go crazy with silly Food and Stuff such as a whole fish, a tennis ball, or alphabet blocks to spell out your name. Move items onto the house by clicking once to pick up, then again to release onto your house. Controls include Rotate, Resize, Flip, Start Over, and Print (so you can hang your finished creation on the refrigerator door.)
King Arthur Flour: Building a Gingerbread House
This fourteen-page PDF from King Arthur Flour offers the most detailed gingerbread house building instructions I found online. It includes a printable pattern, oodles of photos, and tips you won't find anywhere else. For example, to create multi-colored stained glass panels, try melting hard candies in the oven. Or to create the look of window panes, paint diagonal muntins on gelatin sheets. And to help your gingerbread people keep their balance, attach mini-marshmallow kick-stands to their backs.
Pinterest: Gingerbread Houses
Searching for gingerbread inspiration? Look no further than this Pinterest search. You can refine the search by adding keywords to the search function box in the upper left-hand corner, or jumping directly to some of the featured boards and pinners (which you'll also find in the upper left-hand corner.) If you are new to Pinterest, just remember that you need to click twice on an image to actually visit the associated web page.

Wilton: Gingerbread House Fun
Wow! Wilton (the baking supply company) brings us the mother lode of gingerbread ideas. Visit for 181 gingerbread houses, eleven answers to frequently asked questions, four gingerbread recipes, and countless decorating ideas. "If you plan to keep your decorated house or cookie kit longer than the current season, consider assembling with a hot glue gun, then cover the dried glue with icing."

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Pablo Picasso
Born October 25, 1881 in Malaga, Spain, Pablo Picasso became the defining artist of the twentieth century. As I learned about his life, I was struck by the observation that Picasso was blessed with parents who recognized his gift at an early age. Learn more about the man and his art at the following five sites.
Met Museum: Pablo Picasso
"The artistic genius of Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) has impacted the development of modern and contemporary art with unparalleled magnitude. His prolific output includes over 20,000 paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures, ceramics, theater sets and costumes that convey myriad intellectual, political, social, and amorous messages." Visit the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History for a slideshow and an excellent Picasso biography.
MOMA: Pablo Picasso
At first glance, this bio seems really brief, but if you look in the right-hand corner below the slideshow, you'll see a dropdown box that provides navigation to the rest of the Picasso biography. "Picasso never taught, but from the moment that he entered into an artistic dialogue with his contemporaries through Cubism he attracted numerous followers. Cubism not only became a stylistic formula that others continued to exploit, but also a springboard for sculptural developments by artists such as Tatlin and Lipchitz and an influence on artists as diverse as Duchamp and Matisse."
Picasso Head
Release your inner Picasso, and use this interactive art board to create a "Picasso-like" masterpiece. Start by adding elements from groups such as faces, eyes, noses, lips, ears, etc. Each of these elements is taken from a Picasso artwork, but you get to choose, color, and re-arrange them to your own artistic taste. Be sure to visit the gallery and see the what others have created. You can also save your own creation to the gallery.
Museu Picasso de Barcelona
As with any museum site, if you are not visiting in real life, you need to jump around the site to find the virtual exhibits. Here you'll find them under the menu items: The Collection, Exhibitions, and Pablo Picasso. Highlights include a timeline of Picasso's time in Barcelona, an excellent collection of Picasso links, and a great quote section (all listed under Pablo Picasso.) "Everyone wants to understand painting. Why not try to understand the songs of a bird?"

Pablo Picasso
Bypass the biography and articles, which are poorly written, but visit for the galleries of paintings and sculpture, Picasso Guernica jigsaw puzzle, quotes, and fun facts. "In 1909, Picasso and French artist Georges Braque co-founded an art movement known as cubism. Actually, it was a French art critic Louis Vauxcelles who first called it 'bizarre cubiques' or cubism, after noting that Picasso and Braque's paintings are 'full of little cubes.'"

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Assassination of John F. Kennedy
In Dallas, TX on November 22, 1963, John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, was assassinated. The President was in a presidential limo with the roof down, waving to the welcoming crowds, accompanied by his wife Jacqueline, Texas Governor John Connolly, and the governor's wife Nellie. The following year an investigative commission concluded that the president was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone.
JFK Library: November 22, 1963: Death of the President
"At the end of September, the president [John F. Kennedy] traveled west, speaking in nine different states in less than a week. The trip was meant to put a spotlight on natural resources and conservation efforts. But JFK also used it to sound out themes such as education, national security, and world peace for his run in 1964." The president's library offers a three-page article about the assassination, including videos and a link to the JFK 50 site commemorating the life and accomplishments of our 35th president.
LIFE: JFK'S Assassination, Frame by Frame
Although just thirteen photos, this slideshow tells the story revealed by Abraham Zapruder's 8mm film of Kennedy's assassination. "Millions of people who were alive at the time of John Kennedy's assassination first learned of the existence of Abraham Zapruder's 8mm home-movie of the killing in the pages of LIFE magazine. It was there, in the November 29, 1963, issue of the famed weekly that countless readers first encountered, in LIFE's words, 'a remarkable and exclusive series of pictures which show, for the first time and in tragic detail, the fate which befell our President.'"
Smithsonian Channel: The Day Kennedy Died
"Experience November 22, 1963 as it has never been presented before, in this minute-by-minute account of that day, narrated by Academy Award-winner Kevin Spacey, and brought to life through rarely seen footage and rarely heard testimonies." Although the full-length Smithsonian Channel video is not available online, there are plenty of interesting eyewitness accounts to watch here. Check your local TV guide for times when this television special is playing in your area.
YouTube: Assassination of John F. Kennedy
This is a topic channel "created by algorithms to collect trending and popular videos by topic." Because of this, it contains lots of points of views, both television news reports and conspiracy theorists, and original videos as well as those created to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Kennedy's assassination. I couldn't easily find how many videos are included, but this first page shows the nine most popular.

Dallas News: JFK 50
From the city where it all took place, the Dallas News presents an opportunity to explore ("Scholars dismiss the endless theories, but that doesn't deter certain 'assassination researchers.'") and discuss ("Share your remembrances of the JFK assassination.") Also worthwhile is the sixty-three photo slideshow, that starts a moment before the fatal shot, and ends with newly appointed President Lyndon Johnson speaking at Andrews Air Force Base.

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Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday (alternatively spelled Chanukah or Chanuka) that means "dedication" in Hebrew. It is an eight-day celebration commemorating the Jewish victory over the armies of Syria in 165 B.C.E. and the subsequent liberation and dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem. Jews celebrate by lighting a hanukkiah (sometimes called a menorah), playing dreidel, and eating latkes.
Reform Judaism: Hanukkah
"Today, the holiday reminds Jews to rededicate themselves to stand against forces that would destroy Judaism and to keep alive the flame of Jewish religion, culture, and peoplehood so that it may be passed on to the next generation." Lots of great Hanukkah resources here, including a virtual hanukkiah, a history of the holiday, dreidel lessons, craft projects, videos, and recipes.
Shalom Sesame: Chanukah
These fun preschool videos from Shalom Sesame are my Hanukkah picks of the week. My favorites are Chanukah with Veronica Monica, Extreme Makeover (the Hanukkah story of the Temple restoration) and Number of the Day: Shmoneh. "There are shmoneh (eight) nights of Chanukah. Sit down with your kids before the holiday begins and think of something special you can do on each of the eight nights, such as eating, celebrating with friends and family, singing songs, reading books, and opening gifts."
Activity Village: Hanukkah
"Over 2000 years ago, in 165 BC, the Jews in Judea rebelled against their Syrian ruler, Antiochus, because he insisted that all Jewish people must worship Greek Gods. After three hard years of fighting, the Jews defeated Antiochus and, to celebrate, they restored the Temple of Jerusalem – which had been taken over by the Syrians – and rededicated it to their God." Visit for printable Hanukkah coloring pages, crafts, holiday writing paper, crafts, and printable puzzles.
My Jewish Learning: Hanukkah
Need help lighting the hanukkiah? There's a silly Todd and God video that's sure to help. "Don't forget, Todd, always light from left to right!" There's also ideas for family celebrations, a few history lessons, dreidel rules, and recipes. "On Hanukkah is it customary to eat foods that are either fried in oil, or made with cheese. The fried foods custom recalls the miracle of Hanukkah, which centered around oil (one cruse lasting for eight days)."

PBS Kids: Arthur: Hanukkah
The endearing characters of the Arthur book series explain Hanukkah in this five-slide short story. "Hanukkah is also called the Festival of Lights. The Frenskys like to display the Hanukkah candles in the front window so that other people can see them. Francine says that it's nice to feel like she is a part of something big."

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Thanksgiving Writing Prompts
From gratitude to twittering turkeys, these ideas are far from boring, and are sure to jump start your classroom writing assignments.
Build Creative Writing Ideas: Thanksgiving
"After hearing the phone ring, you pick it up to talk to the person on the other line. Only, it's not a person calling at all, it's the T-Giving turkey! What does the turkey have to say and how do you respond?" There are ten imaginative prompts in this article, and there are five more Thanksgiving lists on the site that are not easily found via the menu navigation. To find them, enter "Thanksgiving" into the site search box in the upper right-hand corner.
Journaling Helps: 25 Thanksgiving Writing Prompts
These Thanksgiving writing prompts are organized into five categories: for primary students, for older students, story starters, movie ideas, and report ideas. "Research the way other country/countries celebrate Thanksgiving. How is [it] different than how your country does it? Things to look at are the history of the holiday, the food eaten, the traditions that are followed."
Unique Teaching Resources: November Creative Writing Prompts
"Pretend that you are a turkey who has a Twitter account and loves to tweet. Write 5 tweets to your followers about your feelings on Thanksgiving." LOL! In addition to the writing prompts, you'll find printable stationery, worksheets, and lesson plans for Thanksgiving and a few other November holidays, such as Veteran's Day and Geography Awareness Week (the third week of November.) Although the writing prompts are free, some of the downloads are for sale for a nominal price.
Activity Village: Thanksgiving Stationery
Although this Activity Village page does not have any writing prompts, it does have a dozen free printable Thanksgiving stationery templates that will add a bit of whimsy to your Thanksgiving stories. Most of the templates come in three flavors: blank (no lines), lined, and handwriting lines (with a dashed line between each solid line.) Designs include cornucopia, pilgrims, pumpkins, and turkeys.

Journal Buddies: Elementary Writing About Thanksgiving
"Give your students something to be thankful for during Thanksgiving time, with this list of 78 new elementary writing and journal prompts, especially for the holiday. Your students will be inspired to think about the things in their lives they are grateful for, as well as pushed to develop ways to give back to others." Great list, but I was bothered by the fact that "Thanksgiving" was frequently spelled without proper capitalization.

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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 - 2013 of Vicki Williams Barry and Paul Barry.
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