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Canku Ota
(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America

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April 2015 - Volume 13 Number 4
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"Tau ah Taiguey"
The Arawak Greeting
"Hello and Good Day!"

Turkey Vulture
(Cathartes aura)


Budding Month


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"A Warrior is challenged to assume responsibility, practice humility, and display the power of giving, and then center his or her life around a core of spirituality. I challenge today's youth to live like a warrior."
~Billy Mills~
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We Salute
Louise Erdrich Wins
Library of Congress Award

Louise Erdrich, author of the novels "Love Medicine" and "The Round House," will receive the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction this year.

The prize, which will be awarded during the National Book Festival on Sept. 5, is given to writers with "unique, enduring voices" whose work addresses the American experience. Past winners include John Grisham, Toni Morrison and E.L. Doctorow.

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Our Featured Artist: Honoring Students
Navajo Teen With A Camera And A Cause Wins White House Visit For Short Film

Keanu Jones just wanted to tell stories of his Navajo people when he picked up a camera several years ago, never thinking that his "simple 3-minute film" would bring him all the way to the White House.

"It's incredible," said Jones, 18, whose film was one of 15 selected from around the country as part of the second annual White House Student Film Festival.

Gahwéñhda' (Snowsnake) Returns To Onondaga Nation School

Onondaga Nation- Winter has decided to make its mark on our memory this year with lots of sub zero temperatures and many snow days. It was so cold that our annual community give has been postponed to later in March. But with the deep snow and cold temps has created ideal snowsnake conditions.

"The kids have been asking when we were going to have Snow snake this year," said Brad Powless the culture teacher at the school. "They've been seeing all of that snow and have been just itching to play."

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Our Featured Story: First Person History:
Chickasaw Educator Embarked Upon Unexpected Career

There definitely is something about Merry

Rev. Howard and Mrs. Lorena Baker knew their daughter would be born at Christmastime. When she did arrive, on December 20, 1950, they christened her Merry Carol.

While unusual, the name fits her to a tee. She sings, loves, cares and brings merriment to the lives of her Byng High School students and thousands of others. She is a member of Native Praise, a choir which sings hymns in Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Cherokee languages.


History of the
Ottawa and Chippewa Indians
of Michigan

Chapter Two
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Education News Education News
Cloud Communing: Direct From Estonia, Apache Teen's Digital Pow Wow Podcast

From the enrolled to the unenrolled, from the reservations to the cities, from South Dakota to as far away as Europe, a call for unity comes from a Reddit group called "Indian Country: Many Nations One Community." With a goal of bringing people together from every possible Native experience, the group has released several podcasts, which have become regularly scheduled events entitled "Digital Pow Wow."

Learning In Traditional Ways From Native Children's Literature

In Ojibwe tradition, as well as in all other Native cultures that I know of, womanhood from birth until the return to the spirit world is a sacred state, honored and respected. Countless generations of storytelling, combined with observation and experience, are the foundation of Ojibwe teaching and learning.

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Our History Education News
Native History: Yamasee War Ends Native Slave Trade, Upcoming Conference

Few American Indian wars were more devastating to colonists and more influential on the development of the south than the Yamasee War of 1715. April 15 will mark the 300th anniversary of the start of that war, which ended with the death of 400 British. On April 16, the first conference to bring recognition of the war will be held in Saint Augustine, Florida, mere steps from Yamasee archaeology sites.

The University Of Wisconsin's Point Guard Says Change The Mascot

On January 11, 2015, Bronson Koenig, backup point guard for the University of Wisconsin men's basketball team, was thrust into a starting role for the NCAA basketball's sixth-ranked team after senior point guard Traevon Jackson went down with a broken foot. "I'm obviously going to have to start being more vocal as a leader," Koenig, a sophomore, said following the announcement. "One area of improvement I need to really start working on is my leadership and being more vocal, but I'm confident that I'll step into that role."

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Healthy Lifeways Honoring Students
Traditional Hopi Foods Help Combat Diabetes

I recently attended the 17th Native Diabetes Prevention Conference in Phoenix. The theme was "Protecting the Generations, A Lifespan Approach to Preventing Diabetes"; protecting our future by introducing "lifestyle changes" to our people so that they will never have to experience diseases such as diabetes. Lifestyle change is the modifying or eliminating long-held habits of eating or physical activity, and maintaining a new, improved habit over months and years; making the change permanent.

Fueled by Love And Hate,
Winnebago Wins Respect

With 32 seconds left, Mathew Wingett scored his 22nd point, the last one of his high school career. The horn blared, and he and his younger brother, David, walked together off the court.

They'd played every second of the state championship game. Finally, they could rest.

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Honoring Students Healthy Lifeways
Breck Student's Science Project Is An Award-Winning Mix Of American Indian History And Science

Grant Two Bulls' work analyzing 200-year-old pollen samples is creating a new and fascinating snapshot of an American Indian encampment on Lake Calhoun and launching the high school student's research to national prominence.

The project became a melding of Two Bulls' passion for science and history with his desire for more connection to his Indian heritage.

Shakopee Mdewakanton And National Partners Launch $5 Million Campaign To Improve Native American Nutrition

The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and three nationally significant partners today announced Seeds of Native Health, a major philanthropic campaign to improve the nutrition of Native Americans across the country. The SMSC is committing $5 million to launch the campaign and plans to recruit other funding and strategic partners.


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Our History Preserving Language
Cork Statue Pays Tribute To Choctaw Tribe's Generosity During Irish Famine

A sculpture is being built in Cork to pay tribute to the generosity of the Native American Indian Choctaw tribe during the Irish famine.

'Kindred Spirits' is a structure made up of nine giant stainless steel eagle feathers, and is a mark of gratitude and friendship between the Irish and Choctaw people.

Challenges And Solutions To Keeping The Lakota Language Alive

"There is more to an immersion school than simply bringing in elders and having them teach the chidren," said Sunshine Carlow, education manager of Lak?ól'iyapi Wahó?pifor, the Lakota Nest Immersion School on the Standing Rock Reservation in South Dakota.


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Healthy Lifeways Our History
Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma Bison Leading the Herd in Oklahoma School Lunch Program

A high-fat, high-sodium, low-fiber menu is a typical lunch at many American elementary schools. Deep-fried popcorn chicken, tiny taters tots, bread, barbecue sauce, ketchup, and milk are menu mainstays routinely featured alongside fatty items such as pizza, french fries, hot dogs, and a mystery pork product called “ribicue.” On a national level these typical offerings to school age children have galvanized not only high-profile chefs such as Jamie Oliver and Rachael Ray but also First Lady Michelle Obama.

Remains Of Bustling City Found Near New Bridge

There's a lot archaeologists still don't know about the American Indian culture in our region; but they're analyzing what they found during the dig to clear land for the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge and they're ready to share.

For one, East St. Louis was a bustling city chock full of immigrants. Around 1000 A.D., it was bigger than nearby Cahokia Mounds site and it thrived for about 150 years.

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Education News   A Poem
Going Irish On The Reservation

Despite being thousands of miles from Indiana, a good number of Pala residents were big fans of Notre Dame.

I’m 63, a number without fanfare. Too young for the shroud, too old for hip-hop; but I’ve seen some stuff.

I’ve lived on the Pala Reservation many years; witnessed many changes. If I close my eyes to see the Pala of my earliest recollections, it’s unrecognizable from the Pala of today.


Incorporating Potawatomi Culture Into Every Day

As the Citizen Potawatomi Nation has grown in recent years, concerns about Potawatomi traditions and practices have come to the forefront in many conversations amongst Tribal members. Though many traditions are passed down from family elders, those living twenty first century lifestyles may feel like it's a difficult task to adhere to practices developed before the Industrial Revolution.


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About This Issue's Greeting - "Tau ah Taiguey"

Before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492, most of the Caribbean was peopled by three types, or groups, of inhabitants: the Ciboney or Guanahuatebey, the Taino or Arawak, and the Caribs. The cultural distinctions among the three groups are not great; the single greatest differentiating factor appears to be their respective dates of arrival in the region. The Ciboney seem to have arrived first and were found in parts of Cuba and the Bahamas. They also seem to have had the most elementary forms of social organization. The most numerous groups were the Arawaks, who resided in most of the Greater Antilles--Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola (presently, Haiti and the Dominican Republic), and Puerto Rico. The smaller eastern island chain was the home of the Caribs, a tropical forest group related to most of the indigenous Indians found in Central and South America. Barbados and a number of smaller islands were not permanently inhabited.

The pre-European populations of the territories that later formed the Commonwealth Caribbean belonged to the groups designated as Caribs and Arawaks. Both were tropical forest people, who probably originated in the vast expanse of forests of the northern regions of South America and were related linguistically and ethnically to such present-day tropical forest peoples as the Chibcha, the Warao, the Yanomamo, the Caracas, the CaquetÌo, or the Jirajara--in short, the peoples found anywhere from Panama to Brazil.
Nature's Beauty:
Turkey Vulture
This Issue's Web sites
A Story To Share:
Wiske And The Buzzard
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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 - 2015 of Vicki Williams Barry and Paul Barry.

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