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

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November 2020 - Volume 18 Number 11
 
 
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"Wáa sá iyatee?"
The Tlingit Greeting
How are you?
 
 


Raven Branch by Connie Kelts

 
 
'KELMUYA'
Fledgling Raptor Moon
Hopi
 
 
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"How Long are we going to let others determine the future for our children. Are we not warriors? When our ancestors went into battle they did not know what the consequences were going to be. All they knew was that if they did nothing, things would not go well for their children Do not operate out of a place of fear, operate from a place of hope. With hope everything is possible. The time is now."
~Crazy Horse~
 
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We Salute
ChangeMakers: Terri Yellowhammer, Bringing Representation To The Bench

Terri Yellowhammer, 57, wants increased visibility for Native Americans. And as a judge, she hopes that her people know the courts are for them and that Native youth can picture themselves on the bench, too.

She grew up in north Minneapolis. Yellowhammer is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe with heritage in the White Earth Nation on her mother’s side. She says her parents instilled her Native identity in her at a very young age, and that she’s never been afraid to be heard.
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Our Featured Artist: Honoring

Native Words In Print: Author Launches Campaign To Open A Publishing Press For Native Writers

Amber McCrary has a dream and is raising money to start a publishing press for Indigenous writers, called Abalone Mountain Press, which will create books for Native people by Native people.

According to McCrary, there are only a handful of publishing presses that publish only Indigenous writers and even less that are owned by Indigenous people.

The idea to start the press began after graduating from a creative writing program.
 

ChangeMakers: Brenda and Benay Child, Channeling Ojibwe Pride From One Generation To The Next

Brenda Child says she’s always been proud to be Red Lake Ojibwe. It’s something she learned from her mother and strives to pass on to her two children.

As a historian, Child has studied the day-to-day lives of previous generations of Ojibwe people, including her own family. She thinks about how her grandparents spoke the language and harvested wild rice, but also how hard it must have been for her grandfather to be dispossessed of his land.

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Our Featured Story: First Person History:

The Thanksgiving Myth Gets A Deeper Look This Year

On a frigid November morning inside a tractor barn in northeast Montana, 10 members of the Sioux and Assiniboine tribes joined in song to bless a thirty-aught-six hunting rifle, and to lift up the spirit of a buffalo they were preparing to kill. One man played a painted hand drum. Others passed around burning sage.

The hunt that followed took place on Turtle Mound Buffalo Ranch, 27,000 acres of rolling pasture on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. Every stage of the hunt was marked by a ceremony to give thanks for a buffalo that descends from animals killed to near-extinction by white settlers in the late 19th century.
 

'Jim Crow, Indian Style': How Native Americans Were Denied The Right To Vote For Decades

Pvt. Ralph W. Anderson, a Navajo who had served in the U.S. Army in World War II, had a question about the U.S. policies that kept him and other Native Americans from voting.

In his May 4, 1943, letter from Fort Knox, Ky., he wrote:

"We all know Congress granted the Indian citizenship in 1924, but we still have no privilege to vote. We do not understand what kind of citizenship you would call that."
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Preserving Language Preserving Language

Return Of Mohegan Elder's Diaries To Help Revitalize Language

The diaries of the last fluent speaker of the Mohegan-Pequot language have returned home.

On Nov. 4, the papers of Fidelia "Flying Bird" Fielding, who died in 1908, were transferred from Cornell University Library to the Mohegan Tribe. Mohegan Tribal Historic Preservation Officer James Quinn traveled from Uncasville, Connecticut, to Cornell's Ithaca campus to receive the rare manuscripts from Gerald R. Beasley, the Carl A. Kroch University Librarian. Beasley was accompanied by Tamar Evangelestia-Dougherty, associate university librarian; and Anne Sauer, the Stephen E. and Evalyn Edwards Milman Director of the library's Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections.
 

THE INSPIRING QUEST TO REVIVE THE HAWAIIAN LANGUAGE

Pelehonuamea Suganuma and Kekoa Harman were bright-eyed high schoolers in Honolulu when they first crossed paths, in the 1990s. The two were paired for a performance—a ho'ike, as such shows are known in Hawaiian. Both teenagers had a passion for hula and mele (Hawaiian songs and chants), and they liked performing at the school they'd chosen to attend—Kamehameha High School, part of a 133-year-old private network that gave admissions preference to students of Hawaiian Polynesian ancestry. Still, one part of Hawaiian culture remained frustratingly out of reach for Pele and Kekoa: the language.
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Education News Education News

To Serve Better

"Anytime that you can raise awareness, or address the invisibility of Native American issues in the academy is incredibly impactful."

For Sarah Sadlier, studying history isn't merely about understanding the past but about the insight it lends the present and guidance it provides for the future — especially when it comes to law.

"[There's an] incredible amount of connection between the law and history," says Sadlier, who is currently pursuing joint Ph.D. and J.D. degrees with a focus on Native American history and American Indian law at Harvard. "Historical research is often a great asset when doing legal research."

 

The Power Brokers

In the spring of 1870 Congress was in the process of debating the Indian Appropriations Bill. While the bill's main purpose was to renew or enhance funding for Native peoples and communities, it contained a rider that finally formally ended what is known as the treaty period of federal Indian policy: no longer would Indian tribes be treated as independent nations. Rather, Native people would be treated as individuals, and they would henceforth be considered "wards" of the state. Native Americans weren't considered, and certainly were not treated as, citizens (of the United States or any other nation). Instead, the rhetorical categories of the "Great White Father" and his pitiful "Red Children" were codified into law. But this had been merely one of many possible futures, as Pekka Hämäläinen—a Finnish scholar of American Indian history—makes clear in Lakota America, his profound history of the Lakota people.
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Honoring Honoring

ChangeMakers: Sean Sherman, Teaching Indigenous Food Traditions As Cultural Preservation

Sean Sherman, 46, is a Minneapolis-based chef focusing on preserving Indigenous food traditions and educating people about Indigenous culture. Sherman leads the way in revitalizing traditional Native cuisine and helping others re-learn their ancestral roots. His work focuses on educating people about ancestral diets, culinary practices and the understanding that food is medicine.

Sherman got his start in a kitchen in Rapid City, S.D., called the Sluice. Now based in Minneapolis with his wife Dana Thompson, they run the Sioux Chef which Sherman officially launched in 2014 — though he says the concept had been decades in the making. They also run the nonprofit Natifs, and the newly-launched Indigenous Food Lab, a "nonprofit kitchen focused on creating access to Indigenous education and foods" located in the Minneapolis' Midtown Global Market on Lake Street.
 

The Remarkable And Complex Legacy Of Native American Military Service

What has compelled so many thousands of American Indians, Alaskan Natives and Native Hawaiians to serve in the U.S. military? It's a question the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian aims to answer with a new book and exhibition devoted to the subject, launching today, November 11, Veteran's Day.

Much of what they document in Why We Serve, Native Americans in the United States Armed Forces—a 240-page book that synthesizes established and novel scholarship—may come as a surprise to non-Natives. "The history of Native American service has always been viewed in a reductionist way by the military and by non-Native American society," write authors Alexandra Harris and Mark Hirsch, senior editor and historian, respectively, at the museum. Natives Americans are 'great warriors.' And yet, "not every tribe had a so-called warrior tradition," they write, "many have had distinctly pacific practices, and most balanced warfare with traditions of diplomacy and peace."
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Connections Education News

11 Arizona Tribes Among Broadband License Winners

The Federal Communications Commission has granted broadband spectrum licenses to 11 Arizona tribes in what FCC Chairman Ajit Pai called a "major step forward in our efforts to close the digital divide on tribal lands."

The awards, announced last week, were the result of a "first of its kind" Rural Tribal Priority Window that gave tribes the chance to apply for and receive spectrum licenses at no cost. Those licenses – which can be used for high-speed wireless broadband – are usually auctioned off to the highest bidder.

The licenses "will open the door to economic growth and allow tribal families to work and learn remotely, access telehealth services, and stay connected to loved ones," Democratic Rep. Tom O'Halleran of Sedona said in a statement Wednesday.
 

Ute Indian Tribe Business Committee Secures FCC Spectrum License To Expand Economic Development Opportunities On The Uintah And Ouray Reservation

The Ute Indian Tribal Business Committee is pleased to announce that its application to the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") has been approved to award the Ute Indian Tribe ("Tribe") a license for 2.5 GHz spectrum across the Uintah and Ouray Reservation ("Reservation"). The Tribe had applied for this license under the FCC's Tribal Priority Window, which, subject to certain restrictions, provided Indian tribes the first opportunity to procure a license for spectrum within their tribal lands – and to do so at no cost to tribes.
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Living Traditions Living Traditions

Cherokee Nation Formalizes Purchase Of Will Rogers Birthplace Museum In Oologah

Cherokee Nation announced plans to purchase the historic Will Rogers Birthplace Museum in Rogers County. A small signing ceremony was held at the museum on Wednesday, Nov. 4 to coincide with Will Rogers' birthday and formalize the acquisition from the Oklahoma Historical Society.

"Will Rogers' humor and his unique ability to make complicated political and economic issues easy to understand made him a powerful social critic and commentator.
 

Progress Continues Toward Cultural Center Opening

Construction continues on the 101,000 square foot Choctaw Cultural Center in Durant, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Contractors and staff are at work, ensuring the Center is a place to preserve and teach visitors about the Choctaw culture.

The Center will be an immersive experience. Executive Director of the Cultural Center, Stacy Halfmoon, said, "You begin essentially at time immemorial, with Choctaw origin stories."

Before entering the building, guests are treated to a ¾-mile drive highlighting native Oklahoma prairie land. The landscaping closer to the building was also carefully planted to continue this native prairie feel.
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Living Traditions Living Traditions

Cherokee Eats: Kanuchi

A staple food that Cherokees look forward to in the fall is kanuchi, a hickory nut soup.

Cherokee Nation citizen Roberta Sapp makes the well-known dish annually, having learned the tradition from her grandfather.

Gathering: "Kanuchi is like a dessert, a sweet drink that has rice in it or has hominy in it," Sapp said. "You gather hickory nuts, then you clean them and crack them as small as you can."

Hickory nuts are usually gathered in the fall, cleaned of their husks and sometimes dried before being used.

 

An Ancient Squash Dodges Extinction Thanks To The Efforts Of Native Americans

Last year, Eighth Day Farm in Holland, Michigan, planted some squash seeds they were given, not knowing what they would produce. When the plants eventually grew in as bright orange, two-foot-long squashes, farmer Sarah Hofman-Graham invited Michigan Radio reporter Rebecca Williams over for some soup. The squash "tasted sweet and mild," Williams reports for Michigan Radio.

This isn't the story of a mystery seed producing something tasty— rather the plants tell a story of Native Americans who have recovered an almost-forgotten variety of squash.?
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Going Green  

A Photo Essay

Can Solar Power Lead The Red Lake Nation Toward Energy Independence?

Two years ago, when Robert Blake put 10 people to work fastening solar panels to the roof of the Red Lake Nation Government Center, the solar entrepreneur hoped it would be the start of a lasting development.

The panel installations completed the first phase of a planned 12-step solar project with big goals: Leading the Red Lake Band of Chippewa toward an energy independent future while protecting the environment.
 

The Thanksgiving Myth Gets A Deeper Look This Year
Part Two

 
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Our History  

Our History

Cahokian Culture Spread Across Eastern North America 1,000 years Ago In An Early Example Of Diaspora

An expansive city flourished almost a thousand years ago in the bottomlands of the Mississippi River across the water from where St. Louis, Missouri stands today. It was one of the greatest pre-Columbian cities constructed north of the Aztec city of Tenochititlan, at present-day Mexico City.

The people who lived in this now largely forgotten city were part of a monument-building, corn-farming culture. No one knows what its inhabitants named this place, but today archaeologists call the city Cahokia.
 

Remembering The Trail Of Death And Its Impact On The Potawatomi People

Nov. 4 marks the 182nd anniversary of the Potawatomi arriving to their final destination on the Trail of Death at the Sugar Creek reservation in present-day Kansas. The forced removal began on Sept. 4, 1828, at Chief Menominee's village in Indiana. More than 850 Potawatomi made the journey, and 42 perished, mostly children and elderly. Written and visual records help chronicle this trying time in the Tribe's history, and utilizing these resources help Tribal members and others acknowledge the tenacity and resilient spirit of the Potawatomi people.

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Our History  

Girl Power!!

Researchers Uncover 2,000-Year-Old Maya Water Filtration System

More than 2,000 years ago, the Maya built a complex water filtration system out of materials collected miles away. Now, reports Michelle Starr for Science Alert, researchers conducting excavations at the ancient city of Tikal in northern Guatemala have discovered traces of this millennia-old engineering marvel.
 

This Prehistoric Peruvian Woman Was A Big-Game Hunter

Archaeologists in Peru have found the 9,000-year-old skeleton of a young woman who appears to have been a big-game hunter. Combined with other evidence, the researchers argue in the journal Science Advances, the discovery points to greater involvement of hunter-gatherer women in bringing down large animals than previously believed.
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About This Issue's Greeting - "Wa s iyatee?"
"How are you?" is "Wa s iyatee?" in Tlingit. That is pronounced similar to "wah sah ee-yah-te." But that is not generally used as a greeting. Modern Tlingit people sometimes greet each other with "Yak'i yagiyee" which literally means "good day."
Nature's Beauty:
Tlingit Artist Designs Stamp
 
This Issue's
Favorite Web sites
 
A Story To Share:
Raven The Trickster
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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 - 2020 of Vicki Williams Barry and Paul Barry.
 

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