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

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January 2018 - Volume 16 Number 1
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The Siberian Yupik Greeting
Means “We Welcome You”


"Frozen ground"
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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
Bethany Bruno

Tribal member's psychological research of Potawatomi presented at national conference.

As a child welfare specialist, Bethany Bruno makes tough decisions every day about the lives and futures of children in Oklahoma foster care. She focuses specifically on permanency planning for children at the Department of Human Services Pontotoc County Office in Ada.
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Our Featured Artist: Honoring Students
Artwork Unveiled For Legislative Chamber; Mrs. McManus Honored

Two art pieces were unveiled Nov. 17 during a ceremony honoring the late Chickasaw legislator Dean McManus.

Chickasaw artists Dustin Mater and Brent Greenwood unveiled their commissioned art pieces to the Chickasaw legislature. Mrs. McManus was herself memorialized in one of the works.

College Awarded $2M For Native Students, Nurses

San Juan College has been awarded two grants worth more than $2 million to help Native American students complete their degrees and provide scholarships for students in the nursing program.

The college was awarded a five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education that is worth about $1.73 million, according to John Boggs, the college's senior director of the Student Success Center.

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Our Featured Story: First Person History:
Award-Winning Documentary Aims To Recruit, Retain American Indian Nurses

Madonna White Bear Azure remembers being the only American Indian in nursing school at the University of North Dakota back when she graduated in 1982.

Now there are programs dedicated to recruiting and retaining native nurses at UND, and at North Dakota State University where the Indigenous Wisdom in Nursing (I-WIN) program had its first graduate in 2016.

Who First Mined Copper
on Lake Superior?

Twenty-five years ago two men discovered the tracks of a hedgehog in the snow a few miles from Ontonagon and followed them to a ledge of rocks near Minnesota Copper Mine. They began digging and soon struck the entrance to a small cavern in the rock; continuing the excavation they soon found that the cavern had been formed by human agency. A well defined vein of native copper running through the rock, and numerous stone hammers scattered about proved that the excavation had been made for mining purposes.

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Education News Education News
Education Set To Improve For Anishinabek Students

A "life-changing" approach to educating Indigenous children in 23 Ontario First Nations, emphasizing aboriginal culture and language, is to go into effect next spring.

The stage for the Anishinabek Nation System was set in mid-December following the passage in the Senate of the Anishinabek Nation Education Agreement, or Bill C-61.

The agreement is the result of 20 years of activism towards "delivering culturally-relevant and community-tailored education programs and services for the benefit of current and future generations of Anishinabek students," an Anishinabek Nation news release says.

Arctic Ice Melts, and a Digital Rush Follows.

POINT HOPE, Alaska — This is one of the most remote towns in the United States, a small gravel spit on the northwest coast of Alaska, more than 3,700 miles from New York City. Icy seas surround it on three sides, leaving only an unpaved path to the mainland.

Getting here from Anchorage, about 700 miles away, requires two flights. Roads do not connect the two places. Basics like milk and bread are delivered by air, and gas is brought in by barge during the summer.

"I don't know if people even know that we exist," said Daisy Sage, the mayor.

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Honoring Students Education News
B.C. Teen Developing App And Summer Camp To Revitalize Dakelh Language

A 15-year-old in Prince George, B.C., will be spending 2018 trying to revitalize the language her family spoke for generations through an app and a summer camp.

Tessa Erickson is a high school student and a member of the Nak'azdli Whut'en First Nation. Growing up, she said, her father would occasionally speak to her in the Nak'azdli dialect of the Dakelh language historically spoken in central B.C., even though he wasn't fluent.

"He would just teach me small words," Erickson said.

Genome Analysis Pinpoints Arrival and Spread of First Americans

The original Americans came from Siberia in a single wave no more than 23,000 years ago, at the height of the last Ice Age, and apparently hung out in the north – perhaps for thousands of years – before spreading in two distinct populations throughout North and South America, according to a new genomic analysis.

The findings, which will be reported in the July 24 issue of Science, confirm the most popular theory of the peopling of the Americas, but throws cold water on others, including the notion of an earlier wave of people from East Asia prior to the last glacial maximum, and the idea that multiple independent waves produced the major subgroups of Native Americans we see today, as opposed to diversification in the Americas.

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Honoring Students Education News
Harvard Undergrad Cracks Code Of Knotted Inca Rope Used As 'An Ancient Excel Spreadsheet'

Instead of partying during his spring break, Harvard undergrad Manny Medrano stayed on campus and deciphered the meaning of an ancient Inca khipu.

Khipus are knotted string devices used by the Inca people to record information like censuses and tax records.

"For about a hundred years, researchers have understood that many of these artifacts — there's about 1,000 of these khipus still in existence today — encoded mathematical data," Medrano, 21, told As It Happens guest host Helen Mann.

"Kind of like an ancient Excel spreadsheet."

Blanket Exercise Wrapped Into RCMP Cadet Training

One by one, blankets are removed from Turtle Island and people are sent off their common land to the fringes, lost to smallpox and other diseases or removed from their families and homes.

In the course of one morning, about 20 RCMP instructors walked through more than 500 years of Indigenous history, as they took part in a blanket exercise that will become part and parcel of all new RCMP cadets' training from Dec. 5 onwards.

For Tara McMillan, who works in administrative services at the RCMP academy in Regina, the morning was "an eye-opening" experience.

"I realize that I have been very ignorant about our history and what has happened to the Indigenous people here in Canada," she said.

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Preserving Language Education News
"Ojibway Netflix" App Launched As Part Of Effort To Revive American Indian languages In Minnesota

A new TV streaming app dubbed "the Ojibway Netflix" was launched this month by a Winnipeg-based company that says the app is the first Ojibwe-language streaming service.

It's the latest effort in a growing movement across Minnesota and the region to tap new technology to revive American Indian languages.
Alberta Métis Man Wins High-Voltage National Business Award

When Jordan Jolicoeur took over his dad's small, part-time electrical business, striking deals with big energy companies was a distant dream.

That was in 2013, when he and his brother, Joel, became the owners of Carvel Electric, based in Stony Plain, Alta.

At the time, the brothers were happy to take any job they could land.

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Living Traditions Living Traditions
Spirit Aligned Leadership Program Announces Its First Circle Legacy Leaders

The eight Indigenous women Elders are acknowledged and celebrated for being vessels of their traditional ways and for leading in sustaining and creating legacies of strength and resilience for their own people, for all Native peoples and for all of humanity. We honor their gift of ancestral knowledge that they have so courageously and unassumingly spent a lifetime nurturing. The Legacy Leaders selected interweave indigenous knowledge, at times with western science, and embody integrity at its highest form.

Bemidji Man Helps Fuel Lacrosse Revival With Traditional Sticks

Maxwell Kelsey sharpens the blade of his simple, two-handled draw knife, then pulls it in long and careful strokes over a freshly split piece of ash wood.

Kelsey, 34, never breaks his gaze, even as wood shavings fly into his beard and torn flannel shirt. For hours without rest, he splits, carves and steams the long ash sticks and then, proudly, lifts his finished product in the air: A wooden lacrosse stick, made using the same techniques as indigenous peoples of centuries ago.

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Living Traditions Living Traditions
Chickasaw Vietnam Vets Honored

Several Chickasaw Vietnam War veterans have vivid memories of the disdain some citizens of a divided nation exhibited toward them almost 50 years ago.

They are seeing a different attitude now.

The group of 17 Chickasaw warriors witnessed the 35th anniversary commemoration of the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial in Washington during a tour of the nation's capital sponsored by the Chickasaw Nation to honor their service, dedication and bravery.
B.C. Court Rules American Indigenous Man Has Right To Hunt In Canada

Judge rules man's tribe lived on both sides of the border

An American Indigenous man's right to hunt in Canada has been upheld by a judge because his ancestors traditionally hunted in this country.

Richard Desautel was charged with violations under British Columbia's Wildlife Act after he shot and killed a cow elk near Castlegar, B.C. in 2010.
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Living Traditions   Living Traditions
Fond du Lac Continues To Lead In Energy Efficiency

Fond du Lac has been working hard over the last decade to decrease carbon emissions, and it has been paying for itself in many ways, most recently on Nov. 2, when members from Minnesota Energy Resources presented the Fond du Lac Band's Reservation Business Committee and other FDL employees with a check for $129,013 as a rebate for FDL's energy services contract.

New Caddo Springs Walking Trail Exhibits Education And Historic Scenery

Years ago, piles of trash and dumpsters filled the grounds of Cheyenne and Arapaho tribal land. Over time and with a little bit of help, the same location where much of history is held, is being put to great use by preservation.

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In Every Issue Banner
About This Issue's Greeting -"Quyakamsi"
Siberian Yupik is spoken in the two St. Lawrence Island villages of Gambell and Savoonga. The language of St. Lawrence Island is nearly identical to the language spoken across the Bering Strait on the tip of the Siberian Chukchi Peninsula. The total Siberian Yupik population in Alaska is about 1,100, and of that number about 1,050 speak the language. Children in both Gambell and Savoonga still learn Siberian Yupik as the first language of the home. Of a population of about 900 Siberian Yupik people in Siberia, there are about 300 speakers, although no children learn it as their first language. Although much linguistic and pedagogical work had been published in Cyrillic on the Siberian side, very little was written for St. Lawrence Island until the 1960s when linguists devised a modern orthography. Researchers at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks revised that orthography in 1971, and since then a wide variety of curriculum materials, including a preliminary dictionary and a practical grammar, have become available for the schools.
Nature's Beauty:
About Wasps
This Issue's
Favorite Web sites
A Story To Share:
Man Who Helped the Eagles
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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 - 2018 of Vicki Williams Barry and Paul Barry.

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