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

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July 2021 - Volume 19 Number 7
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"Wáa sá iyatee?"
The Tlingit Greeting
How are you?

Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao)

"Hotehimini kiishthwa"
Strawberry Moon
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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
Mary Simon

A longtime advocate for Inuit rights and a former leader of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference has been tapped as Canada's 30th governor general, the first Indigenous person to hold the office. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the appointment of Mary Simon on June 6 followed by a press conference at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec. Trudeau said Queen Elizabeth II has approved the appointment.
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Our Featured Artist: Honoring Educators

From The Rez To National News Anchor

Aliyah Chavez has dreamt of being on a television news program since her childhood. Now her dream is coming true. She is now the anchor for ICT's newscast, the news organization announced Tuesday at the Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Choctaw Nation Member Superintendent Of The Year

April J. Grace, Ed.D., has recently been named Oklahoma's Superintendent of the Year. The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma (CNO) tribal member has served as superintendent of Shawnee Public Schools since 2016, topping off more than 30 years as an educator in Oklahoma.
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Our Featured Story: First Person History:

Paradigm Shift: Tribe Is Now An Owner Of The Power Grid

A news release includes some almost hidden news. The lede: "Southern California Edison, one of the nation's largest electric utilities, has completed its West of Devers transmission lines." The company said the deal was important because it added more power, renewable and battery energy storage to serve Southern California.

OK so far. Reading further down it's clear that a tribe is involved with the project. A new company, Morongo Transmission, owned by the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, will invest in the project and that's what allowed Southern California Edison to build the $740 million project across tribal lands.

A New Chahta Homeland: A History by the Decade, 1880-1890

Iti Fabvssa is currently running a series that covers the span of Oklahoma Choctaw history. By examining each
decade since the Choctaw government arrived in our new homelands using Choctaw-created documents, we
will get a better understanding of Choctaw ancestors’ experiences and how they made decisions that have led
us into the present. This month, we will cover 1880-1890, an era in which Choctaw Nation worked to maintain
sovereignty in the face of the growing influence of non-Choctaws living within the Choctaw Nation.
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Restoring Traditions Restoring Traditions

Cecelia Brooks Uses Elder Teachings And Science To Reinvent Traditional Foods And Medicines

Cecilia Brooks is an elder of Wolastoqey, Mi'kmaq, Mohawk and Korean ancestry who calls St. Mary's First Nation home. She specializes in traditional plant knowledge.

Brooks grew up in different countries because her dad was in the U.S. military. He was her first teacher of traditional Wolastoqey knowledge, but she got her first taste of foraging from her Korean mom.

Harvesting Sacred Cedar

Puyallup tribal members led by elder and culture director Connie McCloud are harvesting sacred cedar on their ancestral lands for the first time in years.

"Our reservation has become so urbanized and we lost so much property with the coming of the treaties. Our traditional territories are shared, here we're on state property. So this is the first time we're harvesting on our ancestral lands for a very, very long time. And for many of the families and individuals, this is the first time that they've been able to traditionally follow our culture and help our community pick those practices back up," McCloud said.
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Restoring Traditions Restoring Traditions

Meet The Woman Restoring Native American Peaches To The Southwest

Reagan Wytsalucy grew up in Gallup, New Mexico, just outside the Navajo Nation reservation. Despite her Native heritage, she grew up “very absorbed into westernized culture,” she says. Her father owned several McDonald’s franchises on the reservation, and she never learned to speak the language. It wasn’t until she started to study plant sciences in college that her father told her about the peaches that once thrived on the reservation where he grew up.

Wakan Tipi Center Aims For Spring Groundbreaking

Community supporters in St. Paul and at Minnesota's four Dakota communities are still raising funds and making plans with their sights set on a spring groundbreaking for the Wakan Tipi Center that is envisioned as a great Dakota heritage preservation and learning center.

With a recent $1 million appropriation from the Minnesota Legislature and additional financial help from the Prairie Island Indian Community, backers of Wakan Tipi have now raised $6.4 million of the $7.7 million needed to start work on the center.
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Celebrating Success Celebrating Success

How An Indigenous-Owned Adventure Company Is Bringing Bike Tourism To The Navajo Nation

Bikepacking, a heart-pumping blend of mountain biking and camping, is well established on long-distance bike routes like the Colorado Trail and Alaska's Denali Park Road. Similar to backpacking, it's an immersion into the elements, from camping beneath bright cosmos to cycling through unspoiled wilderness—two natural features the Navajo Nation is blessed with across its 27,000 square miles of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.

But until recently, the reservation's bike tourism was more than lacking—bike tours weren't legally recognized as a permitted tourism category. In 2016, avid Navajo mountain biker and former racer Jon Yazzie of Kayenta, Arizona, set out to change that.

Neilson Powless Is The First Tribally Recognized Native North American To Race The Tour De France

As children, Neilson Powless and his sister Shayna often traveled during the summers from their home in Roseville, California to Green Bay, Wisconsin. With their parents, Jack and Jeanette, the family visited friends and relatives and absorbed an important part of the Powless family heritage.

Jack Powless is half Oneida, the People of the Upright Stone, and one of five Iroquois Nation tribes. The Oneida originally inhabited what is now central New York. But it's now prominent in two locations in Ontario, Canada, and on the Oneida Nation near Green Bay.
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Prserving Our Heritage Prserving Our Heritage

Native Americans Are Transporting A 5,000-Pound Totem Pole To D.C. From The Pacific Northwest

A 5,000-pound totem pole that was hand-carved by Native Americans is coming from Washington state to be on display in the nation's capital this summer after a journey that organizers hope will raise awareness about protecting land that is sacred to tribes.

The totem pole's journey on a tractor-trailer, which organizers are calling the "Red Road to D.C.," involves a two-week trek led by about a dozen people, many of whom are Native Americans and members of the Lummi Nation, a tribe of about 5,000 members west of Bellingham, Wash. About $500,000 has been raised from dozens of nonprofits, sponsors, and tribal groups for the cross-country trip.

Chahta Nowvt Aya: The Journey Of The Choctaw Nation Of Oklahoma Comes To Life July 23

The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma today announced that its new Choctaw Cultural Center, which tells the 14,000-year-history of the Chahta people and represents more than a decade of research and work in creating the space, will officially open July 23 on the prairie land of southeastern Oklahoma in Durant. Featuring rich interactive and immersive exhibitions and engaging programs and activities, the Choctaw Cultural Center showcases the Nation's treasured history and culture, and serves as a place to gather, learn, and preserve the Choctaw spirit and way of life.
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Living Traditions Living Traditions

Brooklyn Museum Returns 1,305 Pre-Hispanic Artifacts To Costa Rica

The Brooklyn Museum in New York City has voluntarily returned 1,305 pre-Hispanic artifacts—including stone figurines, ceramic vessels and tools—to the Museo Nacional de Costa Rica in San José.

As Alvaro Murillo reports for Reuters, the objects arrived in the Central American country late last year. Per a statement, the New York cultural institution previously sent 981 ceramic vessels back to Costa Rica in 2011. Both gifts were unprompted, meaning that the Brooklyn Museum sent the items without receiving a formal request or undergoing a judicial process.

How Indigenous Leaders Are Pushing To Vaccinate Their Hard-Hit Communities

When the COVID-19 pandemic reached the Great Plains in early 2020, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe set up checkpoints on all roads passing through the Cheyenne River reservation in a robust effort to protect tribal members. But over the past year, Indigenous leaders—from Alaska to Western New York—have made strides in vaccination rates.

The pandemic has hit Indigenous communities disproportionately hard, compounded by generations of historical trauma and mistrust. According to an independent study done by the APM Research Lab published in March 2021, Indigenous Americans have the highest actual COVID-19 mortality rates nationwide, accounting for 256 per 100,000 deaths in the United States.
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Prserving Our Heritage Sharing Knowledge

Colorado to Give In-State College Tuition to 46 Tribes Starting Fall 2022

DENVER, CO — Hundreds of Native American students whose ancestors were forcibly relocated from their homelands throughout the 1800s by the U.S. government will be allowed in-state tuition to Colorado public colleges and universities beginning next June, after a new bill was signed into law earlier this week.

NAU Professor Inspires Students While Advancing Cancer Research

FLAGSTAFF, AZ – Dr. Jani Ingram, regents professor and environmental chemist at Northern Arizona University, is working on cancer research while training Native students through Partnership for Native American Cancer Prevention.
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Preserving Traditions   Celebrating Success

Cherokee Nation, Eastern Band Of Cherokee Indians Join To Preserve Language, Culture

CHEROKEE, N.C. – The Cherokee Nation and Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians joined as sister tribes at the Kituwah Mound near Cherokee recently to protect and preserve the Cherokee language, history and culture.

Chase Soosay Of Samson Cree Nation Receives Top Honour From MacEwan University

Chase Soosay said he was stunned when a professor mentioned he wanted to nominate him for one of MacEwan University's most prestigious student awards.

So when the school's president, Dr. Annette Trimbee, called in June, telling him he had won the President's Medal, he was even more amazed.
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Celebrating Success   Preserving Traditions

Cherokee Chef Serves Comfort Food From Food Truck

STILWELL, OK – Josh Hitcher, owner of Boss Dogs food truck, started out nine years ago with just a hot dog cart.

Hitcher wanted to get into the food service industry but was unsure of how to get started. His late mother pitched him the idea of purchasing a hot dog cart and insisted that it would be a good place to start.

Indigenous Students Paddle Handmade Birch Bark Canoe On Speed River

Five Indigenous students from the Upper Grand District School Board (UGDSB) have built a handmade birch bark canoe and paddled it on the Speed River.

Mentored by longtime canoe builder Chuck Commanda, it took the students nine days — working seven hours a day — to craft the vessel. They used natural materials including spruce root, birch bark, cedar, ironwood and oak.
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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:
This Issue's
Favorite Web sites
A Story To Share:
Origin Of The Raven And The Macaw
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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 - 2021 of Vicki Williams Barry and Paul Barry.

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