Youth and Education News
November 17, 2004, Issue 142 Volume 1
"The role of food is important, but it's gotten to the point where we become gluttons.... We could spend a lot more time really thinking about what's going on in our world and giving more thanks." Flying Eagle, chief of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe
Editor's Note: Our next Native Village Publication will be posted December 1, 2004. We are spending the Day of Mourning/Thanksgiving week with family and friends.
Running Back Home
California: After six months of running, the Peace and Dignity Journey 2004 has come to an end. Every four years since 1992, American Indians run the length of North and South America to encourage unity among tribes and to inspire a better future for succeeding generations. Two groups of runners begin at opposite ends of the continents; one group begins in Alaska and the other in Argentina. This year's journey, which honored "the spirit of the woman," ended in Panama City. Hector Cerda, whose mother is Apache and father is Purepecha, joined a group of 30 runners who averaged 70 miles a day. Cerda contributed 10 miles a day. One stop in El Salvador made a lasting impression. Four grandmothers met their entourage in El Salvador, and one expressed her disappointment of not welcoming the runners with cultural songs and flowers. Then, a runner told her she would get the chance. "The look on her face, it was like she was refreshed in her spirit," Cerda said. "It also really made me feel good. I had felt sad for her. We came back the next day and it was beautiful the way they greeted us."
In October, 13 grandmothers from around all the world -- the Arctic Circle, North, South, and Central America, Africa, and Asia -- met in New York for the first Global Grandmothers' Council. They came to discuss the fate of the earth and how to revive the traditions, rituals and medicines that can save it. For three days these grandmothers, who are trained shamans and medicine women, came together to talk about the most ancient and modern way in which women can organize, both personally and politically, to preserve their cultures and take care of the future. After the three-day summit, the Global Women's Gathering continued over the next four days. An audience of three hundred people joined the original 13. In that unified voice, the grandmothers began a discussion about how to work to save their families, their communities, and their lives on this planet. At the end of the conference, the grandmothers created of a statement of intent of their new global alliance. "We come together to nurture, educate and train our children. We come together to uphold the practice of our ceremonies and to affirm the right to use our plant medicines free of legal restrictions. We come together to protect the lands where our peoples live and upon which our cultures depend, to safeguard the collective heritage of traditional medicines, and to defend the Earth herself. We believe the teachings of our ancestors will light our way through an uncertain future."
and Relics Left by Louisiana's First People are Older than the Pyramids and Stonehenge
Louisiana: The Poverty Point site in northeastern Louisiana is one of approximately 700 ancient mounds in Louisiana. At least eight are ceremonial grounds and are believed to have been built between 4000 B.C.--2500 B.C. The earliest Indian mounds near Monroe and the Louisiana State University campus are older than the pyramids, older than Stonehenge, and were ancient when the Parthenon was new. These are among the oldest and best preserved Indian mounds in the world. Jon Gibson, retired professor from the University of Louisiana, said the Poverty Point complex is "the largest, earliest town in the U.S, maybe in the Western Hemisphere." Other archeologists believe that the complex was a campground, occupied only for ceremonies and trade fairs. These people of the Poverty Point culture are prehistoric ancestors of Indian nations such as the Caddo, Tunica and Choctaw
TRUE THANKSGIVING: A Day of Mourning
Most children know that Native Americans helped the Pilgrims, but most do not know why many American Indians today call Thanksgiving a "Day of Mourning."
Before 1620, Plymouth had been a Pawtuxet village. It was wiped out by a plague introduced by English explorers in 1615.
The nearest native people to the Pilgrims were the Wampanoag whose lands stretched from Narragansett Bay to Cape Cod.
Native peoples had met Europeans before the Pilgrims arrived. One was Captain Thomas Hunt, who traded with Native people. In 1614, he captured 20 Pawtuxets and 7 Nausets and sold them as slaves in Spain. Other Europeans did the same thing.
Europeans brought diseases like smallpox, typhus, and measles to the New World. Native people had no immunity. Between 72,000-90,000 people lived in southern New England before European contact. One hundred years later, their numbers were reduced to 14,400-18,000.
When the Pilgrims discovered Native people buried their dead with stores of corn and beans, they dug up many graves, taking the food.
Capt. John Smith named the New England area when he began exploring it in 1614 to find gold. Disappointed in his search, he set his men to fishing for cod. In 1640, 300,000 cod were exported to Europe. Even more was being traded to the West Indies in exchange for rum and molasses. To this day, a wooden sculpture of a cod adorns the Massachusetts State House in tribute of the source of their state's greatness.
Read the entire article: http://www.americanindiansource.com/thanksgiving.html
The first Thanksgiving
Everyone knows about the Pilgrims and the Indians, right? How the two groups gathered peacefully in Plymouth, Mass., to feast on juicy turkeys and colorful pumpkin pies. The trouble is, almost everything we've been taught about the first Thanksgiving in 1621 is a myth. The holiday has two distinct histories -- the actual one and a romanticized portrayal based on two passages written by colonists. One man who would like people to know more about the actual Thanksgiving is Flying Eagle, (Earl Mills Sr.,) chief of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe. "Things have changed so much," he said. "Young people today don't remember what it was like 50 or 100 years ago [when] we picked our own cranberries from our own cranberry bogs, and we caught rabbits... It is not just the eating, but the gathering together, preparing, and thanking that matters. The role of food is important, but it's gotten to the point where we become gluttons.... We could spend a lot more time really thinking about what's going on in our world and giving more thanks."
What historians do know about Thanksgiving:
The first Thanksgiving was a harvest celebration in 1621 that lasted for three days.
The feast most likely occurred between Sept. 21 and Nov. 11.
.Approximately 90 Wampanoag Indians and 52 colonists -- the latter mostly women and children -- participated.
The Wampanoag, led by Chief Massasoit, contributed at least five deer to the feast.
Cranberry sauce, potatoes -- white or sweet -- and pies were not on the menu.
The Pilgrims and Wampanoag communicated through Squanto, a member of the Patuxet tribe, who knew English because he had associated with earlier explorers.
Besides meals, the event included recreation and entertainment.
There are only two surviving descriptions of the first Thanksgiving. One is in a letter by colonist Edward Winslow. He mentions some of the food and activities. The second description was in a book written by William Bradford 20 years afterward. His account was lost for almost 100 years.
Abraham Lincoln named Thanksgiving an annual holiday in 1863.
SIUE historian offers a rare look at life among Cherokees
Georgia : Rowenja McClinton, 63, is an assistant professor at Southern Illinois University who specializes in Native American studies. She is studying the Moravian missionary movement in the 18th and 19th centuries. The movement was led by German immigrants who lived and worked with Native Americans in Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio and Georgia. Most of her work has focused on Anna Rosina and John Gambold who operated Springplace Mission in northwest Georgia. "Anna Rosina was the chief diarist at Springplace from 1805 to 1821," said McClinton "She exquisitely recorded Cherokee culture during those years in a very intimate way." One of the Moravians' goals was to convert Native Americans to Christianity. Most Cherokees weren't interested in the white man's religion, but they cooperated so their children could learn to read and write English. "They wanted to be able to communicate with these white settlers who were encroaching on their land and resources," McClinton said. "The missionaries were viewed as tools to provide these skills." The Cherokees and Moravians got along well most of the time. Both lived regimented lifestyles, and both relied heavily on agriculture. "They had incredible respect for the contributions the land made to their survival and existence," McClinton said. "There was a sacredness to what was produced on the earth." The Moravians were forced from Springplace by bayonet in 1833 because they refused to swear allegiance to the state of Georgia. Five years later, the U.S. government relocated Cherokees to the Oklahoma Territory. Thousands died on that Trail of Tears.
Dakota Indians Re-enact 1862 March to "Remember and grieve"
Minnesota: Sixty Dakota Indians have completed a 150- mile march to honor their ancestors' march 142 years ago. Following the 1862 Dakota Conflict, in which hundreds of white settlers and Dakota were killed, the Dakota surrendered to federal troops. About 1,700 Dakota women, children and elderly unable to flee to the prairies were taken to the Lower Sioux Reservation in Minnesota and force-marched to Fort Snelling through angry mobs and frigid weather. "We do this to remember what happened and to grieve," said 2004 march organizer Diane Wilson, who had several ancestors in the 1862 march. "We've never had a period to grieve, to deal with what happened." Most of the Dakota warriors who were captured were taken to Mankato, where 38 were hanged in the largest mass execution in U.S. history.
Indians Relive Island Occupation, 35 Years Later
California: More than 100 Americans Indians recently gathered at Alcatraz Island to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the Indian occupation of the former prison. The federal penitentiary was closed in 1963, and Indians lobbied U.S. officials to establish an American Indian cultural center there. "They wouldn't give it to us, but it was the Indian occupation that led to Alcatraz becoming part of the national park system," said Adam Nordwall, Chippewa. The Alcatraz occupation, which lasted 19 months, took place at a time when the government had dismantled about 100 reservations, rancherias and tribal bands nationwide and moved 200,000 Indians into relocation centers. "It was pretty obvious that it was the end of the line, until we had the audacity to take this island," Nordwall said. "Once we got this going, it was the domino effect in Indian country." Edward Castillo, a professor at Sonoma State University, was with the Indian's first landing party on Nov. 20, 1969. Castillo, of the Cahuilla and Luiseno tribes, spoke of how he spent five weeks on the island. "Even though we didn't succeed with the occupation, what we did here changed things," Castillo said. The Alcatraz occupation precipitated dozens of similar protests across the United States.
Lafayette County hopes to replace missing statue
Mississippi: Police in Toccopola still have no leads on the theft of the Betty Allen memorial statue stolen before the town's September Betty Allen Festival. The statue honored Elizabeth "Betty" Love Allen, a Chickasaw woman who made legal history for women's property rights. After her husband died in the 1830s, Betty wanted to keep property she owned before her marriage. Mississippi didn't give women that right, but a state appeals court bowed to Chickasaw law, which did. In setting that legal precedent, Mississippi became a pioneer in safeguarding the property rights of married women. Betty's Chickasaw people lived in settlements scattered through today's Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama. They first encountered white men, probably explorers from Hernando DeSoto's gold-seeking mission, in the mid-16th century. Their stand against white invaders failed in the 1830s and they, along with the Choctaws, Creeks, Cherokees and Seminoles, were forced to move west.
Medal of Honor winners who are also Native American
Numerous American Indians and Alaska Natives have served bravely in the U.S. military. During the 20th century, five have been recognized with deeds so heroic that they were awarded the United States' highest military honor: the Medal of Honor
Jack C. Montgomery: Cherokee; Oklahoma; First Lieutenant -- 45th Infantry Division, Thunderbirds. In February 1944, near Padiglione, Italy, Montgomery single-handedly attacked three echelons of enemy forces, taking prisoners in the process. His actions demoralized the enemy and inspired his men to defeat the Axis troops.
Ernest Childers: Creek; Oklahoma; First Lieutenant--45th Infantry Division. In 1943, Childers and eight men charged the enemy against machine gun fire. With a broken foot, Childers advanced up the hill, single-handedly killing two snipers, silencing two machine gun nests, and capturing an enemy mortar observer.
Van Barfoot: Choctaw; Mississippi; Second Lieutenant -- Thunderbirds. In May 1944, in Italy, Barfoot knocked out two machine gun nests, captured 17 German soldiers, repelled a German tank assault, destroyed a Nazi fieldpiece and carried two wounded commanders to safety.
Mitchell Red Cloud Jr., Winnebago; Wisconsin; Corporal -- Company E., 19th Infantry Regiment in Korea. In November 1950, Red Cloud was surprised by Chinese communist forces while guarding his company command post. He sounded the alarm and stayed in position firing his automatic rifle to check the assault. Severely wounded by enemy fire, Red Cloud refused assistance and continued firing until he was fatally wounded. His actions prevented the Chinese from overrunning his company's position and gained time for evacuation of the wounded.
Charles George: Cherokee; North Carolina; Private First Class. In November 1952, during battle in Korea, George threw himself upon a grenade and smothered it with his body. In doing so, he sacrificed his own life but saved the lives of his comrades.
Native American Times
Area residents earn prestigious Sagamore award
Indiana: Recently, several American Indians received the prestigious Sagamore of the Wabash award. "The award is bestowed upon individuals whose life's work has been beneficial to the state of Indiana, instrumental in the preservation of the Delaware culture in Oklahoma and important to the education of Indian citizens," said Dr. James Brown from Indiana University. Five Delaware Indians receiving awards were Dee Ketchum, Annette Ketchum, Michael Pace, and Douglas Buck of Indiana, and Donald Secondine from Ohio. The term "Sagamore" was used by the American Indian tribes of the northeastern United States to describe a lesser chief or a great man among the tribe to whom the true Chief would look for wisdom and advice.
Attack on Miami Indians' past
Indiana: The Miami Indian cemetery in Grant County was recently vandalized by someone who broke the front lock at the gate and drove a large truck into the cemetery. Of the close to 30 headstones, all but 2 or 3 were pushed into the mud and some broken. Miami Indians say their cemetery is sacred ground. "I don't understand how somebody can do something like this," said John Dunnagan, Vice-Chief of the Miami Nation of Indians. The estimated cost to repair all the damage is around $10,000, an amount the Miami tribe doesn't have. They hope part of the guilty partys' punishment will be to pay what's needed to do the repairs. "I would hope they would have to pay for it and come out here and help fix it. And maybe that would teach them what this means to other people," said Sarah Tolley. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Grant County Sheriff's Department at (765) 668-8168.
Tribe celebrates opening of new longhouse
Washington: Carvings of an owl, whales and snakes adorn the planks of the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe's new longhouse, the first gathering place built on the Kitsap Peninsula reservation in more than a century. The 5,700-square-foot longhouse, made of Douglas fir harvested from the S'Klallam reservation, will be a place where friends and family can gather, said Ron Charles, S'Klallam tribal chairman. "That's the type of building we wanted to build here. A place where we could do those ceremonies, have funerals, weddings, celebrations and different types of big events that will take place in the Longhouse here," he said. Angelina Ives, 11, agrees. "I think it's good for when we have powwows and the people from the other tribes can come and see how we've done it," said the member of the S'Klallam tribal dancers.
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