Native Village 

Youth and Education News

October 6, 2004,  Issue 139 Volume 1

"There were [nearly 50 million] people here who had found the continent tens of thousands of years before [Columbus.]  I think he loses the right to be called the discoverer."
Chuck Hunt, Lane Community College
Miracle, a symbol of peace, passes away
Miracle, the Sacred White Buffalo and international symbol of peace, died September 19, 2004 at the Heider farm in Janesville, WI. The vet was with Miracle for much of last weekend but couldn't save her "She became sick on Friday," Dave Heider said. "She was off her feed and became lethargic. We don't believe she was suffering; it looked like she was resting peacefully." Miracle was born on Aug. 20, 1994.  he first all-white buffalo born since 1933, Miracle was a sacred figure to many American Indians. According to a Lakota Sioux legend, the return of the female white buffalo calf heralded an era of peace and understanding among the people of the Earth. Over the years, Miracle turned black, red and yellow, as the prophecies said she would, to reflect all human races. It's not known why Miracle died, and the Heiders thought it would be inappropriate to do an autopsy.

Sign Miracle's Memorial Book: Miracle, A Symbol of Peace, Passes Away

Ceremonies Honor Miracle, the Sacred White Buffalo
Wisconsin: Ceremonies were held last week in Janesville to honor Miracle, the Sacred White buffalo, who died of natural causes on September 19, 2004. Smudging, gifting, singing, drumming, and praying were expressed by the many mourners attending several days of farewell events. Printed prayers and messages from Native Village readers were held during ceremonies by elders who will dispose of them an appropriate manner.  Miracle was buried on the Heider farm next to her father.  Yearly celebrations will continue at the Heider farm to celebrate Miracle's life and message. 
Native Village

Former leader of American Indian Movement says peace the only hope
WINNIPEG : Russell Means,  former leader of the American Indian Movement, once believed aboriginal people were destined for a violent, armed struggle with whites. Today, however, he believes peace is the only way for native people to find success on or off the reserve without abandoning traditional ways.  "The indigenous struggle throughout the world is the same," said Means, 64. "I believe in individual liberty through self-determination and through representative government."

Scientists Protest Campbell's Bill To Protect Ancient Skeleton
Scientists hoping to study the ancient skeleton known as Kennewick Man are protesting that a bill sponsored by Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell will block their efforts.  If enacted, scientists say the bill could have the effect of overturning a court ruling allowing them to study the 9,300-year-oldbones. The skeleton was discovered in 1996 along the Columbia River in Washington and has been the focus of a bitter eight-year fight. Four Northwest tribes claim they are entitled to the bones under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). The tribes want the bones reburied without any scientific studies.
To see more information on the bill, S. 2843, go to
H-Amindian Listserv

Saving Two Rivers Mounds

( 1998-2003 Troy Bartlett)

Tennessee: At the convergence of the French Broad and Little Pigeon Rivers lies a point of land approximately 11.5 acres in size.  Current owners hope to sell the land for condominium development, but protesters are gathering in numbers to stop them. The site, called Two Rivers Mounds, has a history of habitation and use dating back to 1000 AD.  Indigenous cultures--including Woodland, Mississippian Dallas Phase, and perhaps the Cherokee--may have inhabited as recently as 200 years ago. Archeological evidence shows the existence of two burial mounds, a temple mound and as many as 1500 burials on the site. Two Rivers was also one end of a Mississippian settlement that stretched along the river for five miles.  In addition to the cultural implications, Two Rivers includes wetlands, one of the most quickly disappearing land types in the world.  To protect this valuable site, protesters are proposing that Two Rivers be set aside as a national historic landmark and maintained as a green space and/or conservation trust.
Learn more about Two Rivers:

Tribe conducts war dance to stop dam expansion
California: At Shasta Dam, eight barefoot Winnemem Wintu warriors armed with bows began the tribe's first war dance since 1887. The tiny American Indian tribe began their four-day protest to stop a potential expansion of the Shasta Dam, which would destroy sacred sites that had survived its original construction.  "The war dance itself is a message, a message to the world that we can't stand to put up with this again," said Caleen Sisk-Franco, the chief who says she received the protest vision from the spirits of ancestors. "We've already lost too many sacred sites to the lake. To lose more is like cutting the legs off all the tribal members."

Civil Rights Commission Hears Indigenous Peoples At Mexican Border
Texas: The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights heard reports of the abuse of indigenous peoples by U.S. Border Patrol agents, now under Homeland Security.  "Personally my life is in danger for making this statement," said Ofelia Rivas, Tohono O'odham.  Rivas said O'odhams are denied free passage across the international border which runs through O'odham tribal lands.  O'odhams are stopped while attending annual ceremonies in the U.S and Mexico, during pilgrimages to sacred sites for offerings, and when collecting ceremonial items and medicine plants.  They are also searched, and threatened with physical and verbal abuse. "Many of the tribal members will not report abuse because of the fear of reprisal," she said.  Rivas displayed military-issue spikes found in O'odham territory, saying these three-inch metal spikes are embedded in the road and have caused tire damage.  "The Border Patrol, as well as the Mexican military, is well aware that the O'odham use these traditional routes," she said.
Indian Country Today

Molokai Ranch Agrees to Turn Over Land to Community
Hawaii: After six months of meetings with community and Native Hawaiian groups, Molokai Ranch has agreed to turn over 40% of its 65,000 acres to a community-based land trust. The land trust would make the community the second-largest landowner on Molokai after the ranch. "Something like this has never been done in all Hawaii," said Colette Machado from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee. "I equate this to the return of Kahoolawe to the Hawaiian people. To have these lands returned would be just outstanding." Concessions may have to be made, however, including developing the pristine coastline into a large acreage housing development.
Associated Press.

Protesters Plan To Attend Bismarck Bicentennial Event
North Dakota: Indian tribes may have welcomed explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark 200 years ago, but those retracing their steps face displeasure from Native Americans along the trail.  On October 22, American Indian protesters will meet the reinactors when they arrive in Bismarck.  "To us, it's no reason to celebrate," said Deb White Plume, from the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.  Victorio Camp, also from Pine Ridge, said the Bismarck protesters are the same group that protested at Lewis and Clark events in Chamberlain and in Fort Pierre, S.D. He said they plan to protest as bicentennial events continue on to Oregon. Organizers welcome all supporters who join in a peaceful, non-violent way.
For more information:
The Associated Press State & Local Wire

Alaska Native woman recipient of 'Genius' award
Katherine Gottlieb, president of South-Central Foundation, is one of 23 winners of the MacArthur Fellowship. The Alaska Native woman has been awarded a five-year, $500,000 "Genius" grant for her work in improving the health care of Alaska Natives. She is the first Alaskan to win the award,

Holding on to history: Project preserving Crow oral histories
Montana: The Battle of Pryor Creek, called Ashkoota's Binnaxchihkuua, or Where The Entire Camp Was Under Siege, may have been the biggest intertribal fight on the Northern Plains. An alliance of warriors from the Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes invaded Crow Country to destroy their traditional enemy and take possession of the Crow's bountiful hunting grounds. Ashkoota's Binnaxchihkuua looms large in the history and lore of the Crow Tribe.  Now, thanks to a $45,485 grant from the Frontier Heritage Alliance, researchers will visit each tribes' reservations to record their oral histories of the early 1860's battle. Among those stories will be one shared by Elias Goes Ahead, Crow historian. "They came to annihilate us that day,'' he said "They thought our land would be their land at the end of the day.'' The alliance was so confident of victory that women and old men had established cheering sections above the battleground to sing victory songs. "They were watching the battle like a football game,'' Goes Ahead said. Vastly outnumbered -- he estimated 20 to 1 - Crow war leaders asked their women to arm themselves with knives to kill their children and commit suicide if the enemy prevailed. If the battle had been lost, there would be no Crow Tribe today.

Kiviu Legend, Sculptuer by Pierre Aupilardjui ,

"Inuit Odyssey" to be brought to film
Nunavut - Film director John Houston will be back in his home territory to preserve and promote an Inuit legend called Kiviu. Kiviu, known across the circumpolar world by 19 different names, has been around since the beginning of time and lived through adventures equal in depth to Homer's Odyssey.  Houston will be turning those legends into a movie.  He tells of one legend about how Kiviu created the Coppermine River and fog when he was trying to get away from a bear. "This is one of the great stories on Earth. It just happens to not be known very well and we're going to change that," he says. This month, Houston will visit all three regions in Nunavut to get testimony from Inuit elders. Houston says he'll treat the Inuit elders with respect by broadcasting their interviews in Inuktitut at full volume without a voice-over. He says there will be English subtitles.

Experts Study New Sign Language System
Nicaragua: When the Nicaragua's first school for the deaf was established in 1977, children were not taught sign language, but developed their own system of signs to communicate. Thatcommunication method shows similarities to other languages, and may hold clues about the evolution of languages. For years, language experts argued about whether the basic traits of all languages are hard-wired in the human brain or developed by trial and error. In the Nicaraguan sign language, older group members used relatively basic gestures while younger children divided the movements into separate words and formed them into sentences. As additional groups learn the language, they expand on it, making it more useful. "We're seeing evolution in action, but what's evolving here isn't an organism, it's a language system," said Ann Senghas of Columbia University. She suggests that even if children aren't born with a mental blueprint for language, they can move from a simple communication system to a true language in a short time.
Associated Press

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