Native Village 

Youth and Education News

April 6, 2005 Issue 150 Volume 4

"Whoever designed [NCLB] wasn't thinking anything about the history of Indian education. We feel an effective education is one that's defined primarily by the goals of the community. But [education in the US] is still a strongly assimilative system ... and in my opinion, No Child Left Behind is just another one of those roadblocks." Denis Viri, Arizona State University's Center for Indian Education.

  The State of the World? It Is on the Brink of Disaster
Two-thirds of the planet's resources, from energy sources to fresh water and clean air, have been heavily depleted or polluted in the past 50 years, according to a new report on Earth's future.  The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, which included the UN and the World Bank, call their study a "stark warning." The researchers caution that potential collapses in nature could spur disease, deforestation or "dead zones" in the oceans. "Human activity is putting such strain on the natural functions of Earth that the ability of the planet's ecosystems to sustain future generations can no longer be taken for granted," concluded the report, prepared by 1,360 experts from 95 nations. "Over the past 50 years, humans have changed ecosystems more rapidly and extensively than in any comparable time in human history."    So what can be done in a century when the human population is expected to increase by 50%?   The board of directors of the Millennium Assessment said: "The overriding conclusion of this assessment is that it lies within the power of human societies to ease the strains we are putting on the nature services of the planet, while continuing to use them to bring better living standards to all.  Achieving this, however, will require radical changes in the way nature is treated at every level of decision-making and new ways of cooperation between government, business and civil society. The warning signs are there for all of us to see. The future now lies in our hands."

Among the findings:
Between 1960-2000, world population doubled from 3,000,000,000 to 6,000,000,000, the global economy increased 600%,  food production and supply of drinking water grew 200%, and the consumption of timber products increased 150%;
v 15 of the 24 ecosystems vital for life on earth have been seriously degraded or used to unsustainably;
v Since 1960, the planet had been substantially "re-engineered" because of  pressure placed on the earth's natural resources by demands from a larger human population;
v Human activity has caused 100 documented extinctions. Scientists believe animals and plants are dying off at 1,000% the rate of natural extinction;
v Alien species introduced into new areas are causing a devastating impact;
v Agriculture has increased the loss of genetic diversity;
v 33% of the world's people live in dryland regions that have access to only 8%  of the world's renewable supply of water.
  The Tipping Points to Catastrophe
New Diseases:  As population densities increase and pristine forests are destroyed for living spaces, the chances of an epidemic of a new infectious agent grows. Global travel accentuates the threat. Sars and bird flu are prime examples of diseases moving from animals to humans.
Alien Species: The introduction of an invasive species -- whether animal, plant or microbe -- lead to a rapid change in ecosystems.
Algal Blooms:  A build up of man-made nutrients has led to the threshold being reached when algae blooms. This deprives fish and wildlife of oxygen and produces toxic substances dangerous to drinking water.
Coral Reef Collapse: Coral reefs are now contaminated by algae
Fishing Stocks:  Overfishing has led to a collapse in stocks.
Climate Change:  Local vegetation or land cover has changed, causing warming to become worse. Small changes in rain can result in loss of vegetation, soil erosion and further decreases in rainfall.
  What we should do
i There must be a fundamental reappraisal of how we view the world's natural resources.
i We simply must establish policies that require natural costs to be taken into account for all economic decisions.
i Reverse policies are needed in countries that encourage excessive harvest, use of fossil fuels, or excessive fertilisation of crops.
i Enhance the production of many services and decrease our consumption of others. Invest in technology to make these changes.
i Politicians must assume responsibility for initiating these changes

The Independent UK and

Curtis brothers save native grasses
New Mexico: Blake and Tye Curtis co-own Curtis & Curtis Inc., a company which deals exclusively in native grasses. Started by their father in 1956, CCI has become a multi-million dollar organization in the hands of his sons.  ''In your younger years, I don't think you have a great appreciation of your Indian heritage,'' said Tye. ''As I've gotten older and taken the time to go back to Cherokee, N.C., I can see what sacrifices were made by our people -- even by our grandparents -- for us. You look at the Trail of Tears, and realize our connectedness goes beyond the Cherokee people.''  Curtis & Curtis hunts and harvests wildflower and native grass seed because wild plants tend to be heartier than cultivated native plants. Their native plants and wild seeds are then used to restore natural cover to wounds in the earth left by strip mining, highway and pipeline reconstruction, drilling activity, windmill installations and other assaults.  Curtis & Curtis past customers include Wilford Brimley, Ted Turner, Jane Fonda and others who, as Blake put it, are ''good stewards of the land.''
Indian Country Today

Solar And Wind Units Bring Energy To Navajos
New Mexico: Dave Melton, co-owner of Sacred Power Corps, is bringing electricity to 50 homes on the Navajo Nation.  "We are bringing power to them for the first times in their lives," said the Laguna Pueblo tribal member.  "They are ecstatic." The solar and wind hybrids means Navajo children will not have to study by dim kerosene lanterns. The energy-efficient refrigerators provided by Sacred Powerenables families to safely store food and medicines. There are still nearly 10,000 Navajo reservation. homes without electricity.
Knight-Ridder Tribune

Tribe Sues National Science Foundation Over Telescope Construction
Arizona: The Tohono O'odham Nation is seeking an injunction against the National Science Foundation to halt construction of the VERITAS telescopes until federal law is complied with.  The lawsuit also says the telescope is subject to provisions of both the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. The complex of seven telescopes and support buildings is being built at the Kitt Peak National Observatory.
H-Amindian Listserv

Coochie Coochie Coo: Studies Show Rats Enjoy Tickling
Ohio: You've probably never heard a rat laugh, and there's a good reason. Jack Panksepp and students from of Bowling Green State University found that the rodents emit gleeful "chirps" when playing, but only at ultrasonic tones five times higher than the human ear can hear. When Panksepp used an ultrasonic detector to listen to rats as he tickled them, the effect was dramatic. "We used our hands as if they were playmates and pounced and tickled the rats with our fingers. The chirping sounds were out of sight, just out of sight," said Panksepp. "The animals became bonded to you and came back for more. Every possible measure of whether they like it shows yes, they love it."  Not only did the rats respond to tickling, but they soon began reacting like a child does before a tickling hand even reaches them.  "After a couple of trials, we could just wave our fingers in front of their noses and they would chirp," said Panksepp.  The rats likely keep their chuckles to supersonic levels to avoid detection by predators such as hawks, he explains. Sounds of such short wavelengths won't travel far and can be deflected off something as flimsy as a blade of grass. That means the rodents can play, tickle and chirp without fear. Panksepp's findings appear in the journal "Science."

Seminoles inspire Italian artist
Italy: Fans of Italian artist Alessandro Scarabello are learning about the Seminole Tribe of Oklahoma. His latest exhibit, "LifeinLines,” features portraits and social settings from four continents, including striking portraits of Seminole Indians. Scarabello recently visited Oklahoma and worked with a tribal elder to learn more about Seminole culture.  “The American Indians are a clear example of unwavering pride. Despite their difficult historical path, they exhibit a strong sense of belonging and an undying presence that still symbolizes an ancient civilization. Most inspiring is the fact that the Native Americans are a political and social minority, yet worldwide, they exhibit a powerful spirit of survival and unity,” he said.  Scarabello’s oil on canvas paintings can be viewed at

Snow Hero of San Bernardinos Gifted With Joy of Skiing
California: "All We Need Is a Miracle" played on the Snow Summit Lodge's loudspeaker when Bennie LeBeau (Serrano-Eastern Shoshone), arrived on the slopes.  "He was treated like a homecoming hero for leading the Big Bear Medicine Wheel Ceremony on November 15th, 2004, which helped restore the magnificent lake, trees, springs, and best snow in 35 years," reported Olympic skier, Suzy Chaffee of Native Voices Foundation.  Bennie's team of 100 from the Red, White, Black and Yellow Nations had prayed on the nine sacred sites surrounding the San Bernardinos.  Together they reactivated the ley lines (electro-magnetic energy lines) and rebalanced the weather.  Bear Mt Resorts are two of 100 ski communities wanting to invite their Indian youth back to their ancestral lands to ski, snowboard and share their earth-honoring ceremonies.  Many others look to the Big Bear Community as a prototype for ways to help all help mountains rebirth their web of life.

    Jim Thorpe and a Ticket to Serendipity
New York: When Anthony Barone, Jr., opened an old book, a big red ticket literally fell into his lap. The ticket, six inches long, in good condition and with its stub still attached, was for an exhibition basketball game featuring Jim Thorpe and "His World Famous Indians" on March 1, 1927. Jim Thorpe, a Sauk/Fox tribal member, had a superlative athletic career in football, baseball and track during the early 20th century. Artifacts of that career are rare and valuable, and Barone's red ticket is like an archeological find.  "This is fantastic. Here's another whole area of sport that Thorpe excelled at. It shows another side of his athleticism," said Bill Crawford, who wrote a biography of Thorpe titled "All American, the Rise and Fall of Jim Thorpe." Thorpe is a pivotal figure in American sports and American Indian history. Reared on the Sac and Fox Indian reservation in Oklahoma, Thorpe became an all-American football player at Carlisle Indian School, then won gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon at the 1912 Olympics.  In 1913, Thorpe was stripped of his Olympic medals and amateur status when officials learned he had been paid nominal sums to play summer baseball games in the minor leagues in 1909. Although dozens of college players did the same thing, they played under pseudonyms. Unfortunately, Thorpe had used his real name. Thorpe went on to play major league baseball, became a pioneer of the fledgling N.F.L., then held a series of jobs: Hollywood actor, merchant seaman, bar owner, Chicago parks employee. Burt Lancaster portrayed his life in a film two years before Thorpe's death, at 64, in 1953.

Aboriginal Icons crowned in Winnipeg
WINNIPEG – Recently, sixteen finalists sang, rapped, and danced on stage in a bid to become Canada's first Aboriginal Icons. The singing competition, modeled on the television show Canadian Idol, drew contestants of First Nations, Metis and Inuit backgrounds.  Winners were chosen in four age categories by the audience and a panel of judges:
6-12 age group: Darrelyne Bickel of The Pas, Manitoba;
13-20 age group: Hayley Macdonald of Nelson House, Manitoba:
21-35 age group: Gerald Sowano;
Over 36 age group: Wayne Jackson of Goodfish Lake, Alberta.
The four Aboriginal Icons will spend the year training their voices, touring and recording in the studio with a professional record label. The search for talent began last October, with amateur contests in small communities.
CBC News

I Want My Maori TV
New Zealand: New Zealanders recently celebrated the first anniversary of the Maori Television Service. Broadcast in the Maori language, te reo, the station is garnering a huge following. In December, the channel released audience research showing that non-Maori outnumbered Maori among the 667,000 who had watched MTS since it started. Karen Leuschke never misses an episode of Korero Mai, the nightly language and cultural instruction programme, with its built-in soap, Akina.  "It's the first soap I've ever watched," says Leuschke, a teacher who is not Maori. "People know never to ring between 7 and 7.30.  I organise my evenings around it.  It's got charm, it's got integrity and it's lots of fun."  8-year-old Hohaia listens to the news in Maori and watches shows in Maori. His favourite is a surfing show "because one of my best friend's Dad's in it."  Jim Mather, the channel's new chief executive, hopes to broaden the viewer base, improve market share, offer more subtitling, and create more programs aimed at younger viewers -- "the Maori speakers of the future.  Over and above revitalising the language and culture, we have opportunities to provide some very positive role modeling, such as Maori business programmes," he said.   "There are social development benefits that will come from Maori television as well."

This Elvis is Tlingit
Alaska: The Tlingit King is about to perform.  He bops nervously from foot to foot, all glam and glitter from his colorful cape to his shiny tennis shoes. Then the crowd trickles in and it's showtime. The King hits "play" on the boombox behind him, and as Elvis Presley croons, Leonard R. Johnson dances up and down the small stage. "It doesn't get any better than this. Tlingit Elvis!  It's perfect," fan Cristine Crooks said.  The Alaska Native answer to Elvis, Johnson began as a reluctant Elvis impersonator. "I really never did get up in front of people like that...," Johnson said. "I really kind of felt embarrassed until everybody started getting louder and whistling and they liked it -- I know they liked it -- so I just got into it." Johnson's wife, Pua Maunu, designs Johnson's wardrobe with intricate painting, beadwork and feathers done in traditional Tlingit fashion, but unmistakably Elvis in their presentation. Bold reds, aquamarine blues, blacks and yellows form the cape's eagle, which is Johnson's tribal clan. Eagles also appear on his necklace and giant belt buckle.  Johnson gets autograph requests that he obliges by signing "Tlingit Elvis," and Maunu's costume was recently on display in the Juneau Douglas City Museum,  "Who would have thought that Elvis and the Northwest coast go together so beautifully?" said Jane Lindsay, museum director.
The Associated Press

Volume 3 

 Native Village Home Page

Native Village is published with the generous help and support of friends, listserves, and online publications.
Without you, Native Village would not exist.  Megwich to you all.

To join our mailing list and receive news update reminders, send email address to:
To contact Native Village staff, email:

Native Village Linking Policy
Our research, study and resource collections cover a lot of Internet territory! We do our best to screen all links and select only those we designate "kidsafe" and appropriate. However, Native Village does not control the content found on third-party sites, so we are not always aware when content changes. If you discover a link that contains inappropriate information, please contact us immediately.  In addition, please be aware that each linked site maintains its own independent data collection, policies and procedures. If you visit a Web site linked to from Native Village, you should consult that site's privacy policy before providing it with any of your personal information.
For more information about keeping kids safe online, please read about the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

Native Village © Gina Boltz

All rights reserved