Native Village 

Youth and Education News

February 9, 2005 Issue 146 Volume 1

"I think what we need to start doing is start teaching Ho-Chunk 101 or Native Americans 101 and vice versa. We have to understand the 101 culture of other people. Once we understand each other, we might be able to be at the same level." George Lewis, Ho-Chunk

2005 State of Indian Nations Address
Washington D.C.: The third annual State of Indian Nations address was given by National Congress of American Indians President Tex Hall. Hall focused on a number of issues, including the Native Vote 2004 campaign, economic development, education, housing, health, energy, homeland security, law enforcement and trust. He will call for tribal input on national proposals like the Social Security reform sought by President Bush.
Read the Address:
2005 State of Indian Nations Address

Nunatsiavut Land Claims Deal Signed
Nunatsiavut: The land claims agreement to create Nunatsiavut has been formally signed. The agreement gives the Inuit 15,800 square kilometres of land for self-government. Another 56,700 square kilometres gives them limited resource and management right.  "The Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement will bring real and meaningful benefits to all of us -- Labrador Inuit, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians and all Canadians," said William Andersen III, president of the Labrador Inuit Association. "It will allow us to build on the partnerships we have begun, to work toward sustainable development, economic growth and social justice."
London Free Press

$10,000 offered for Pedro mummy
Wyoming: A New York man is offering $10,000 for the mummy of a miniature human discovered in the Wyoming mountains in 1932.  John Adolfi wants to conduct DNA, X-rays and other tests on the Pedro Mountain Mummy. He hopes to prove the mummy is a Nimerigar, one of the little people in Shoshone tradition. The mummy, which disappeared in the 1950s, had been X-rayed by an anthropology professor who said it was an infant who suffered from anencephaly, a birth defect, and not a tiny adult.  Several photos and descriptions of the artifact remain. In its seated position, the mummy stands 7 inches tall. If it were to stand up, it would only measure about 17 inches.

Sacred Onondaga relic finds way back home
New York: In the 1770s, an Onondaga Indian named Kakiktoton gave six strings of wampum to treaty commissioners after the Onondaga Nation sold New York 2,000,000 acres of land.   In the Kakitoton treaty, only 108 acres of land were reserved for the tribe. Those lands include nearly all of present-day Syracuse, Onondaga, Solvay, and sections of nearby towns.  Recently, New York has surrendered the Kakitoton wampum belt back to the Onondaga. "It's good to get back the wampum after 217 years," said Tadadaho Sid Hill, the spiritual leader of the Onondaga Nation.  Wampum - belts or strings containing purple or white beads -- were "written" communications of records of events. Although no one can read the Kakiktoton wampum anymore, wampum belts are considered sacred cultural treasures and protected by the federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

Tracking down the underground railroad
New York: A project in Setauket is shedding light on a little known American Indian community that sheltered runaway slaves and directed them to safety through a series of codes embedded in quilts.  Interviews with black residents reveals the community was the home of the Setalcotts, who had intermarried with blacks. "During the conversations, we found out that [the Setalcotts] were involved in the Underground Railroad," said Gloria Rocchio, president of the Melville Heritage Organization. "In addition to that, they had a series of codes that would move the fugitive slaves from one house to another using quilts. This was absolutely fascinating."  Gail Revis, a Setalcott, said she learned the codes from her mother who said they had been used locally on quilts. "We were raised with this knowledge. In high school, I asked my mother, 'What is the Underground Railroad?' She said, 'Your great-grandmother helped the slaves.' ",0,47347.story?coll=ny-li-big-pix

Judge tells climbers to keep off Cave Rock
Nevada: A landmark Lake Tahoe rock formation will be off limits to rock climbers, a federal judge in Reno ruled. The decision by U.S. District Judge Howard McKibben upholds a plan adopted by the Forest Service in 2003 regarding the future of Cave Rock. The towering volcanic stone is a holy site for the Washoe Tribe. “I am gratified with the decision and for the opportunity to finally put an effective management strategy into effect for this important historic resource and Tahoe landmark,” said Maribeth Gustafson, supervisor of the Forest Service’s Tahoe unit.

Feb. 7th tribal holiday to honor death of tribe's oldest member 
Nevada: Washoe tribal member Winona James, who was at least 102, recently passed away from natural causes.  Tribal chairman Brian Wallace declared February 7 a tribal holiday in her memory. Wallace said Winona left many gifts, including her oral history and knowledge which was used to pursue land claims and protect property inhabited by the tribe.  “She will touch generations that haven’t been born yet with her wisdom,” he said.  Winona's efforts, in part, helped gain federal protection for Cave Rock.

Elders' benefit strains Yukon land claims funds
Yukon: Yukon First Nations with a land claim settlement are finding it difficult to make elders' payments.  Most First Nations use compensation money given to them by the federal government to pay elders a benefit. But the number of seniors in many First Nations is growing, and the claim funds dwindling. Old Crow chief Joe Linklater says it is difficult to consider cutting the fund, because many elders live near the poverty line and the benefit is an important supplement to their budget.
CBC News

Inheritors of a Legacy: The Indigenous People of Central Mexico
Mexido: The State of México – with a population of 13,096,686 in the 2000 census – contains 13.43% of the Mexican Republic's total population. However, the state represents only 1.1% of the national territory. When the population of México's jurisdiction was tallied in 1790, 742,186 persons were registered as "indios. This represented 71.1% of the total population. Those of Spanish origin were tallied at 134,965. In the centuries following European Invasion, Spanish became the primary language, but many aspects of Mexico's indigenous culture and language remained.
According to statistics:

Year Speakers of Indigenous Languages Aged 5 Years and Over   Total Population Aged 5 Years and Over % Of Population Speaking Indigenous Languages  Mexican Republic - Speakers of Indigenous Languages    Mexican Republic - Total Population
1930 14,676    1,076,276    1.36%    2,251,086    14,028,575
   1950    18,812    3,050,442 0.62%  2,447,609    25,791,017
   1990    111,552    7,373,239    1.51%    5,282,347    70,562,202
 2000  141,710  7,738,307    1.83%    6,044,547  84,794,454

Tribe fights to save language
Ohio: Once commonly spoken throughout Ohio and Indiana, the Miami language lost its last fluent speaked in the 1960s. Now the Miami language is being revitalized, thanks to an effort by the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma and Miami University of Ohio, the college named in honor of the tribe. A comprehensive Miami language dictionary will be published in late February. Titled Myaamia neehi peewaalia kaloosioni mahsinaakani (or A Miami-Peoria Dictionary), the 200-page book contains about 3,500 entries, a language description, and an English cross-reference list.  This achievement reflects a university/tribe partnership that is unusual in higher education, says Daryl Baldwin, from the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma and the book's coeditor.  He said that few, if any, universities have the close ties with a specific tribe that Miami University has with the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. The relationship, which began in the 1970s, has steadily strengthened. Today the two groups work jointly on several projects,  including the language revitalization efforts.

Tribe tries to stem loss of native language
On February 19, Murray State College will offer instruction on teaching theory and language curriculum development. These classes are part of a long-term plan to revitalize the Chickasaw language.  "The Chickasaw language is currently spoken by a relatively small number of older persons. The language is in danger of being lost unless steps are taken to revitalize it," wrote linguist Dr. William J. Pulte, one of the instructors. Language facilitators will team with fluent Chickasaw speakers to design and teach classes for two different groups:
Those who understand and speak some Chickasaw and need instruction to become fluent;
Those with no knowledge of the language, including pre-K through adult age ranges.

Linguist, poet, professor encourages students
Arizona: Ofelia Zepeda, is a linguist, poet, professor and recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship. Zepeda, who is a member of the O'odham Nation, was the first in her family to go to high school. After graduation, she went to Central Arizona College for her associates degree, then earned her bachelor's, master's, and doctorate in linguistics at the University of Arizona. "But the whole time ...I always had the O'odham language with me," she said. So, Zepeda learned to read O'odham and published "A Papago Grammar," the first O'odham grammar.  She also began teaching written O'odham to native speakers and teachers, then began her own writings .  "That's how I got started writing in O'odham," she said, "for my students. And I continued writing. I still write in O'odham today."  Most of her poetry is about the childhood memories, people in her life, the desert, and the rain. Zepeda says the Tohono O'odham and Akimel O'odham people know the ocean,  even though they live in the desert.  "Our summer rains come because of the ocean," she said.  Zepeda now teaches O'odham at UA and the new community college in Sells.  O'odham also is taught at Scottsdale Community College on the Salt River Indian Reservation. "I am very old," Ofelia said, "old enough to be a grandmother." She is unsure of her age, which is 49, 50, or 51, because her birth date was unknown when she started school. Because she is "so old," she added, she hopes to see more young O'odham going  to the university and getting their doctorates, so she can retire in 10 or 15  years.

The Blackfeet language will be taught to all tribal staff
Montana: Edward North Peigan believes that the Blackfeet world view is contained in its language and is a direct entry point to the tribe's oral history.  Recently, the tribe created a Blackfeet language teaching position in the tribal government for all tribal members and staff. The instructor will be North Peigan, who taught the language at area schools and community colleges.  "One Councilman started the ball rolling," he said. "He wanted the Blackfeet language taught to all the staff, and he wanted to learn the language also." The program is sponsored by the Blackfeet Language and Culture Department."

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