Youth and Education News
February 9, 2005 Issue 146 Volume 4
"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
Quake's Echo Raised Surface Around Globe
The giant earthquake that caused devastating tsunamis in the Indian Ocean produced shock waves around the globe and lifted the earth's surface nearly an inch--even half a world away. "They're like ripples in a pond," said geophysicist Dr. Richard C. Aster. "But the pond is a sphere, so they keep going around and around." Dr. Aster, who compiled seismograms to measure the shock waves at increasing distances from the quake's epicenter, said the waves were 1,000 times the size of those that seismologists customarily measure. The seismic data show the waves traveling around the earth for six hours.
Minds of Their Own: Birds Gain Respect
A consortium of 29 scientists from six countries met for seven years to prove that being called a "birdbrain" is not an insult. "The correction of terms is a great advance," said Dr. Jon Kaas. "It's hard to get scientists to agree about anything." The scientists argue that a bird's brain is as complex, flexible and inventive as any mammal's brain, and that crows and parrots, among other birds, show behavior as intelligent as that of chimpanzees. Their report is published in the journal Nature Neuroscience Reviews.
The New York Times
North Carolina Wants More Bees
North Carolina: As farmers leave tobacco and move into new crops like cucumbers, melons, and berries, the state is confronting a crisis: it simply doesn't have enough honeybees to pollinate all those flowering plants. ''.. if we don't do something now about (this) we may be heading toward an agriculture crisis in the state,'' said David Tarpy from North Carolina State University. In the late 1980s, the state had 180,000 managed bee colonies, each with at least 30,000 bees. Now, there are about 100,000 such colonies. The bees are needed for pollination, a flower-to-flower flight which helps promote larger harvests. To encourage more people to become beekeepers, NCSU is providing 250 qualified applicants with two hives of Russian honey bees and bee hives.
Eagles mutilated in "sickening massacre"
Canada: Leaders of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation are angry over suggestions that tribal members were involved in illegal activities that left 18 dead and mutilated bald eagles on their reserve. The dead birds were found by a woman walking her dog along a reserve service road. Missing from all of the carcasses were their tail feathers and talons. Some were found in shallow graves; others, including older skeletal remains, were found stuffed under fallen trees. "We want to find the people responsible for this sickening massacre," said Leah George-Wilson from the Tsleil-Waututh band. Bald eagles are protected in Canada by provincial legislation but are not considered endangered. However, people caught hunting the birds may be fined up to $50,000. Aboriginals in B.C. must hold special permits in order to collect eagle feathers and other eagle parts. These parts are usually obtained from birds that have died of natural causes, or from the forest floor.
EPA Approves "Glades Pollution Control Plan"
Florida: Despite objections from the Miccosukee Tribe, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says Florida's Everglades' cleanup plan complys with most of the federal Clean Water Act. The EPA approved a 10-year extension for a December 2006 cleanup deadline. The Miccosukee, who have a perpetual lease for 189,000 acres in the central Everglades, have attacked the cleanup rule as too soft on polluters and apt to spread dirty water farther through the swamps. "Politically what this means is [that the EPA] is punting, and expecting the tribe to protect the Everglades," said the tribe's attorney, Dexter Lehtinen. "They don't have the political will to, but they know the Miccosukees will." The Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida, a main contributor of phosphorus to the Everglades, is pleased with the EPA's decision.
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Premiere: "Homeland: Four Portraits of Native Action"
California: The feature-length documentary ''Homeland: Four Portraits of Native Action," premiered February 3 at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Homeland tells the story of Navajo, Northern Cheyenne, Gwich'in and Penobscot environmental and human rights violations. Produced by the Katahdin Foundation, Homeland reveals American Indian children playing near radioactive waste, tribes forced to fish in poisoned rivers, and tribal lands hemmed in on all sides by noxious fumes from strip mines and factories. ''Homeland'' takes an in-depth look at the environmental hazards that threaten Indian nations, and at the handful of activists who are leading the fight in these new Indian Wars.
Indian Country Today
Kiowa folk songs reborn in new storybooks
Oklahoma: Alecia Gonzales, a Kiowa woman noted as her people’s “Sequoyah,” has taken legendary Kiowa folk songs and is now giving them life through storybooks. “Little Red Buffalo Song” is the first of five books in this unique collection of bilingual children’s stories, printed by the University of Science and Arts in Chickasha. Readers see the story in both Kiowa and English. For non-native speakers, a special CD-ROM is included that features the author reading the story in both languages. “These storybooks are being designed to build the bonds of love and trust between mother and child as they interact together,” Gonzales explained. “This story and these songs that we have are used even into early adulthood.” The remaining four books in the collection of Kiowa story-songs, “A Mother Bird’s Song,” “Grandma Spider’s Song,” “Grandmother’s Song,” and “The Prairie Dog Song” are set for release later this spring.
Singer blends Inupiat and operatic backgrounds
Alaska: Christina Gagnon dreams of combining Native language and stories with classical opera. Christina, 38, is a dramatic soprano with her eye on the big roles of Verdi and Wagner. She's also Inupiat. Gagnon had a key role in a new opera presented last summer in Deerfield, Mass, "The Captivation of Eunice Williams." "Captivation" is based on a historical Puritan girl taken during a raid and raised by Mohawk Indians. Gagnon had the role of Kariwiiosta, the Mohawk woman who became the girl's adoptive mother. Singing in the Mohawk languages, Gagnon says, "It feels so organic to be in this role." After Christina completes her artist diploma -- the equivalent of a doctorate in performance -- from the Hart School of Music in Conn, she plans to return to Alaska where she may teach. She's also interested in seeking grant money to present recitals in remote communities. The idea of forming an Inupiat choir also appeals to her. "We could do hymns in Inupiat; those are already available." And she dreams of "marrying" Native language and stories with classical opera. "My goal is to do more Native music from a classical approach," she says.
Chinle Valley Singers Invited to Perform in Mongolia
The Chinle Valley Singers have been invited to perform at the World of Melody festival in Mongolia in September 2005. The singers -- Navajo women who believe strongly in preserving tradition-- will share their Navajo tradition in storytelling, songs, and dances adapted from use in Navajo social and entertainment contexts. Many songs come from a tradition of sheepherding. “They are the same songs my mother sang to the sheep when she was sheepherding around Canyon de Chelley," Elsie Deswood said. CVS has recorded several music albums and have appeared in several films.
Bronitsky and Associates
Casper's brave underground sound
Casper Lomayesva's reggae sound on his new compact disc, ''Honor the People," examines the imprisonment of Leonard Peltier and the root of war in Iraq. The Hopi artist from Third Mesa questions who won the last presidential election and how long before the voices of truth are silenced in America. ''There are things that need to be addressed at all cost. My biggest concern was that I might be jeopardizing my freedom, but somebody's got to do it,'' Casper said. ''We're living in pretty rough times and it is going to get rougher. People all over the world doing this music are under a lot of scrutiny." Casper's message is respect for Indian sovereignty, human rights, honor for women and respect for all races of mankind. He sends a special message to Native youths: Stay in school and question everything. ''Question authority,'' he said, urging Natives to use their senses to determine truth. ''Don't listen to the crap the government is trying to push down your throats; believe what your elders told you.''
Ernie Pepion now riding to the Spirit World
Ernie Pepion- a rodeo cowboy, rancher, veteran, and artist -- spent the last 33 years painting from a wheelchair after an auto accident left him able to move only his thumbs. After a fellow veteran taught him to paint, the Blackfeet man went on to earn a master's degree in fine arts from Montana State University in Bozeman. Since then, his art has been awarded and honored from Japan to the U.S. Capitol rotunda. On Jan. 3, he received the 2005 Montana Governor's Award for the Arts in Helena. "Pitied and belittled" for being Indian, and later as a quadriplegic, his paintbrush made him invincible. "Painting allows me to be a person beyond the limitations of racial prejudice and disability," Pepion said. In his painting, "A Good Way to Die," Pepion shows an aged, white-haired man dying, lying in a fetal position and holding a paintbrush in each hand. That was the way he wanted to die, he told family. Pepion was buried on the Blackfeet Reservation.
INDIAN LOGOS: What are we teaching children about American Indians?
Wisconsin: In Wisconsin, many schools use Indian nicknames and logos. Among the names are Blackhawks, Indians, and Redmen. Keeping the names amounts to a stereotype sanctioned by public schools, said Oneida tribal member Barbara Munson, chairwoman of the Mascot and Logo Taskforce for the Wisconsin Indian Education Association. She said it can lead to alienation between students. "It causes a lot of questions because the Indians in the classroom have real Indian relatives," she said. "None of them are like that stereotype. The cultures are living things with real human faces. " While mascots have been a high-profile issue, Native American textbooks and curriculums have not. Ho-Chunk Nation President George R. Lewis said things have improved since he was a boy. The 60-year-old remembers when American Indians could only get their hair cut on certain days and couldn't eat in restaurants. But he is aware discrimination continues and believes many stereotypes are due to a lack of cultural understanding. Lewis points to accurate education as they way to improve how American Indians are perceived. "I think what we need to start doing is start teaching Ho-Chunk 101 or Native Americans 101 and vice versa," Lewis said. "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."
Oklahoma State Senator introduces anti-mascot bill
Oklahoma: Moved by pleas to remove Indian mascots from Oklahoma schools, State Senator Judy Eason McIntyre introduced legislation to do just that. "It was the easiest thing to do," she said. "I followed the issue involving the [Union Redskins controversy] and I realized it is offensive to some people. As an African American I know how hurtful some words can be." McIntyre said that the legislation, SB 567, would ban the use of "Redskins" and "Savages." "Like anything else, there are some who will support it and some who won't," she said. "I know there are some Native Americans who have don't have a problem with these words and some that do. I will appeal to the goodness of my colleagues. If the name was the Union Rednecks, people would want that changed."
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