Native Village 

Youth and Education News

February 23, 2005 Issue 147 Volume 4

"I could not turn back the time for the political change, but there is still time to save our heritage. You must remember never to cease to act because you fear you may fail." Queen Lili'uokalani, Native Hawaiian

Amazon Holds Key to Future of Earth's Climate
Brazil:  1,700 researchers from 200 universities and institutions have been working for six years on the "LBA:"  Large-scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia. The study tackles the assault on the unknowns of what some call the planet's "lung," the Amazon's rainforest.  Amazonia is more than 11 times the size of Texas and home to one-third of the world's species, and the scientists are studying its critical relationship between the atmosphere and the region.  The respiratory process is well known: Trees absorb carbon dioxide through their leaves, use it to build themselves, and emit oxygen into the air. That keeps an atmospheric balance. However, man has thrown the balance off through deforestation and burning fossil fuels. This produces excess carbon dioxide and traps the heat that otherwise would escape into space.  "We already know enough to make policy decisions. The important thing is to stop deforestation," said ecologist Philip M. Fearnside. In 2003-2004, over 9,000 square miles were destroyed-- an area about the size of New Hampshire.  The forest is being destroyed by cattle ranchers, peasants who slash and burn to create cropland,  illegal lumbering, and large businesses planting soybeans.

Kansas lends name to extinct sea lizard
Kansas: This spring, a 65,000,000-year-old species of ocean lizard will be officially named after Kansas. This particular species of mosasaur has been found only in Kansas and has been unnamed for nearly 140 years. "They ruled the oceans at the end of the age of the dinosaur," said paleontologist Mike Everhart.  "They were a big predator. They were monsters that ate everything in their way, swallowing prey whole."  Tylosaurus kansasensis will become the official Latin name of the giant sea lizard. Unofficially, this type of mosasaur, which is 25-feet long, will be known as "je-Walushka-tanga" (pronounced jay wah-LOOSH-gah DUNG-gah"), meaning "great ocean lizard" in the Kaw or Kanza tribe language. Justin McBride, language coordinator for the Kanza Language Project, said the naming is an honor. "The Kaw language is no longer spoken fluently," he said. "It is easy for mainstream Americans to think that native languages were of lesser importance. But they are every bit as rich as other languages in the world. I think Mike Everhart's wish of going back to the source, going back to 'kansasensis' is a very positive move."

Marsupial Manure Helps Aussies Make Paper
Tasmania: Australia Creative Paper has discovered an unwanted natural resource to create environmentally friendly  paper: marsupial manure. Tasmanian land owners helped scrape together 55 pounds of kangaroo and wallaby dung to make the unique paper pulp, manager Joanne Gair said. 'It's a great product for tourists. but it's also something that gets our eco-friendly message home to a lot of people.''  The sand-colored sheets will be embossed with the words ''Genuine Kangaroo Poo.'' Roughly 400 sheets can be made from 55 pounds of the fibrous droppings.

Kangaroo graphic:          Associated Press

Wildlife officials to test quarantine of bison
Montana: In the coming months, wildlife agents will take bison 100 calves that leave Yellowstone National Park and put them in an experimental quarantine facility. In quarantine, bison will be tested and monitored for signs of a latent brucellosis infection. Half of the bison would be euthanized while in captivity so tests can be conducted on tissues. Officials hope this system will find brucellosis-free bison to start free-ranging herds elsewhere in Montana and the United States. The proposal could also signal a shift in handling Yellowstone bison that wander out of the park. Mike Mease, of the Buffalo Field Campaign, said the project was a waste of money and time and treats wild bison as domestic animals. "We just want to see them treated like other wildlife," he said.

Calif. Elks Will Be Sent to Roam Free
Calif. - In the 1800s, when goldminers and farmers destroyed California's marshy habitats, the state's tule elk populations began to disappear. By the 1970s, only about 500 tule elk survived across the state.  "We were down to an Adam and an Eve, for all we know," said Jon Fischer, head of the elk capture project for the California Department of Fish and Game. After rescue efforts by biologists, dozens of tule elk were captured and transplanted to the 760-acre San Luis refuge. Now, about 3,700 tule elk are grazing in their original habitat, enough to allow limited hunting in certain areas. "This has been a real success story," Fischer said.  Tule elk, which live only in California, are the smallest of the state's three species, but a bull can still reach 1,000 pounds. The elk once roamed the San Joaquin Valley and the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.

Catawba tribe strives to save its tradition of making pottery
South Carolina: The Catawba Cultural Center on the Catawba reservation promotes traditional pottery and other aspects of the tribe's culture to students and Catawbas.  Florence Wade, 82, who began learning pottery-making at age 12, demonstrates the craft for others.  The pottery is handmade from clay collected from the nearby Catawba River. After it dries in the sun, she uses a screen to remove particles and roots. The clay goes through other processes before it is ready to be molded with her skilled hands and several tools, including a 7-by-9-inch board, a piece of an old deer antler, a rock, an old barloe knife and a corncob. "I never know what I am going to make," said Wade, whose art includes pottery, peace pipes, vases, canteens and turtles. When Florence is finished molding the clay, she heats it in her kitchen oven, then fires it outside. No glazes are used. The pottery gets its smooth finish from the rock's rub.  The oldest, most experienced tribal potters are known as master potters. Wade's 90-year-old niece, Evelyn George, is a 2004 recipient of the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award of the state Arts Commission. The award recognizes four S.C. residents who help preserve traditional arts.

Inuk singing star honoured by GG
Canada: Inuk singer Susan Aglukark has been awarded the Order of Canada. Aglukark, whose music blends English and Inukitut languages and cultures, began her recording career in the 1990s. In 1995 her album, This Child, went double platinum and had a #1 hit, O Siem.  Aglukark also shares her time and talents with youth groups to help prevent alcohol and drug use and to address the tragedy of teen suicide. The Order of Canada was established in 1967 to recognize outstanding achievement and service in various fields.

The Didgeridoo

Australia:  The didgeridoo is the oldest wind instrument in the world. It was traditionally played during a corroboree, an Aboriginal dance ceremony to help bring water to the land. Today, many wind instrument musicians use the didgeridoo to practice breathing and to build up the diaphragm. It is also known to help asthma sufferers by helping develop circular breathing techniques. Among the most famous didgeridoo players is musician and artist Stan Yarramunua who carves, burns and paints his own Didgeridoos. Yarramunua, from the Yorta Yorta tribe, uses Mallee Eucalyptus, Bloodwood, Stringy bark and Ironbark. Didgeridoo holes are made in the natural way:  "They're chewed out by white ants,"  Yarramunua said.  It takes approximately 100 years for white ants to hollow a piece of tree to the length required for a didgeridoo.  Yarramunua, who has his own CD called Yarramunua Red, has appeared on stage with Van Halen and has performed privately for Prince, AC/DC, Stevie Wonder, and others. He has also met and designed customised didgeridoos for Snoop Dog and Eminem.

Hear Stan play the didgeridoo:
Photo and article:

Golf pro looking to recruit Native youth
Oklahoma: Walter Hopper represents the South Central PGA Jr. Association, an organization that sponsors over 80 tournaments in Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas. Hopper, who is Osage, encourages Indian youngsters to participate in the sport.  "Golf develops character,Ē he said. "Itís a sport where you are out there on your own so when you mess up, you canít blame it on anyone else. It builds self-confidence.  Also, most people donít realize -- especially when it comes to the girls -- there are more scholarships out there in golf that go unclaimed compared to any other sport.Ē  Hopper believe the reasons for playing golf make good sense from both a spiritual and financial standpoint.
South Central PGA Jr. Associationís website:
Native American Times

No controversy after Grammy awards ceremony
Last year, the Grammys endured heavy criticism for the performance by hip-hop group OutKast. Frontman Andre 3000 sang the hit "Hey Ya!" backed by a man wearing an Indian headdress, scantily clad women in Indian-themed costumes, and a large teepee bellowing smoke. When the University of Southern California marching band later appeared, its members' faces were covered in war paint. This year, however, there were no smoking teepees...nor did women in appear in faux-buckskin outfits...nor did a "chief" appear in Indian headdress. The 2005 Grammys showed respect to Native cultures. Among Grammy Winners:
x Los Lonely Boys, a trio of mixed-heritage Mexican and Native brothers from West Texas played their hit "Heaven." They won the Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group.
x The Best Native American Album went to Bill Miller, a member of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans, for his "Cedar Dreams Songs," a collection of flute instrumentals.
x The first Best Hawaiian Music Album went to "Slack Key Guitar Volume 2," produced by Charles Michael Brotman. The album showcases 10 songs using a unique style of guitar playing known as ki ho'alu, or "loosen the key," in the Native Hawaiian language.
x Ozomatli, a multi-cultural group that combines its indigenous Mexican heritage with Latin, funk, reggae and other styles, took home the Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album award for "Street Signs."

Film row over Pirates "cannibals"
Dominica: Johnny Depp will star in the sequel of Pirates of the Caribbean which begins filming in April. However, plans to portray Dominica's Carib Indians as cannibals are being criticized by Carib Chief Charles Williams. "Our ancestors stood up against early European conquerors and because they stood up...we were labeled savages and cannibals up to today," said Mr. Williams. "This cannot be perpetuated in movies." Mr. Williams has received support from indigenous groups around he world in his efforts to have cannibalism references removed from the film. Disney was unavailable for comment.

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