Native Village 

Youth and Education News

March 23, 2005 Issue 149 Volume 1

"We are INDIGENOUS to this land. We didn't come from China, Mongolia, Ireland or Greece.  We traveled around yes, and met other cultures and peoples, but get this:  we are indigenous "native to these lands." Although it's hard for Eurocentric Americans or Europeans to accept this, our cultures and languages are home grown. The Catholic missionaries and [those] who came over from Spain to steal and plunder couldn't--and--wouldn't believe that indigenous peoples could create a "civilization " more advanced that that in Europe at the time, so they began the process of looking to Europe for the source of inspiration for Indigenous culture here on Turtle Island."     Tom Dostou, Makwa, Midewin Society

South Dakota men planning Native American Holocaust Monument
South Dakota: Three South Dakota men are trying to leave a permanent memorial for their people. Bryan and Laurs Williams and Milton Quinn are planning a Native American Holocaust Monument to tell the stories of North American Indian tribes. The men, members of the Sisseton and Wahpeton Oyate, say Indians faced a holocaust similar to the one that killed 6,000,000 Jews during World War II.  "We also had a holocaust on this continent that will never be forgotten by our people and needs to be immortalized in history," Bryan said. "This is what we want to leave behind." The monument's location may be located on the Lake Traverse Reservation or on sites near Flandreau and Huron. The centerpiece would be a 20-story-tall woman holding a deceased toddler in her arms, symbolizing the thousands of children who have died since Christopher Columbus came to America. The woman would be surrounded by structures facing the four directions. Each would be inscribed with the faces of great Indian leaders.

Pottery Presented as Evidence Of Olmec Culture's Influence
Mexico: A team of scientists that examined pottery samples from Mexico and Central America  believe the Olmecs were the region's first dominant civilization, a "mother culture" that served as the hub of lesser settlements. The Olmec arose more than 3,000 years ago near today's Mexican states of Veracruz and Tabasco. They were most known for spectacular colossal  basalt stone heads, some up to 11-feet tall.  Jeffrey P. Blomster from George Washington University says after analyzing the clays and potsherds, he thinks the other settlements simply copied Olmec symbols and designs. It was only the early Olmec themselves -- at San Lorenzo near Mexico's Gulf Coast -- who exported their pottery.  Not everyone agrees with the new research. Blomster's research team "has demonstrated that pots were traded," said archaeologist David C. Grove, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "They did not demonstrate that trade sent Olmec religious and political ideas" around the region as well.

Sacred peaks to be defiled by wastewater in the name of tourism


Coconino National Forest Supervisor Nora Rasure announced her decision to use reclaimed wastewater to make recreational snow on the San Francisco Peaks. The plan has long been protested by 14 American Indian tribes: the Hopi, Hualapai, Havasupai, Navajo, Kaibab-Paiute, Yavapai-Apache, Salt River, San Carlos Apache, Zuni Pueblo and Acoma
Pueblo. These tribes hold the San Francisco Peaks sacred and carry out ceremonies and collect healing herbs on the high peaks.
''At the very moment that the Hopi Katsina spirits have answered our prayers for rain and happiness, Coconino has placed a dagger in the Hopi's spirituality.'' Leigh J. Kuwanwisiwma, Hopi Cultural Preservation Office.
''[Rasure] chose to break our hearts by choosing to enrich the pockets of a few over enriching the souls of the indigenous people of this land."  Joe Shirley, Navajo.
''With her decision, Rasure is deepening an unhealthy division between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples in the Southwest. ... In order to build healthy relationships, cultural and religious traditions need to be respected.'' Kelvin Long, Educating Communities while Healing and Offering Environmental Support.
''The Forest Service's own documents prove that snowmaking will not impact Flagstaff's economy in a significant way, will not allow more skiers to use Snowbowl and, without adequate natural snow, not improve skiing conditions.'' Andy Bessler, Sierra Club
      ''Unfortunately, we are not surprised by this. The Forest Service has repeatedly favored Snowbowl's commercial goals over spiritual and environmental values, despite vigorous longstanding opposition from tribes and environmentalists.''   Michael Wolcott

Tribes And Forest Service Discuss Sacred Sites
South Dakota: In February, tribal leaders, elders and members met with National Forest Service officials to begin forming an advisory group to define and protect sacred sites.  Three words from the Forest Service described the intent of the conference: collaboration, communication and coordination.  "We want to put more emphasis on tribal relations," said Brad Exton from the Black Hills National Forest.  "We want to continue -- working with tribes in many areas.  It's your ancestors that were in the Black Hills.  We are working on partnerships to see how we can make the Black Hills for everyone."  At an earlier meeting, Alex White Plume, Oglala Sioux, told a group of park officials that the Lakota people no longer visit the Black Hills because of what they have become.  But the healing process is taking place, and the people will once again return to the sacred hills for ceremony and biological and spiritual nurturing. The Black Hills is claimed as ancestral lands by some 22 different tribes.
Indian Country today

Traditional Knowledge Protocol Is First Of Its Kind In Canada
YUKON-The Kaska Nation and TransCanada have signed a Traditional Knowledge Protocol.  The Protocol sets out how Kaska Traditional Knowledge will be integrated into planning, construction and operations of the Alaska Highway Pipeline Project.  "We believe this is the most comprehensive agreement of its kind in Canada," said Kaska Tribal Council Chief Hammond Dick.  "... Together, we produced an agreement that will address needs of both organizations over the long term."  Highlights of the Protocol include:
Recognizing Kaska Elders' roles in decision-making related to gathering, use and management of traditional knowledge;
Acknowledging Kaska ownership rights over their traditional knowledge, including intellectual property rights;
Specific provisions for preserving Kaska sacred sites;
Informed consent by the Kaska must be obtained prior to access to traditional knowledge. 
"This agreement offers value, not just for the Kaska but for all First Nations," said Kaska Dena Council Chief Negotiator Dave Porter.  "It confirms our ownership and control over our traditional knowledge and enables our Elders to lead our efforts."
PIMS Canada, Inc.

Coming of Age: Quinceañera
Quinceañera, a rite of passage for a 15-year-old girl, helps strengthen the ties among Latin communities.  The exact history of the quinceañera is unclear, but most believe it evolved in Mexico from the earliest contact between Spanish explorers and the Aztecs. Both cultures had ceremonies for a young woman's coming of age,  and the traditions intermingled into today's daylong celebration. Usually, the quinceañera begins with a Catholic Mass, then continues with a party highlighted by several traditions: a formal dance; the gift of a doll -representing the girl's last plaything -- and a pair of high heels, her first real woman's shoes.  Caucasian culture has nothing so specific recognizing this key rite of passage, said Dan Wojcik, a University of Oregon professor.  "Americans go through life's transitions alone, often, and our rituals and rites are individualistic and confusing," he said. For Latino families, the quinceañera helps maintain cultural connections, especially when they're far from home.

South Indian Lake seeks First Nation status
Manitoba: South Indian Lake could become Manitoba's 63rd First Nation next month if an agreement is signed by provincial, federal and community officials. South Indian Lake began as a a winter camp almost 100 years ago. It's now a permanent village of about 900 people, most of whom are members of the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation.  Currently, the South Indian Lake is an incorporated community under the provincial system. Under a new federal system, the community would receive $5,200,000 from Canada and $24,000,000 from Manitoba over an eight year period. However, some community residents want to delay plans so Métis and non-aboriginal residents will be considered and consulted. "They weren't looked at all, like part of a service agreement and things like that," said Carol Wood.  If the agreement is signed on April 1, the Opiponnapiwin Cree Nation will become an official reserve in Manitoba.

Lost Tribe Seeks Status

Ke-chím-qua, Big Bear,Kickapoo 1830 painting by George Catlin

Arixona: The "Lost Kickapoos" is a small band of 150 Indians that has lived on Arizona's Mexican border for more than 100 years. Now they are reconnecting to their roots.  Last year, with help from Oklahoma's Kickapoo tribe, the Arizona group purchased a building north of the border to serve as a tribal field office.  The tribe plans to seek trust status for the building.  If successful, the tribal land holding would make the Kickapoos the 23rd official tribe in Arizona, making them eligible to participate in state gambling compacts. The Kickapoos originated near the Great Lakes, then moved south and west to avoid encroaching White settlers.  Eventually, they were forced to relocate to Oklahoma.  A splinter group left and settled on lands in Texas and Mexico, and another group moved to the Arizona-Sonora border.  About half live on the U.S. side.  Many of the rest live in a tiny Mexican village called Tamichopa.
Arizona Republic

Oklahomans and American Indian Chamber of Commerce rush to aid of Last Comanche Code-Talker
Oklahoma: Charles Chibitty, one of the last surviving Comanche Code-Talkers and one of Oklahoma’s most gifted dancers, has been admitted to a nursing home. Alone and  confused, Chibitty is being offered aid and comfort by The American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Oklahoma and concerned Tulsa Indians.  A hard and uncomfortable bed has been replaced with a new medical bed to make life easier for one of America's true war heroes, but the sparse room has nothing to reflect and honor Chibitty's colorful nature. The AICCO is accepting donations from well-wishers across the country. If you are interested in helping, contact: 1-800-652-4226.
To send a card to Mr. Chibitty:

Mr. Charles Chibitty
Maplewood Nursing Home
6202 E. 61st Street
Tulsa, OK 74136

Mourning the loss of Ernest Childers
Oklahoma: Ernest Childers, a Creek Indian from Broken Arrow, has died at age 87. "Oklahoma has lost a genuine hero with the passing of Lt. Col. Ernest Childers," said Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry. "His life was and is a true inspiration.”  Childers was one of five American Indians to receive the Medal of Honor for bravery during World War II. It happened in Italy in 1943, as Childers and eight other men charged toward a German machine gun position. The group advanced to a rock wall overlooking a cornfield and Childers,  suffering from a broken foot, ordered cover fire so he could proceed alone. He was immediately fired upon by two enemy snipers. "I felt the heat from the bullets, so I came to the conclusion that they were after me," Childers recalled. Childers returned fire and killed both snipers before advancing to the machine-gun positions. He single-handedly killed everyone in the first position, then joined his fellow soldiers to fire upon and neutralize the second one. Childers wasn’t done yet. He continued on to a house further up the hill and captured an enemy mortar observer. "The American Indian has only one country to defend, and when you're picked on, the American Indian never turns his back,” he later said.

Six Siouxland women honored for excellence
Six Siouxland women were honored for their leadership, character and contributions to the community during the 21st annual Women of Excellence recognition banquet. They are:
Women Pursuing Truth: Marilyn Charging -- Director of Equity Education.
Women Striving to Improve the Quality of Life: Amy Slevin -- Director of Clinical Projects for Mercy Medical Center.
Women Taking Risks: Connie Bear King-- Director of the Sioux City Office of Indian Education.
Women Creating Art: Marcia Poole--Director of the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center.
Women Helping Women: Sarah Berridge--Director of Human Resources at Ho-Chunk Inc.
Young Woman of Excellence: Pamela Anderson--8th Grade Math and Reading Teacher.

UKB Chief launches language offensive
Oklahoma: George Wickliffe, the new leader of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, is a certified Cherokee language instructor. He wants to make sure the tribe’s language remains alive.  Wickliffe wants to teach babies how to speak Cherokee as their first language.  “It is clear that the Keetoowah Cherokee language is being lost and it is important to save it,” said Wickliffe. “One way to achieve this is by providing bi-lingual babysitting services to mothers who are serious about their babies learning Cherokee as their first language. The elders who speak Cherokee could be used to teach the babies...By doing this, there would not be a need for fancy daycare centers, just a good place for Cherokee babies to be cared for and taught the Cherokee language by fluent Cherokee speakers." The tribe is currently outlining plans for teaching their language-classes in public schools and the general adult population.

2005 Nunavut Language Award Winners Announced
Nunavut: The Nunavut Language Awards celebrate Nunavummiut who promote the daily use of Inuit language.  This year, four recipients were chosen in youth, adult and elder-based categories:
Youth Language Award: Miali-Elise Coley from Iqaluit.  Coley is President of the Inuit Circumpolar Youth Conference and promotes Inuktitut through cultural appearances and public speaking events.  She is studying to become a teacher.
Adult Language Award: Mark Kalluak of Arviat.  Kalluak has translated the Bible's New Testament into Inuktitut,  became editor of the Keewatin Echo (Kivalliq region's first newspaper,)  and works to preserve oral sayings and improve Inuktitut pronunciation.
Adult Language Award: Gloria Mimialik of Iqaluit.  Mimialik, a nursing student, encourages classmates to use Inuktitut medical terms and encourages Iqaluit's youth to speak and write in Inuktitut.
Elder Language Award: Manasa Evic from Pangnirtung.  Evic has recorded the community elders' stories for schools, teaches youth how to raise dog teams, and passes on IInuktitut and traditional knowledge to younger generations.
This is the third year for the Nunavut Language Awards

HCJB World Radio To Air Daily Broadcasts In Cofan Language
Ecuador: About 1,000  members of the indigenous Cofan tribe are scattered throughout the Amazon rainforest in northeast Ecuador and southeast Colombia. To better serve them, HCJB radio is recording and broadcasting radio programmes in the unique Cofan language.  Last year, 36 songs were recorded in the Cofan language, with more than 103 programmes produced at a radio studio. The first known Cofan Language transmission from HCJB World Radio was aired on December 17, 2004.  Cofan programmes will begin airing daily Monday through Friday as soon as fix-tuned radios are distributed to the people.
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