Youth and Education News
October 19, 2005 Issue 159 Volume 1
"To [Europeans] we were only human when it came to territory, land cessions and whose side you were on." Susan Harjo, Cheyenne-Muscogee
Hurricane Relief Needed in Native American Communities of Southern Louisiana
Louisiana: The Houma, Pointe-au-Chien, and Biloxi Chitimacha tribes are struggling with relief efforts for tribal members devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. For many communities, government aid has been virtually absent, and supplies are only coming in from grassroots relief efforts. The more populous Indian communities in Terrebonne Parish escaped extensive damage from Hurricane Katrina but became victims of Hurricane Rita's storms. Another 4,000 people were forced from their homes by eight feet of flood waters and a four-inch layer of mud. The rising tides from Hurricane Rita also breached recently repaired levees in other Native communities. Without immediate help with elder care, cleaning, and rebuilding damaged homes, tribal members may leave their communities and fragment traditions and culture.
Supplies needed include:
1) Cleaning materials like bleach, soap, mops, squeegees, brushes, sponges, rubber gloves, and mold-rated respirators.
2) Sheets, linens, towels and other basic household items.
3) Construction materials including tools, saws, hammer/nails/screws, plywood, roofing materials, paneling, etc.
4) Toiletry items like toothbrush/toothpaste, brushes, soap, and other hygiene products.
5) Baby items such as diapers, formula, clothes, cribs/bedding, personal items.
6) Children's needs like reading and coloring books, school supplies, backpacks, bedding.
7) Campers, RVs, trailers and other forms of temporary housing, especially for elders.
8) Gas and gift cards for stores like Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart and gas stations.
In addition to supplies, VOLUNTEER WORK TEAMS ARE URGENTLY NEEDED including:
1) Household cleaning teams to help clean and scrub houses of mud and mold.
2) Construction teams to help rebuild homes, businesses and provide temporary housing.
3) Educators and childcare assistants to help with childcare needs for those who have lost their homes.
Long term FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE is also needed.
Many of those affected are commercial fishermen facing damage to boats and ports, clogged waterways, pollution impacts, and a lack of processing facilities. A Fishery Resource Disaster has been declared for the Gulf of Mexico.
To help, please contact Naomi Archer at (828) 230-1404 or by email to email@example.com. Naomi is a non-native organizer who has been working in solidarity with tribal leaders to provide aid to Indian communities, primarily through Common Ground Relief (www.commongroundrelief.org). She is organizing the Four Directions Relief Project (http://www.intuitivepath.org/relief.html) specifically for these areas.
To send money or material donations directly to individual tribes, please use the contacts below:
Direct Relief to the United
Direct Relief to Pointe-au-Chien
Direct Relief to
Isle a Jean Charles Band of Biloxi Chitimacha
Direct Relief to Grand
Caillou/Dulac Band of the Biloxi Chitimacha
Direct Relief to
Bayou Lafourche Band of the Biloxi Chitimacha
Caribou People wage last stand in the Arctic
Canada: A catastrophe is facing the Gwitchin Indian tribe: the once-mighty Porcupine caribou herd, which has been their main food source since the last Ice Age, is dwindling. Nobody knows exactly why. And now the U.S. government wants to drill for oil in the caribous' calving grounds in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The Inupiats, or Eskimos, generally support drilling in ANWR for the jobs and revenues it will bring to Alaska's frozen North Slope. But further south in the Canadian Yukon, the Gwitchin Indian tribe views the new oil rigs in the same light as Plains Indians watched wagon trains cross the prairie horizon. For the 7,000 Gwitchin - "Caribou People" whose population is divided between Canada and Alaska - the stakes couldn't be higher. The Gwitchin fear that oil rigs in the refuge will herald the slow death of the caribou and the tribe's 13,000-year-old subsistence culture, the last of its kind in North America. Sometime later this month, Congress is set to decide whether to allow oil exploration to proceed in ANWR, the country's premier wildlife refuge. [Editors Note: It will take 10 years before a drop of oil from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge reaches the gas pump -- and another 10 years after that before the drilling is at peak production. Only then - 20 years down the road -- will Americans save a penny per gallon.]
Help protect the Arctic Refuge: http://www.savearcticrefuge.org/2005/newsarchive/101105.html
Birth of A white bison
Quebec: On September 21, 2005, a white bison calf was born in Valley-of-Lakes, Quebec, Canada. Named Prophecy, the newborn baby is a female. Prophecy was born on an Athabascan buffalo reserve owned by Stephan Denis. According to Denis, this is the 7th white buffalo calf born in recent years. It all started in 1995 with the birth of a white bison female in Wisconsin. Named "Miracle" this baby white bison was the first white female to be born in generations. At once, a traditional Lakota medicine man, Floyd Hand, said: "For us the Indians, it is like the Return of Christ for the white." The Lakota-Dakota-Nakota Nations (Sioux) were visited several centuries ago by a spiritual being, the White Buffalo Calf Woman. She gave the tribes their highest spiritual lessons and peace ceremonies. If the new white bison, Prophecy, fulfills her prophecy, she will change colors four times to reflect the races of the world.
Read more about White Buffalo Calf Woman: http://www.manataka.org/page20.html
vantage point's the best for a lunar rising
Ohio: Two thousand years ago, American Indians built the Octagon Earthworks, a vast lunar observatory that accurately predicts where the moon will rise. On October 22, hundreds -- maybe thousands -- of people will descend upon Newark, Ohio, to see the moon rise to its maximum extreme in an 18.6 year cycle. They will look across the 20-acre circle and beyond a connecting 50-acre octagon to a spot where the moon is expected to rise at its northernmost point on the eastern horizon. Professors Ray Hively and Robert Horn have confirmed the Octagon Earthworks is precisely aligned to the moon's rising and setting. Their research contributed to the Newark Earthworks' being listed in The Seventy Wonders of the Ancient World, published in 1999. The Octagon Earthworks is part of the Newark Earthworks, which originally covered four square miles. Many consider it sacred grounds. But access is limited -- the private Moundbuilders Country Club, which opened in 1911 and leases the site, built a golf course on it. The Ohio Historical Society acquired the site in 1933 and continues to lease it to the club. This has angered many. Merry Hapi, who is of American Indian ancestry, will be there. She's the former education specialist for the Ohio Historical Society in Newark. The Octagon site is "probably as important to the Native American people as the Vatican is to Catholics, " she said. "I suspect this was a place where people went for vision, for all kinds of ceremony, to purify the soul."
Historic Klukwan tunic repatriated to clan
Alaska: The Kaagwaantaan Clan and Sealaska Heritage Institute celebrated the return and repatriation of a Chilkat Brown Bear tunic which belonged to Kudeinahaa, a clan leader from Klukwan. Ernestine Hayes, a Kaagwaantaan of the Wolf House, said in the Tlingit world view, everything has a spirit. She said the ancestors' spirits survive through the stories, songs and objects that are passed on from generation to generation. "[The tunic's] importance probably lies most profoundly in allowing our loved one to come home," Hayes said. "The legality of course is well appreciated, but I just feel it is here and it hears more Tlingit being spoken, and it feels fresher and more at rest and more at home." Edwina White, a Kaagwaantaan of the Box House, agrees. "It's like bringing back your grandparents to be with you. It's a strong feeling among our people. The regalia is not just for show off; it's who we are." The ceremonial property, or at.o'ow, was returned by the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology in Berkeley, Calif. The museum acquired the tunic in 1977 from the daughter of Louis Levey, a fur trader who bought it from an unknown seller in 1936.
Volunteers drive museum's revival
New York: In a late 2002 cost-cutting move, Onondaga County closed Sainte Marie Museum to save $336,000. Eighteen months later, 156 volunteers between the ages of 7-86 have reopened the museum. Sainte Marie Museum tells the story of 17th century contact between the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) and French missionaries. ''They have done exceptional work -- above and beyond anyone's expectations,'' said Robert Geraci, commissioner of parks for Onondaga County. ''They show a great level of commitment.'' Located near Syracuse, Sainte Marie recreates an active French Jesuit mission on the eastern shore of Onondaga Lake in 1656 - '58. The original mission housed over 50 priests, soldiers and workers who came to explore the region and spread the Catholic faith. The mission and its site include vegetable and herb gardens, a bread oven, a half-built dugout canoe, blacksmith shop, kitchen, soldiers' quarters and the chapel.
council chambers a historic landmark
Arizona: In September, the Interior Department named the Navajo Nation Council chambers in Window Rock as a National Historic Landmark. Recently, the council held its own ceremony to dedicate a plaque written in Navajo and English. "In essence, the Council Chamber is a sacred place where planning, discussions, sharing of ideas and decisions are made for the future of the Navajo people," said Navajo Nation Speaker, Lawrence T. Morgan. "It is a cultural resource and a sacred treasure that is owned by the Navajo Nation." The chambers was completed in 1935 and was built by Navajo construction workers using mostly local materials. The structure resembles a Navajo hogan and features designs by Navajo artists.
California: For California Indians, autumn was historically marked by a two-week-long "gathering," to celebrate the fall harvest. Members of various tribes would meet to trade goods, catch up with distant relatives and perhaps find a marriage partner. This yearly tradition lasted until the 1760s, when Spanish missionaries and Mexican ranchers pushed into California tribal lands. Once there, they either enticed of forced the Indians to work for them in building missions, farming or doing menial labor. The Indians were forbidden to speak native languages, and many of their traditional cultural expressions, like the fall gathering, ended. In recent years, some California Indian tribes have brought back the fall gathering, but now the events are usually one day long and are open to educate the general public about American Indian history and culture. "A lot of people in the Central Valley don't know that there are Indians here," said Jennifer Morgan, a ranger and interpreter at the San Luis Reservoir State Park in Los Banos, "or they don't know anything about Indians other than what they see in movies."
delegation thanks Russian Chukotka
Washington: - Members of the Makah Tribe traveled nearly 3,000 miles to thank people in Russia's Chukotka region for a gift enabling the Makah to harvest a single gray whale in 1999. The indigenous Chukotka people gave the Makah a share of its annual gray whale quota during the International Whaling Commission's 1997 meeting. ''It was just an amazing thing they did for us,'' said Ben Johnson, Makah tribal chairman. The two tribes are exchanging cultural visits to strengthen their relationship -- in 2004, the Chukotka Native dance troupe Ergyron visited Neah Bay, and traditional marine mammal hunters have visited in the past. ''I think our relationship is a part of their desire to reach out to other Native cultures and cement those relationships in the U.S. and around the world,'' said Micah McCarty, Makah tribal councilman. ''They are coming out of a period of isolation following the Cold War, and now they have more opportunities to reach out. Their governor has been very supportive of our relationship.''
EXTINCTION ON THE HORIZON FOR INDIGENOUS TRIBE IN CHILE
Chile The next-to-last member of Chile’s Yagán tribe, 84-year-old Emelinda Acuña, has passed away. Living her last years in Puerto Williams on the Isla Navarino, she wove traditional baskets out of reeds and attempted to relate the “treasures” of her nearly extinct culture. “She always tried to demonstrate and show our culture,” said Acuña’s sister-in-law, Cristina Calderón, the last pureblood Yagán tribal member. The Yagána people were among the last in the world to encounter Western civilization. They lived off the ocean's natural resources. When the Chilean and Argentine governments began to explore Tierra del Fuego in the late 19th century, the indigenous population numbered around 50,000. Fifty years later, due to disease, dislocation, bounties and over-exploitation of their traditional food sources, only 350 indigenous people remained. "With the arrival of the conquistadors began the extermination of 90 million natives of South America and destruction of all cultures on this side of the Atlantic,” said Argentine journalist Marta Gordillo. “There is nothing to celebrate on [Columbus Dad], unless you want to celebrate the death and cultural destruction of the conquest.”
California: The University of California houses a database of papers by American linguist J.P. Harrington, who traveled the West collecting pages of notes on native languages. His resources are proving invaluable to California tribes striving to protect their languages. Since working with researchers and doing detective work, Quirina Luna-Costillas is now "semifluent" in Mutsun and teaching the language to her children. The Mutsun tribe also found many songs they are starting to bring back, along with the dances. "We're proud of our culture and who we are," Luna-Costillas said. "It is important to understand that your people didn't just fade out and not exist anymore. You get a little tired of hearing that you're extinct." Other California tribes have also used the Harrington papers to help revitalize their languages. The Pechanga tribe now employs a linguist full time to teach its children their ancestral language, and the Hoopa have set up their own language program as well.
Chickasaw culture comics drawn from history
Oklahoma: In 2004, the Chickasaw Nation introduced the first four comic books in the Chickasaw Adventures series. A time-traveling hero named Johnny is featured in:
Book #1, "The Journey Begins": Johnny is present when the Chickasaws expel Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto from their community in 1541.
Book #2, "The Battle of Akia": Johnny witnesses a battle with the French in 1736.
Book #3, "Tears at Fort Coffee": Johnny sees Chickasaws dying of smallpox in Indian Territory in 1837.
Book #4, "The Making of a Storyteller": Johnny goes back to Indian Territory in 1906 as the Chickasaws' tribal land was being broken into allotments.
"The history in the stories is tremendous, and the art is exceptional," said Greg Chadwell of Layne Morgan Media, the comic books' publisher. Layne Morgan, whose chief executive is American Indian, began the Chickasaw project in spring 2004 by previewing a book with the tribe. The tribe had 250,000 copies of each book printed. Copies of the first set were mailed to each Chickasaw family. The rest are being sold. The first set was among four finalists nationally for the 2005 Independent Publisher Book Award in the category of young multicultural fiction. Book five is now being printed and will be available soon. Because of its success with the Chickasaws, Layne Morgan Media is working on books for other tribes, Chadwell said, although he won't name names. "We're not ready to reveal that yet," he said.
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