Youth and Education News
Sept 7, 2005 Issue 156 Volume 1
"It is time to talk with our Brothers and Sisters of other nations, colors and beliefs. The ideas and philosophies of yesterday may be the key to the world family's future." Edward Benton-Benai, Ojibwe
What Columbus didn't find
Charles C. Mann, author of "1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus," says that much of what we learned in school is not the whole story. Among his points:
When Christopher Columbus invaded the New World in 1492, more people inhabited the Americas than lived in Europe;
The largest Aztec city — Tenochtitlán, the site of modern-day Mexico City — was more populous than Paris;
Unlike European cities, Tenochtitlán had running water and clean streets;
At least 4,000 years ago, Mesoamerican farmers developed maize (which led to today's corn) from wild plants into a staple crop. No one understands how they did it. "Somebody who did that today would win a Nobel Prize," said Nina V. Federoff, a geneticist from Pennsylvania State University;
The Inca, Maya, Toltec and others operated on a continental scale spanning many generations;
Indians cleared forests with fire, irrigated and terraced vast farmland, and built cities and temples — producing ingenious technology and culture as well as devastating wars and deforestation.
Germs killed more native people than war. Unlike Europeans, the Indians had no immunities to the diseases;
European diseases followed Francisco Pizarro's march against the Incas and Hernando Cortes' invasion of Aztec Mexico;
Measles, cholera and smallpox epidemics followed Native traders and messengers who unknowingly carried the germs back to their homelands;
In the early 15th century, Hernando De soto's four year expedition through the Southeast saw hordes of people lining the Mississippi River. 100 years later, Sieur Robert Cavelier de La Salle canoed down the same stretch of river and found no trace of man;
De Soto didn't see buffalo, but La Salle found them everywhere, filling the ecological void left by the missing people. "That's one reason whites think of Indians as nomadic hunters," said UCLA anthropologist Russell Thornton. "Everything else — all the heavily populated urbanized societies — was wiped out." http://www.latimes.com/features/printedition/books/la-bk-rossi21aug21,1,1346798,print.story
Ancient "footprints" found in Mexico
Chile: Researchers may have found footprints near Puebla, Mexico, that mark the oldest evidence of human presence in the Americas. "I believe they are footprints," says geoarchaeologist Silvia Gonzalez. "But we are being cautious, as we need to do more work." Preserved in volcanic ash, the footprints are dated to about 40,000 years ago, beating the oldest evidence of America's humans by 25,000 years. That evidence is found in the Monte Verde ruins, which contains signs of campfires and other clues of human occupation. Most scientists believe the first people in America migrated from Asia 15,000-10,000 years ago over a land bridge across the Bering Straights. But genetic analyses of Native American populations indicate that some immigrants may have arrived much earlier than that, up to 40,000 years ago. No direct evidence has been found for this early arrival.
State agrees to buy land to protect Indian mound
Florida: The state of Florida will pay $4,700,000 to protect Letchworth Mound, the tallest Indian burial mound in the state. The 46-foot tall mound is 1,000 years old. The state will buy 109.6 acres and will pay a landowner not to develop another 1,281.6 acres surrounding the State Park.
Pueblos protest on anniversary of 1680 revolt
New Mexico: On the anniversary of the 1680 Pueblo Revolt, Pueblo tribal members protested against statues of Juan de Onate and Albuquerque's Tricentennial Celebration. The Indians say both honor conquistadors. Santa Ana Pueblo Councilman Manuel R. Cristobal read a message to Gov. Bill Richardson. ''Honoring a murderer such as Onate is offensive to the Pueblo people, as a monument to Hitler is to the Jews or a monument to Stalin is to the Russian people,'' Cristobal said. ''There should either be no monument, or a monument honoring the various peoples of New Mexico. Today on the anniversary of the Pueblo Revolt, Aug. 10, 1680, I honor the San Juan Pueblo leader Po'pay (Pope') who led the Pueblo Indian Revolt of 1680, and the only successful American Indian revolution against the powerful sovereign of Spain. We also commemorate this historic moment to all the warriors -- the Keres, Walatowa, Tiwa, Tewa, Zuni, Hopi, Apache, Comanche and Dine' [Navajo]. We honor this day with a peaceful gesture, a symbol of hope.'' Tribal members from Taos Pueblo, San Ildefonso Pueblo and Santa Ana Pueblo were among those protesting.
Idaho's Nez Perce display rare 150-year-old tepee
Idaho: A 150-year-old bison-hide tepee was recently displayed at the Nez Perce Historical Park. The tepee, one of just a few surviving tepees of its kind, is made from 16 to 20 bison hides and marks a way of life that died with the buffalo in the 1880s. "This tepee belonged to my great-grandmother, the wife of Chief Lawyer," said Mylie Lawyer. "My father lived in it when he was little. At night, they would roll up the edges, look at the stars and hear the stories of their people." Rangers from the National Park Service gingerly worked the soft hide onto 15 red fir poles. The bottom is frayed, and it sustained significant water damage, requiring about two feet to be cut from the bottom. "It was a lot bigger and in better shape before," said tribal elder Horace Axtell, who displayed it for the National Congress of American Indians during the 1950s the last time the tepee was shown publicly. The tepee stayed up for less than an hour while people carefully climbed inside and had their pictures snapped standing beside it. Of the six or seven bison-hide tepees left in the United States, half belong to the Nez Perce Tribe.
First Nations, Metis and Intuit Veterans Journey to Battlefields of Europe
Ontario: This fall, Aboriginal people who gave their lives in wartime will be honored in Europe with Calling Home Ceremonies. Twenty Aboriginal WWII vets and 13 youth will join Aboriginal spiritual leaders and visit World War II sites including Ypres, Vimy Ridge, and Juno Beach in Normandy. There they will incorporate the customs and traditions of First Nations, Metis and Inuit people to return the spirits of fallen warriors to rest with their ancestors in Canada. In addition, an Inukshuk will be constructed and placed at an appropriate overseas location as a permanent reminder of the contribution of Canada's First Peoples in service to their country.
"Solitude" by Lori J. York: www.lodestar2.com/.../ inukshuk_solitude.html
West Virginia: Along the Ohio River, a lack of rainfall is uncovering stone petroglyphs along the river's edge and bottom. Some haven't been seen for several years; some are being discovered for the first time. The most famous perhaps is the petroglyph in Salt Rock about 100 yards from the Guyandotte River. That site was first documented in 1848 in the Smithsonian Institute’s publication "Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley." "I think these are a lot more exciting than even Indian mounds because this is specific communication," said Steve Shaffer. Shaffer has spent five years -- and plenty of his own money -- researching and writing his first documentary film, "Written in Stone: A Documentary Exploring the Prehistoric Native American Rock Art of the Ohio River Valley." However, his sprits are sagging due to lack of funds. "I've written 170 grants [applications) and have gotten one," Shaffer said. "We have all of this art 400, 500 and 600 years old. What kind of value can we put on it? I think it’s priceless, and I want to save the best of these so your grandkids and my grandkids can come and see them."
Ducheneaux designated Tribal Elder of the Year
Wisconsin: The National Indian School Board Association has elected Leslie Ducheneaux as Tribal Elder of the Year, 2005. A Cheyenne River Sioux member, Leslie is a tireless educator who helped integrate Lakota language and culture into the curriculum of Tiospaye Topa School in South Dakota. Known as Mato Sake, or Bear Claw, Ducheneaux criticizes the methods of teaching tribal languages in a noun-based approach -- body parts, colors, and animals. ''It doesn't work,'' stated Ducheneaux. ''It must be put into sentences -- we teach it in verbs.'' He also noted the importance of tribal language discussions that become more complex as a child matures. Leslie, who is also a Sun dancer, Pipe keeper, and keeper of the Sweat Lodge, is the great-great-grandson of Red-White Buffalo Woman. ''My great-great-grandmother, Red-White Buffalo Woman, was killed in the Powder River country,'' Ducheneaux said. Her Tiospaye [extended family] fled from the U.S. Army to avoid incarceration on the reservation. Crazy Horse's camp was overrun by the soldiers. She was shot by a horse soldier ... her family had to escape, so they couldn't go back after her." Tears came into his eyes. ''I tell my own children 'we must live this because Grandma died for you. She died for the Lakota language and the way of life ...' I have to carry this ... if I don't, I do a disservice to her."
JALISCO: NAHUATL LANGUAGE, CUSTOMS DISAPPEARING
Mexico: The language and culture of Nahuatl communities in Jalisco State are rapidly disappearing. The blame: poverty, discrimination and emigration. "I believe that there are efforts by the Nahuas in Jalisco to recuperate, but I feel that they are losing," said Mario Alberto Reyna Bustos, president of the Commission on Indigenous Affairs. Before 2000, 22,936 Nahuas lived in six Jalisco communities: Cuautitlán de García Barragán, Tuxpan, Zapotitlán de Vadillo, Villa Purificación, Tuxcacuesco and Tolimán. Today, less than 10,000 remain. "We all know it, there's no basic services, no work, no education," said justice official Antonio Vázquez Romero. "(The people in Tuxpan) see indigenous people as ignorant, human waste, something horrible." He added that the Nahuas seemed backwards because they lacked the same opportunities as others. "Now only the older folks speak Nahuatl. The language is being lost ... because parents don't want their children to suffer (discrimination) as they did." Among several Nahua comments:
b "The first few times when I went to Guadalajara, I went dressed in traditional clothes, and people would ask me where I was performing at ... where was the circus going to be, ridiculing me." Vázquez Romero
b "People can't eat and live (by speaking Nahuatl), and it is better that children are raised to speak as the others, so that no one makes fun of them." Juan José Partida who will not teach his son the Nahuatl language.
b "I know I am Nahuatl, but I really don't know much about it. They call you an indio (indian), it's just better not to say anything at all." Juan José Partida.
Nahuatl is Mexico's most widely used indigenous tongue, with an estimated 1,500,000 speakers. The majority live in states such as Morelos, Puebla, Guerrero, Veracruz and the State of Mexico.
Cook College in Tempe, Arizona to Offer American Indian Language Courses This Fall
Arizona: Beginning this fall semester, Cook College & Theological School will offer courses in American Indian languages. The 3-credit courses will be offered in the evening, so that students who are employed during the day may attend. Native American faculty will teach the courses which include Lakota, Navajo, and Pima. Sequential courses with more advanced content will be offered in each language in the spring.
Body Appoints New Chairman
New Caledonia: Members of the Kanak Customary Senate have appointed Chief Paul Jewine from Mare Island, Loyalty Group, as its new chairman. One of Chief Jewine's first priorities will be to create a Kanak Language Academy "for all those who don't want Kanak languages to disappear." He also wants to establish a legal forum for Palabra, which are traditional talks. "This would be the starting point for wider discussions on all the other economic issues related to land tenure: Kanak successor rights transmission from one generation to the other," Jewine said.
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