Native Village 

Youth and Education News

April 1, 2006 Issue 166  Volume 1

"Within our culture, our new buffalo is education."  Keith Moore

New York: Reader’s Digest has named 17-year-old Jeff May as its Hero of the Year.  On March 21, 2005,  Jeff was a student at Red Lake Senior High School, MN, when another student, Jeff Weise, opened fire in the school.  May tacked Weise and grappled with him for just enough time, witnesses estimate, to spare the lives of a dozen people. May was injured when Weise shot him. The bullet went through his cheek, fracture his jawbone, and lodged in his neck.   After the shooting stopped, May was airlifted to a Fargo, ND, hospital.  He suffered a stroke that immobilized his left side and required surgery to remove the bullet. Today Jeff is back in school, but still sees physical and speech therapists.   May was selected by thousands of readers who voted for him online at  "Jeff is the quintessential hero," said Reader’s Digest Editor-in-Chief, Jackie Leo. "He saved the lives of his fellow students by risking his own."  Jeff May will honoered at a special ceremony on April 7 at the New York Stock Exchange.
Eagle Photo:    Reader's Digest

Clan Mothers Lay it on the Line
Canada: Recently, powerful Six Nation clan mothers locked arms with more than 100 native women to protest the building of a subdivision near Caledonia. The clan mothers describe their actions as a "land reclamation."  Despite a judge's order to arrest them, the women stood their ground.  Droves of supporters from Canada and the United States stood in support as the arrest deadline arrived, then passed.  No one went to jail.  The clan mothers later issued a statement to project developers, government authorities, and "Her Majesty the Queen."  The statement said developers have no business on the disputed land.  "Therefore, we the clan mothers command the agents, representatives and officers of the said British corporation to be at peace and refrain from any acts of violence to spill blood or interfere with the rights of the Onkwe'hon:we’ (the aboriginal people)," they wrote. The missive was signed "Clan Mothers." Henco Industries Limited, the developers, stated they have legal title to the land, and that no one had protested during the past three years when housing development was being planned.
H-Amindian Listserve

Native spirits soar as Sweden returns historic B.C.  totem pole Last Updated
Sweden:  A 134-year-old totem pole is being returned home after being displayed for decades at the Stockholm Museum of Ethnography.  A 15-member delegation of the Haisla First Nation was on hand in Stockholm to receive the totem pole. "The old pole has been set free," said Louisa Smith.  "It is no longer in shackles.  The Haisla erected the 9-metre pole in 1872 at the Kitlope Rive to honour their forest spirit for saving the tribe from a smallpox epidemic.  It disappeared under mysterious circumstances in the 1920s.   In return for the original, the Haisla carved a replacement totem pole for the museum to serve as a symbolic link between the Haisla and the people of Sweden.  This may be the first time a cultural artifact has been voluntarily returned to a Canadian aboriginal group from a collection outside North America.

 Local dig produces the 'Holy Grail' of archaeology
Pennsylvania: Two miles south of Greencastle, a typical archaeological dig became a super site when a paleo point was found.  "A paleo point is the Holy Grail of archaeology," said archaeologist Doug Stine.  The artifact is a stone point from a spear used during the Paleo-Indian period from 10,000 to 8000 B.C. -- just after the last ice age. Small enough to hide in the palm of your hand, it can be identified by grooves chipped into each side so the stone would slip into a split wood shaft.  Paleo points are uncommon due to low population density during the short Paleo-Indian period.  Ron Powell, the site supervisor and engineer, is convinced the area was a permanent community for many ages since civilization. "The spring produces 650 gallons of water a minute," he explained. "This is what drew people here for 11,000 years."  More recently, he said, the area was the crossroads for two great Indian trails: the Virginia Trail and the Georgetown Road.

Site of Powhatan's Village to Be on List
Virginia: Werowocomoco was Chief Powhatan's headquarters when Jamestown was founded in 1607.  Now the village site where Smith and Powhatan met -- and where Smith claims the chief's daughter, Pocahontas, saved his life --  has been approved for listing on the National Register of Historic Places  Werowocomoco was about 15 miles from Jamestown. Powhatan, seeking distance from Jamestown, abandoned Werowocomoco in 1609 and moved farther west.  The site of Werowocomoco was identified in 2002. Archaeological investigations have been ongoing since 2003.
Werowocomoco Research Group information about the site:

Surviving By Passing On Traditions
Ontario: Unlike her older relatives, Erin Webkamigad can't speak fluent Ojibwa, but it's something she wants to learn.  "In order to know where you're going, you have to know where you come from,"  said the 20-year-old University of Guelph student.   Webkamigad's father and his siblings were among thousands of young aboriginals forced to attend Canadian residential schools where native languages, traditions, and cultures were discouraged.  To this day, she and her four brothers and sisters are feeling the effects.  "We're just now learning our language, picking up the pieces," she said.  "My dad communicates fluently with his siblings in Ojibwa ... it's the passing it on we're working on."  Passing on traditional knowledge is the key to survival for aboriginal culture, said Wendy Stewart from Anishnabeg Outreach Centre. "There's a need in this community to bridge the gap between elders and youth," she said. "Our elders carry that traditional knowledge, and our youth have become urbanized.  Without that communication, there's nobody to carry (the traditions) in the future."  AOC is offering Elders and Youth conferences, workshops, and counseling sessions.  Webkamigad and other university students are sharing their experiences in panel discussions.  Webkamigad says it's another opportunity to meet and learn from community members.
H-Amindian Listserve

Spielberg series sued for haircut
New Mexico: A Mescalero Apache family is suing the producers of Steven Speilberg's TV-series, Into the West.  The Ponce family said their 8-year old daughter's hair was cut for without permission.  Ponce's daughter, Christina, had been acting in mini-series.  "It's part of our culture not to cut a girl's hair until her Coming of Age ceremony," said her father, Danny Ponce. "The only ones allowed to do that are the parents."  Mr Ponce said that before it was cut, his daughter's hair fell midway down her back. He claims her hair was cut to make her look like a boy because not enough young males of Indian heritage turned out for the casting call.    Mescalero tradition forbids cutting a girl's hair as she approaches puberty, in preparation for a sacred Coming of Age ceremony that requires her hair to reach her waist.

Indian Tradition Marches On In Devastated Neighborhoods

Louisiana:  During the recent Mardi Gras in New Orleans, black men masked as Native American warriors sang their sacred Mardi Gras Indian hymn, My Indian Red.  Like others who suffered in last year's devastating hurricanes, the city's black tribal community is weary but not yet broken.  "God's people will always stand strong,' said Nelson Burke, big chief of the Red Hawk Hunters. Cherice Nelson, a Mardi Gras historian, said  "My Indian Red" and its centuries-old rhythms is a prayer song for past and present warriors who use the spirit of their African and Native American ancestors to see them through the tough times.  Black Mardi Gras Indians honor the Native communities who accepted runaway slaves into their tribes, a place white people wouldn't dare go to retrieve property.  The Mardi Gras Indians also honor Natives for never allowing the white man to enslave them. people  
"My Indian Red" Audio sample:

H-Amindian Listserve

 Taking It on the Chin
California: Before the 20th century, most Hupa, Yurok and Karuk women wore “111” tattoos on their chins.  Today, traditional tattooing is making a comeback. “It’s like wearing your culture on your face every day,” said Lyn Risling.  Risling's tattoo was set by Teresa Hendrix-Wright, who learned the ancient technique from Anai Taylor in New Zealand. Family and friends watched the event.  “As the tattoo slowly spread across Lyn’s chin, we all felt the exact moment when the transformation occurred," said Julian Lang. " It was a startling and beautiful moment that brought tears to our eyes.  The shared pain and joy reminded us all of a birth there was a new person in our midst. ”    Risling said she encounters questions every day about her 111 tattoo and always takes a minute to explain its cultural significance and importance.  In a positive way, she said, the tattoos have bridged a gap for her between two worlds -- her traditional Native cultural life and her contemporary business life in today’s diverse society.   "It was always there,” Risling said, speaking of her tattoo.  “It’s just that now, people can see it.”

photo of Lyn Risling by Allie Hostler/reznet news

      A delicious tradition: Five generations of frybread         
New Mexico: For five generations the women in Karen Chalan family have cooked frybread using the same recipe of  flour, salt, baking powder, powdered milk and lard. "I started helping my mother make (frybread) when I was 12 or 13 years old," said Chalan, who is from Cochití Pueblo. "Before that I had always watched her and my grandmother."  The women would place frybread dough on their knees, then pull it outward  to make the Frisbee-like dough disks. "Now the women use their hands and pull it out that way," said Karen's mother, Connie Valdo.  Frybread became an Indian staple in the 1800s when American Indians were forced to live on reservations without their traditional foods of rabbit, buffalo, and corn.  Instead, the Indians were given rations of flour, salt and lard to live on, and  Indian women created frybread as a staple food source.  Today, Karen's family recipe has evolved to perfection: the dough is mixed for  15 - 20 minutes, then rises before being formed into a disk and fried in oil over a cedar fire. It's eaten with many types of American Indian food such as chili, chipole, and beans. "When you cook beans, you have to have frybread that goes with it," Valdo said.  By itself, frybread is  not exactly healthy: one piece of plate-sized frybread is said to contain at least 700 calories -- plus 27 grams of fat.   But the women in Chanlan's family have learned to eat frybread as a treat, not a staple, and it shows through the family's longevity:  Valdo's grandmother lived to be 105, and her mother is 93.

House Calls
Arizona: The village of Oraibi is the oldest, continuously inhabited village in North America. Oraibi has no electricity or running water, but it does have KUYI-FM, a Hopi-owned radio station serving the 12,000 Hopi living on the reservation's three mesas and 12 villages. Through battery-operated radios, tribal members can stay connected. Especially popular is KUYI's House Calls which focuses on Hopi Elders.  Balancing the modern with age-old ways has not been easy for the Hopi elders, who carry the tribes cultural traditions and serve as wisdom-keepers. House Calls listens to elders' questions, provides answers, and makes their concerns a priority. The program has also partnered with these Elders to share messages about tribal health, traditions, and obligations that help Hopi seniors enhance their later years.

Short Bull garners First Peoples Fund honors
The First Peoples Fund has awarded the 2006 Cultural Capital fellowship to four Native artists :
1. Arthur Short Bull, Oglala Lakota, is from the Pine Ridge Reservation. He will use the fellowship for a series of paintings of Sioux tribal members buried in the mass grave at Wounded Knee. Short Bull began his artistic career in 1983.
2. Anna Brown Ehlers, Northern Tlingit, is from Juneau, Alaska. About 30 years ago, Anna began weaving yellow cedar bark and wool to create thousands of yards of yarn.  She revived the chilkat weaving tradition to make blankets.
3. Pete Peterson Sr., Skokomish, is from Hoodsport, Washington. He revived steam-bent-box making that eventually lead to carving traditional Salish masks.
4. Nancy Johnson, Choctaw/Chickasaw, is from Oklahoma City. She is a traditional bead worker who has recreated traditional designs and colors for a variety of objects using rawhide and buckskin.

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