Youth and Education News
Aug 1, 2006 Issue 169 Volume 1
" People need to understand who we are today, and the struggles we’ve had to go through just to remain who we are, just to live our culture. We’re part of mainstream America but we still have to live in two lives" Chief Steve Adkins, Chickahominy
Birthday Memorial for Miracle, the Sacred White Buffalo
Wisconsin: August 20, 2006 marks the 12th anniversary of the birth of Miracle, the Sacred White Buffalo. Miracle, who passed away in September, 2004, was the manifestation of prophecy and carried a powerful message to Indian people, as well as all the world's people. Once again Miracle's guardians, Dave and Valerie Heider, invite you to join us in the celebrations to honor Miracle's birth. A public gathering will be held at the Heider Farm in Janesville, Wisconsin. All are invited.
of Birthday Memorial Events for Miracle, the Sacred White Buffalo
Nations celebrate Indigenous Peoples New Year
South America: During June, Native people throughout South America celebrated Indigenous Peoples New Year. In the Southern Hemisphere, June 21 is the winter solstice, the shortest day and longest night, and is when the sun begins to return. Traditionally, this is a time of ritual recommitment to the ancestors and to the Earth. Among the events:
In a ceremony at the sacred site of Tiwanaku, (Bolivia), the first rays of sun were greeted at dawn by 30,000 people. Aumawtas, or Aymaran spiritual elders, presented traditional offerings to the Earth.
The festival of Qoyllur Rit'i, ''Snow Star,'' near the mountain Ausangate (Peru), drew people from throughout the Andes to honor and celebrate the apus, or mountain spirits, of the region.
The ancient Incan tradition of Inti Raymi, the welcome of the sun, was re-enacted in Cusco (Peru). The streets of Cusco filled with music and dancers in traditional clothing for the entire week leading up to Inti Raym.
Winoy Tripantu, or Return of the Sun, was celebrated by the Mapuche in Chile and Argentina. People gathered in community rituals and celebrations. In an e-mail greeting, Mapuche representatives wrote, ''In this most transcendental day for original peoples, the Huillimapu organization and network sends our greetings to all the brothers and sisters of the world.''
Argentina officially declared June 21 as a national indigenous peoples holiday. Native students were permitted to leave school to attend ceremonies.
Celebrations for the New Year were also held in several Canadian cities.
Ancient artifacts discovered in rebuilding of Gulf Coast area
Mississippi: Archaeologists have uncovered evidence of an ancient village near Bay St. Louis. The site dates back to the time of Christ and was discovered during road rebuilding work after Hurricane Katrina. Archaeologist Marco Giardino said as many as 400 people may have lived in the village. "That area was very strategic and would have allowed them to travel, fish and hunt," he said. "It's on high ground at the entrance to the bay, which would allow them to see people coming and they could defend themselves a lot easier." Scientists have located ancient garbage heaps, also known as "middens," next to places where they believe village dwellings once stood. Also found was a ancient burial mound. "We know that the ancestors of the Choctaw Indians were here when the French came, but whether they were the same group here hundreds of years earlier, it's hard to tell," Giardino said.
Indian chief dies when canoe overturns
Washington: During a summer intertribal canoe journey named "Past and Present Pulling Together for Our Future," an Indian canoe overturned, killing a tribal chief from British Columbia. All six people aboard the canoe were dumped into the Strait of Juan de Fuca off Dungeness Spit. Five made it to shore, but Chief Jerry Jack of the Mowachaht-Muchalaht First Nations of Gold River was drowned. Area winds were about 35 mph with 5- to 7-foot seas, and the water temperature was 54 degrees. It's not known what caused the canoe to overturn, but none of the canoeists were wearing a life jacket. Chief Jack had been involved in the adventures of Luna, a young killer whale separated from his pod. Luna made his home at Gold River until he was killed by a boat propeller last March. Some Indians said they believed Luna embodied the spirit of a dead chief.
Blackfeet honor fallen warriors
Montana: The Blackfeet Nation recently held a ceremony honoring two youth who were killed 200 years ago. On July 27, 1806, a group of Blackfeet boys allegedly tried to steal guns and horses from a small party led by Capt. Meriwether Lewis. One Indian youth was knifed, and another was shot. George Heavy Runner opened the ceremony by reading from Lewis's journal that described the deaths and told of taking four of the fastest Indian horses, four shields, and two bows with quivers of arrows from the Indians. "I share this with you in terms of just who was stealing from who," Heavy Runner said. A prayer flag was constructed for the ceremony by tribal elder Al Potts. "We went to our elders and asked what sort of an offering we could leave for our young men, and they told us to assemble a prayer flag," said Melinda Juneau. The ceremony took place during a Lewis and Clark symposium hosted by the tribe. Organizers want to ensure the Blackfeet perspective of the expedition is told.
Ceremony needs space
California: For the first time since the 1920s, a 14-year-old girl from the Winnemem Wintu Tribe is participating in an entire coming-of-age ceremony. The tribe, however, is finding it difficult to practice their religion because the traditional ceremony site is now managed by the U.S. Forest Service and a campsite concessionaire. The Forest Service is trying to help the Wintu and has issued a special use permit for the ceremony in Shasta-Trinity National Park. But it can't force the public to stay away from the ceremony because its on public land. The ceremony requires the girl to swim across the McCloud River to Puberty Rock, which may be underwater because of a dam and hard spring rains. Despite the obstacles, the Winnemem are determined to hold the rite of passage and hope the public will respect their tribal ceremony. "This ceremony is a vibrant and vital part of Winnemem Wintu life in the present day," said Ranger Kristi Cottini. "Preservation of Native American culture, including traditional religious practices, is a legitimate objective."
Nations Gather to Protect Sacred Site
South Dakota: For more than 30 American Indian Nations, Bear Butte is a sacred mountain for prayers and to seek visions -- a place to communicate with the Creator. The Lakota word for Bear Butte is Mato Paha; the Cheyenne call the mountain Noahvose. Now hundreds of American Indians and supporters are gathering at Bear Butte to pray for answers in protecting their holy place. Bear Butte has become an entertainment area for thousands of bikers who come for entertainment and to drink alcohol in an atmosphere of loud music and louder drag pipes. Indian leaders will remain there until August 4 to work out strategies to stop the invasions on their sacred lands.
Indians Buy Surrounding Land To Help Protect Sacred Site
South Dakota: For thousands of years, Indians have traveled to the Black Hills and Bear Butte, a rocky mound and sacred site for many tribes. But every August, the Hills are polluted by the noise of hundreds of thousands of bikers attending the nearby Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Now some tribes are quietly buying land around Bear Butte to prevent even more businesses from locating there to sell alcohol and entertainment to bikers. According to Meade County records, three tribes have spent $1,300,000 to buy 2.6 square miles to help protect their sacred site:
In 1981, 1994 and 2006, Montana's Northern Cheyenne Tribe paid $765,000 for four land parcels covering 595 acres;
In June 1995, the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe paid $324,000 for six parcels totaling 1,080 acres;
In 1997, the Rosebud tribe paid $165,376 for 20 acres just northwest of the butte. In 2001, it paid $70,000 for an adjoining 20 acres.
"The mountain is sacred to us," said George Whipple, Rosebud Sioux. "Therefore, the cultural and spiritual value of the land was what was significant to us. By keeping with that tradition, we're also keeping it from being developed into a beer garden." But the increasing demand for nearby lands is making it too expensive for even the richest tribes. "Agriculturally, you couldn't buy a piece of land up there and make it pay," Whipple said. "Unless you're going to develop it or make money off the beer sales and the rally, you're spending a lot of money for not much return." Indians are now gathered at the site to protest large campgrounds and concert venues being developed on land around the butte. They liken it to putting a biker bar next to a church.
New ICC chair puts emphasis on youth, elders
Alaska: Issues affecting youth and elders were a priority for discussion at the recent Inuit Circumpolar Conference. Patricia Cochran, the group's chairwoman, also plans to improve communications among Inuit living in the circumpolar world. "I see great opportunity for ICC," said Cochran, who is Inuit. "I will tell you that I'm so excited to jump into the middle of this, I can't wait to just get my feet wet." The ICC represents 155,000 Inuit from Canada, Alaska, Greenland and Russia. It meets every four years to discuss issues affecting the Inuit people such as language, climate change and northern pollution.
UN Body Adopts Indigenous Rights Declaration Despite Canada's No Vote
New York: By a 30-2 vote, a new UN Human Rights Council adopted a declaration protecting the rights of the world's indigenous peoples. This includes the peoples' claims on land and resources. The Council said indigenous people should be free from discrimination and that they have a right "to consider themselves different and to be respected as such." A dozen countries abstained from the vote, and three countries were absent. Only Canada and Russia voted against it.
UCTP Stands in Solidarity with the Kalinago, Carib, and Garifuna
Caribbean: The United Confederation of Taíno People is urging the public to boycott the Disney movie, "The Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest." The UCTP says the movie's depiction of the Caribbean's Indigenous Peoples as savage cannibals is erroneous. The "cannibal" images were used as propaganda to enslave and murder Natives Peoples throughout the hemisphere, and beyond. The UCTP is joined by their Kalinago, Carib, and Garinagu relatives in making the request.
Inuit sign language may get legal status in Nunavut
Nunavut: Nunavut already recognizes four languages: English, French, Inuktitut and Innuinaqtun. Now the country is considering legal status for two sign languages used by its deaf residents. While some Inuit learned American Sign Language in southern schools, many deaf Inuit who never learned ASL communicate with Inuit Sign Language, a combination of hand signals, body language and facial expressions. At a workshop for deaf people and their families, Inuit from opposite ends of the territory found they could communicate with in a common language. "Watching people communicate, I found that, well, there did seem to be a very powerful language there," said Jamie MacDougall, a language specialist who researched and created the term, Inuit Sign Language. If the Inuit Sign Language becomes recognized, it would also create more services for deaf people.
Speaker of Wasco tribal language speaker dead at 91
Oregon: Madeline Brunoe McInturff, one of the last three fluent speakers of the Wasco tribal language, has died at age 91. McInturff was born in Warm Springs in 1915. She grew up and became a nurse's aide at the reservation's clinic where she helped older tribal members connect with unfamiliar doctors. "It got to be they would have to go through my mother's indoctrination as to how to doctor to the old Indian people because they did not trust the young doctors," said her son, Ted Brunoe. After she retired in 1984, Madeline dedicated her time to preserving her tribe's language and traditions. "Whenever I was home she would speak to me in Wasco," said Brunoe, who can understand the language but can't speak it. With her death there are just two fluent Wasco speakers. The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs are still working to reintroduce the languages of the Wasco, Warm Springs and Paiute people through classes for preschoolers and older students. However, Madeline's passing is a blow to the effort. "We still hold on to that hope," said Myra Johnson, cultural and heritage director. "We think at some point the Wasco language will be spoken, but it won't be spoken as fluently and with all the nuances that it once had."
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