Native Village 

Youth and Education News

January 11, 2006 Issue 162  Volume 1

"Only when all our children understand the truth can they be better human beings.  It's not about blaming one another, but working together as human beings. All of us." Sheldon Peters Wolfchild,  Sioux

Buffalo robes strengthen  families
New Mexico: As with many Native American Nations, bison are a cultural symbol for the Jicarilla Apache.  Bryan Vigil's motivation to start a bison herd for the tribe came from an elder's story.  "I never seen her cry all her life," said Vigil, 52, talking about the late Apache elder, Belle Wells.  Belle began crying when she talked about losing the buffalo through excessive hunting and poaching.  "You don't do that," she told Vigil.  "It's like wiping out a whole tribe."  She also asked Vigil to "bring back the buffalo."  He did.  Vigil and the tribe are bringing back the buffalo while providing an opportunity for every Jicarilla household to own a buffalo robe -- a tanned buffalo hide with the hair still intact.  The robe is used in ceremonies, rites and dances, but the hide also has important family value.  "We want a hide in each house," Vigil said.  "The robe keeps a family  together." The tribe how has a herd of 13 bison.  Currently, they live 19-acres of a converted air strip in Dulce.  Every day, the herd eats about eight bales of hay over a span of two  feedings, Vigil said.  "We pray to the buffalo before we feed them because they give us  everything, if you believe in them," he said.  Cultural teachings say the Jicarillas will endure future hardship, and it will be the buffalo that sustains them.  "In the future, the buffalo is going to keep us alive," he said.  Vigil hopes the herd will grow.  "The elders said the place is going to be full like ants.  So we tell the kids we  have a future."

Congress petitioned for return of Geronimo's remains

Arizona: American Indians are petitioning Congress to investigate Yale University's Skull and Bones society. Twenty years ago, the Society admitted to San Carlos Apache leaders that they had Geronimo's skull in a secret ''museum'' in New Haven, Conn.  Now the Apaches want Geronimo's bones returned to them for reburial. An online petition describes how society members, including President George W.  Bush's grandfather, removed Geronimo's head from his grave in 1918.  The petition says: ''Using acid and amid laughter, they stripped Geronimo's head of hair and flesh.  They then took their 'trophies' back to Yale University and put them on display in the clubhouse of the secret fraternity 'Skull and Bones.'''   Apache leaders want Geronimo's remains to be buried, as he requested, in tribal lands in the mountains of San Carlos.
View the petition and learn more:

Geronimo photo:

Indians Ride, Run to Mankato to Commemorate Mass Execution
Minnesota: Recently, American Indians rode horses into downtown Mankato as dozens completed a relay run from Fort Snelling.  They were remembering the 144th anniversary of the largest mass execution in U.S. history: the hanging deaths of 38 Dakota men. The men were killed for their alleged roles in the Dakota Conflict and the deaths of 500 settlers. But organizers said it wasn't a day for reopening old wounds -- it was a day for building bridges.  "In our ceremonies and prayers, we don't talk about the political stuff," said Sheldon Peters Wolfchild, chairman of the Lower Sioux Community.  "It's about good thoughts.  Only when all our children understand the truth can they be better human beings.  It's not about blaming one another, but working together as human beings. All of us." This was the first time representatives of all three branches of the Sioux nation - the Dakota, Lakota and Nakota - had come together to observe the anniversary.

Hank Adams: American Indian Visionary
New York: The 2006 American Indian Visionary Award from  Indian Country Today will be given to Hank Adams.  Adams was born in 1943 on the Fort Peck reservation in Montana.  His mother later married a Quinault man and moved to Washington State, where Adams grew up. Adams, who is Assiniboine-Sioux,  is a lifelong activist and has helped negotiate peaceful ends to dangerous standoffs in modern Indian history.   He's been a crucial figure in the militant Indian revival of the last four decades.  Among his activities:
As a teenager, he became active in protests against the imposition of state jurisdiction on the Quinault Reservation;
In 1963, he joined the National Indian Youth Council, dropped out of the University of Washington, and began working full time on community issues;
In 1964 he enlisted actor Marlon Brando to support Native treaty rights for fishing along the Nisqually River;
  He researched and laid down the arguments leading to the historic Boldt decision of 1974 which upheld the treaty rights of Northwest tribes;
He began the long-range planning for preserving salmon and steelhead, leading to the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission;
In 1972, he helped organize the cross-country Trail of Broken Treaties caravan. When the caravan reached Washington, DC, a series of blunders led to the take-over of the BIA building by Native protesters.  Adams worked with a White House aide to end the takeover and send the protesters back home.  He then helped retrieve documents taken from the building, fearing that their loss would jeopardize Indian claims. (Those documents again  took shape in the Cobell v. Norton lawsuit.) Adams was then arrested by the FBI, a case that was quickly thrown out by a grand jury;
At the famous siege of Wounded Knee,  Adams helped serve as go-between for the White House and Lakota traditional leader Frank Fools Crow;
He has helped negotiated water rights agreements between Northwest tribes and neighboring localities;
He helped secure the Little Big Horn National Monument Indian Memorial;
He is lay counsel to the Quinault, Puyallup and Nisqually tribal courts;
  When asked to sum up his career, Adams pointed to the work of the previous generation who defeated the 1950s federal termination policy.  ''Some of the things you prevent from happening are as important as many of the things you are able concretely to achieve,'' he said. 
Indian Country Today

Protector of Northern Pomo language
California: Elenor Stevenson Gonzales, one of the last remaining speakers of the Northern Pomo language, recently passed away at age 99.  For the past 15 years, Gonzales had worked with linguistics experts to document her Northern Pomo dialect.  She told the stories heard from her own grandparents and great-grandparents.  And like her grandmother, Gonzales was an accomplished basket weaver.  "In a sense, 10,000 years of history  and language go with her," said Greg Sarris from the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria.

Each year, Reader's Digest nominates everyday citizens for their "Hero of the Year" award.  This year, Jeff May (Ojibwe) of Red Lake, Minnesota has been nominated.  May courageously saved the lives of fellow students and community members during last year's Red Lake School shootings.  By distracting and attacking the disturbed gunman, Jeff Weise, witnesses say May's quick thinking and bravery saved at least a dozen lives. Presently, Jeff May continues to receive physical, occupational and speech therapy  for his serious injuries. 
More voting information:

Miss Navajo Nation wows U.N. conferees
TUNISIA: At the 2005 World Summit on the Information Society,  Miss Navajo Nation emerged onto the world stage. Rachelle James, 20,  participated in a youth caucus called “Youth Implementing WSIS Action Plan.” She also attended press conferences and watched Navajo President Joe Shirley, Jr., speak before a worldwide audience.  “It was a feeling that I was not alone,” James said.  “He said, ‘Ya’at’eeh, my elders and my relatives,’  and that’s the way I introduce myself.”  She commented that as indigenous people and as Navajos --  the five-fingered, intelligent, earth-dwellers -- we were all working as one, and that is how it should be.  Rachelle is of The Water that Flows Together People, born for Within His Cover People.

Red Feather Woman spreads the American Indian legend
Malta: Red Feather Woman, also known as Red Elk, recently performed storytelling with music in Malta.  Her performances re-live old stories of the plains and is influenced by medicine men and women -- the great elders of native culture. “I blend traditional stories with contemporary music in the sense that I tell a tale.  Then after the story, I play a song about it," said Red Elk.  "They blend very well together and it is amazing how the traditional and the modern interact.”  Red Elk also addressed the survival of Indian Cultures. “The last reservation was laid intact in 1890 and this brought about an American-isolation of Indian natives," she said. "So those who sought to protect their culture had to go underground, and the customs and practices continued in a secretive manner. Thankfully, there has been a renewed spate of interest in Indian culture and I am attempting to spread that through my travels and performances all over the States. I can safely say that I am very well received wherever I perform, and this is helping make us Indians proud of our culture and traditions. ”  Red Elk is from the Fort Peck Reservation


Mexico: At age 22, Paula Domingo has inherited her wisdom from her family.  Her ancestors are the great teachers of Xochiicalco, an ancient Mesoamerican university where the legendary Quetzalcoatl, studied and where peoples gathered to create and adjust their calendars some 1000 years ago. Paula recently visited the United States and shared indigenous experiences with other native students.  She said that, prior to Mexico's Zapatista uprising, native peoples were honored in murals and history books, but denigrated in daily life.  Paula also recalled how she was taught that all the U.S.  "Indians" were dead, and that all native children should forget their culture.  But with her ancestors' wisdom, Paula ignored such notions.  Now teaches school children in their native Nahuatl language and helps keep their culture and ancestral language alive.  "If you want to learn Nahuatl...  if you want to learn a native language...  if you want to learn the culture, you have to learn it from the heart," says Domingo.  "One does not learn it so one can run around bragging about being bilingual."  Paula hopes to study Indigenous law and defend the rights of her people. 
Column of the Americas 2006
Xochiicalco photo: S2N3nDOCUMENTO73.html

Whistling language remains a mystery
Alaska: OF the 6,800 languages the world, some have a rather unique form of delivery: whistling.  In the village of Savoonga, some claim an ancient form of communication still exists.  Yaari Kingeekuk and Marisa Jackson call it Kookameegeenuk.   According to Kingeekuk, the language was used most frequently when the men were out hunting, to keep track of each other and communicate messages.  “We use it to communicate when my friends or relatives were a distance away and I wanted to communicate with them,” said Kingeekuk.  Marisa considers Kookameegeenuk a big part of her daily life.  “I enjoy using it as a source of communication and I would think it would be really interesting to pass it on to a younger generations.”   Jackson said.  Yaari hopes to do just that; she knows that the only way to keep Kookameegeenuis alive is to pass it on.  Now her children are learning it.  However, linguist professors at the University of Alaska Anchorage and University of Alaska Fairbanks have never heard of the Kookameegeenuk language.  But that doesn't mean the language does not exist.  One professor believes it simply has never been researched.

Nunatsiavut defends language policy

Labrador: The Nunatsiavut government is defending a requirement that its president be able to speak both English and Inuktitut. Tony Andersen – the first minister of the Nunatsiavut government – stressed reasons for the requirement. "I myself believe that the leaders should be able to speak to all, and I think that is important – to speak to all in their own language, whether it's English or Inuktitut," he said.  Andersen, who is not fluent in Inuktitut,  is uncomfortable relying on an interpreter, especially when he stands in for the president. "The Inuktitut language is disappearing, but the Nunatsiavut government is focused … that the language is retained and promoted in such a way that the language begins to grow," he said.
More about Nunasiavut:
Youth pbroto: nuluaq/service.asp?id=1010
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