Native Village 

Youth and Education News

May 1, 2006 Issue 167  Volume 1

"Itís what youíve done thatís worthy, not how many possessions or how much wealth you have."   Scott McGowan, Chippewa

Secwepemc Territory:  The Secwepemc Native Youth Movement has set up an information picket at Neskonlith Reserve in solidarity for First Nations protesters at Six Nations, near Caledonia, Ontario.  Billboards, banners and Warrior flags are posted along a highway used by 10,000 travelers per day. The billboards read: "Stop OPP Terrorism" "OPP  out of SIX NATIONS."  Since February 28, the Six Nations have been occupying land near Caledonia to protest a housing development. The First Nations claim the land was given to them in treaty, and Ontario is selling the land without true ownership.  On April 20, 2006, more than 150 heavily armed Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) with M-16's and riot gear moved in to try and end the 52-day occupation at Six Nations. The OPP arrested 16 Natives, assaulted others, threw tear gas at them and tasered some during the arrest,  but police retreated as Natives chased them off and more Natives arrived.

Ontario:  Near Caledonia, First Nations people and supporters are standing up to the Government and developers over land rights. Among the most enthusiastic supporters are large numbers of Native youth ages 15-20 years old. They remember the 1990 stand-off in Oka, Quebec, between the government and the Kahnawake Mohawks. For youth, Caledonia is the first opportunity since Oka where they can take action in a public forum.  "They watched Oka unfold," says Dawn Martin-Hill.  "I don't think there's a native kid across Canada who wasn't influenced by what they saw on TV."    While this generation of First Nations young people is angry and seriously pumped, some Aboriginal leaders are worried.  "Our leadership has always been able to soothe outyoung people in situations like this," said one elder. "It may not be possible from now on."  And while some are concerned about youth anger, others believe in the positive side.  "You have a young, very active population that tends to support each other's initiatives," she says.  "They can now work as a group, telegraph each other instantly with cellphones and Blackberries, and understand more easily than their parents how the political and social levers of Canada operate -- both against them and in their favour.  Because they have been well tutored by their elders in the history and culture of oppression in which the First Nations people believe, this group also thinks communally."   Sean Mt.  Pleasant and Wes Hill, both 19, say there are many issues their parents have carried for years and are now  too tired to bear -- the residue of residential schools, alcoholism, poverty and abuse.  There are also the land claims, unresolved by the aging members of First Nations.  "It's right to take a stand now," Mt.  Pleasant says.  "They can't fight no more."    For others, the youth protesters are part of a prophecy. Dean Doxtator, 26,  tells about an ancient Ojibwa belief called the Seven Fires.  It says that prophets arrived when the people were living a peaceful life in North America. They predicted a time would come when a younger generation would restore its people's pride and greatness after a period of loss, tragedy and alienation.  A significant number of the younger generation at Caledonia believe they are this seventh generation.   "I would say I consider myself a man of peace engaged in an act of defence for my people," Doxtator says.  "To me, it's just something that's inside us, that has to be carried out."  The under-25 age group makes up half of Canada's aboriginal population.  They already have enough numbers and common experiences to heavily influence native affairs.
Wednesday 5/3/06 3pm (Pacific Time) 
Listen to first hand details and updates from one the official spokespersons on the frontlines at the Caledonia Occupation~

Callers welcome ~ Toll Free: 1-866-613-1612

Government committee to determine future of Jarawa tribe
India: The Indian government has set up a new committee to decide the future of the Jarawa tribe of the Andaman Islands. The Jarawa, who have only had contact with settlers since 1998, are increasingly under threat from outsiders. Poachers and others enter the Jarawa reserve from the coast and from the Andaman Trunk Road which cuts through the Jarawa's forest. Once there:
Poachers and settlers hunt the animals on which the Jarawa depend;
Give the Jarawa alcohol, tobacco and food in return for work;
Introduce diseases to which the Jarawa have no immunity;

The Indian supreme court ordered in 2002 that the Andaman Trunk Road must be closed. But local authorities have left the road open in violation of the court order.

 Bushman hunters arrested at gunpoint and tortured
BOTSWANA: Eight Bushmen were threatened, tortured, arrested, and jailed for hunting in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.  The Bushmen, who were evicted from their Reserve lands years ago, are currently living in Abundance resettlement camp. Because Botswana's government bans hunting and gathering in the reserve, the Bushmen have been deprived of their subsistence lifestyle and forced to depend upon government "destitute rations." The food is not enough, and the Bushmen are going hungry.  Four other Bushmen were arrested for hunting in the reserve earlier in March.
Learn More:

Archaeologists Launch Large-Scale Dig, Despite Indian Opposition
Virginia:  Archaeologists hope to spend their summer searching thousands of acres on Virginia's Middle Peninsula for Indian artifacts. The area is the future site of a reservoir, a project fiercely opposed by the Pamunkey, Mattaponi and Upper Mattaponi tribes Indian tribes.  The tribes also are upset about the archaeological dig, which will focus on 6,000 acres of forests and fields.  "We've been here ...  10,000 years and (they) have been here 400 years and they want us to mitigate? That's impossible," said Upper Mattaponi Chief Ken Adams.  The Mattaponi and Pamunkey reservations are within 3 miles of the reservoir site, and the Upper Mattaponi tribe owns acreage about 8 miles away.  "Let the poor people rest, let the artifacts rest," said Warren Cook of the Pamunkey Indian Tribe.   The planned exploration will be among the largest investigations of its kind in Virginia history.
Associated Press

Hone Heke's treasures go home
New Zealand: Hundreds of people attended a ceremony  to welcome home 13 taonga of celebrated Ngapuhi warrior-chief Hone Heke. The artefacts, which include a greenstone mere of Ngapuhi chief Hongi Hika, an axe, taiaha and a hapu flag, have returned from a three-year exhibition in Australia.  They are from the collection of Heke descendent David Rankin and will now become part of the Waitangi Trust. "The trust is the safest place we can keep the taonga where they will be protected and looked after," he said.  "We can no longer keep them hidden away under our beds. They have to come out. They belong to future generations to look at."   Dr Paul Moon, author of Hone Heke: Ngapuhi Warrior, said Heke remains one of the best-known Maori leaders throughout the country.  He said Hone Heke was a gifted leader, who was a master of playing off one enemy against another. Heke also grew increasingly discontent with the invasion of Pakeha settlers.  "Heke was one of the only people who waged war against the British Empire in the 19th century to go unpunished,"  he said.  Dr Moon said the leader was also famous for his defiance, such as his response to a £100 reward being placed on his head by the then-Governor Fitzroy.  "Heke issued his own bounty of 10 pounds for the head of Governor Fitzroy, saying he was just a tenth of the man Heke was,"  Moon said.

UN Treaty to Protect Oral Traditions Enters into Force
On April 20, a United Nations treaty protecting the world's cultures came into effect. It aims to safeguard:
  oral traditions and expressions;
  performing arts;
  social practices;
  rituals and festive events;
  knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe;
  knowledge linked to traditional crafts.
"Contemporary lifestyles and the process of globalization are undermining considerably the living cultures inherited through tradition," said UNESCO Director-General KoÔchiro Matsuura. By offering them adequate means for their preservation, this instrument fills a legal loophole." The treaty, called "Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage," provides for:
Drawing up national inventories of cultural elements that must be protected;
The creation of an Intergovernmental Committee comprising experts from States Parties;
The creation of two lists: one covering the intangible heritage of humanity, and the other featuring parts of that heritage considered to be in urgent need of safeguarding.

Cox weaves together ancestral stories
Alaska: Loretta Outwater Cox belongs to the generation of Inupiaq who were discouraged from learning their Native language. She has felt the loss ever since. Writing  helps her complete the gaps in her knowledge, culture, and values. Her two books --  "The Winter Walk" and The Storytellers' Club" -- come from generations of oral literature. As a child Loretta,  listened to her mother's stories.  At the same time her father, Walter Outwater, began to tell her stories of his own. In remembers the 1920s when his grandmother, Sikkitkoq, and her friends used to get together and tell stories. "The atmosphere in Sikki's home was filled with respect because that was first of all what the people felt about each other," Cox's father told her.   "It was a way of life. That was the rule and the law that they lived by, necessary for their people to survive"  Walter remembered that when they left Sikki's sod house, they all had black lips. Cox learned that the black lips came from licking indelible pencils to make them write. In the days before the Inupiaq language was written down, the women illustrated their stories with elaborate "picture writing." Cox retells some of their stories and re-creates their picture writing in her second book, "The Storytellers' Club."

Mapping Mandarin, Mohave and Miao-Mien
The Modern Language Association recently updated their Language Map. The map offers information about 300 languages spoken in the United States. The association of literature and language professors first introduced the map project in 2004. The website includes:
Information about each language,
Breaks down the language speaking population so that children can be compared with their grandparents;
Provides numbers and percentages of language speakers for each state and county;
Includes statistics on the population's English language proficiency.
"What's important about the map is that it demonstrates that the United States, with the exception of Papua New Guinea, is the country in the world that has the greatest diversity of language," said J. Michael Holquist from Yale.  "It's clear we have a resource in this country" - in the form of speakers of many languages - 'that is not available in the rest of the world."  Many of those languages are in danger of extinction. While 125 languages are spoken by a "significant number" of speakers - between 1,000 and 100,000 people in the United States - 60 of the 300 languages are spoken by fewer than 100 speakers.
The Modern Language Association Language Map:

NAME Listserve

Rosetta Stone(R) Releases Interactive Mohawk Language Software
Virginia: Rosetta Stone has just released language-learning software for the Mohawk (Kanien'keha) language. Spoken by the Kanien'kehaka (People of the Flint) nation, Kanien'keha is among many of the world's Indigenous languages that are in danger of becoming extinct.  Five hundred years ago, an estimated 300 languages were spoken across North America.  Today, only about 25 are now spoken by children.  The remaining languages are likely to disappear with their generation of speakers.  "We believe the best way to preserve a language is through teaching and learning, keeping it a living language in the hands of the people to whom it belongs," says Ilse Ackerman from Rosetta Stone.  "Technology can help with this task.  Interactive language software is a great resource to support community language initiatives.  It provides learners unlimited exposure to fluent speech, patient and tireless feedback, and an individually tailored learning pace."  Software development for the Kanien'keha language was sponsored by the Mohawk language and cultural center of Kahnawake.  This is the first endangered language software to be developed through Rosetta Stone, which currently teaches 30 other languages to people in over 150 countries.

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