Youth and Education News
November 1, 2006 Issue 173 Volume 1
is] the nearest and dearest, No. 1 issue in Indian Country. It's not something that was given to us. As
tribes, we see sovereignty as something we've always had."
Jacqueline Johnson, National Congress of American Indians
The future of tribal sovereignty
North Dakota: According to traditional Native elders, tribal sovereignty was given to Indian nations by the Creator. Yet today, that sovereignty must be constantly protected from the United States government and internal forces. Among the insights by Native leaders:
''We have to have a sustained national sovereignty effort. We must rekindle the [National Congress of American Indians'] effort to reaffirm sovereignty,'' said Tex Hall, former NCAI president.
Melanie Benjamin, chairman of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, says the current trend is to pit the tribes against state and federal governments in court. ''Ever since Indian self-determination and the Reagan administration, states' rights have taken priority. Now, with the Bush administration, there is more power going to the states. In the future, we may find ourselves in more courts.''
Ken Davis,chairman of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, says that to expand sovereignty, the land base has to be expanded. ''To purchase land only from tribal members doesn't expand sovereignty. We have to come to grasp with it and accommodate growth on the reservations ... We are not as isolated and uneducated as we once were. We have lawyers; we have political rights and a special political status. No longer do we allow encroachment within our own boundaries.''
Ron His Horse is Thunder, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, agreed with Davis. ''The treaties are the recognition of tribal rights, not gifts.'' He also says that the federally blood quantums for tribal membership will lead to tribal extermination. "It's not blood but culture and language which determines a tribe's sovereignty. 'Without the language you can't know 100 percent of the culture - in the language is the culture. Every sovereignty is recognized by its language, government, membership and established boundaries. Who ceases to have any one of these will find termination.''
His Horse is Thunder also warned members that citizens must have faith in the tribal government. "There is an internal attack - Indian against Indian. If we don't protect sovereignty, we will see termination.''
WORLD COUNCIL OF INDIGENOUS PEOples declaration of principles
Passamaquoddy Tribe Acquires Historic Petroglyph Site
Maine: The Passamaquoddies have a long history -- perhaps 12,000 years -- in eastern Maine and in New Brunswick, Canada. Recently, the tribe acquired a land parcel that contains rock carvings from thousands of years ago. The 5.5-acre parcel was given to the Passamaquoddy Tribe by the Maine Coast Heritage Trust in exchange for a conservation, no-development easement on 300 acres of land. Called Picture Rocks, the carvings include hunters, moose, caribou, shaman and other characters that tell stories about tribal life and the history of what is now Maine. Among the largest petroglyphs is a large sailing ship moving through water, believed to be a recording of explorer Samuel de Champlain's arrival in 1604. Picture Rocks is perhaps the most important petroglyph site in Maine, said Mark Hedden from the Maine Historic Preservation Commission.
The Associated Press State &Local Wire
Tribe to regain Macon mound
North Carolina: The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will buy 71 acres in Macon County that include an undisturbed, ancient Indian mound. The mound was owned by generations of the Hall family before being transferred to the late James Porter. “It was James’ desire to see the mound return to Cherokee ownership,” said a member of the Land Trust for the Little Tennessee. Chief Michell Hicks of the Eastern Cherokee said the mound is one of the tribe’s most important historical sites and that it won’t be developed commercially. “We’re very excited about getting it back,” Hicks said. The land will be transferred to the tribe early next year.
18th –Century Treasures Recovered from Church Remains
Missouri: Archaeologists have uncovered almost 10,000 artifacts in the remains from a Catholic church in Florissant, a town settled by the French in the 1760s. The 1789 St. Ferdinand Catholic Church was one of the oldest in the Midwest. An old rectory was recently discovered below 6 inches of dirt at Spanish Land Grant Park. The recovered remains include fish bones and fragments from plates, cups, bowls, pipes, wine bottles, bullets, silver coins, Indian jewelry items and coffins. The artifacts likely will be stored at the University of Missouri-Columbia and eventually be available for public display.
Fort Armistead Revealed
Tennessee: Two centuries ago. Fort Armistead was built near Coker Creek to protect Cherokee gold mines from marauding white settlers. During the Cherokee removal in the 1830s, the site then became a camp for Cherokees being taken from Murphy, N.C, to travel the Trail of Tears. Since then, the remnants of the site have been hidden by briars, weeds and rhododendron plants. Now, thanks to the current landowners and the U.S. Forest Service, Fort Armistead will be cleaned up and open to the public. Historian Russ Townsend said the site is along the Unicoi Trail, the American Indians' main road through the mountains for thousands of years before European invasion. Cherokee National Forest spokesman Terry McDonald said the site will be preserved and made available for visitors to experience the trail and its history.
Chattanooga Times Free Press
Lakota reclaims stolen regalia
California: Last month, a red suitcase belonging to Delmarina One Feather, 17, was stolen from a pick- up truck in a motel parking lot. The suitcase contained her hand-beaded regalia, eagle feathers, a chief's blanket, and her 10-page essay on "What is success?" The regalia, valued at $10,000, had been worn by the champion pow-wow dancer when she performed the Lakota Woman's Northern Buckskin dance at the Morongo Tribal Powwow. Detective Nelson Figueroa of the Palm Springs police thought the chance of recovering the blue, red and yellow beaded regalia was "slim." "It rarely happens that we recover stuff like this," he said. Figueroa praised Arkamez Blankenship, director for Morongo tribe, for locating the suspect and negotiating the regalia's return. One Feather was featured in the "Pow Wow: Portraits of Native Americans" 2006 calendar and was named Miss Denver March PowWow Princess in 2004. She hopes to attend Arizona State University or Creighton University to study psychology and perhaps teaching. Delmarina lives on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota
Yup'ik diva dances once more
Alaska: The Egan Center was packed for the drumming and dance showcase during the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention. Many -- perhaps hundreds -- were turned away at the door. Performers representing Alutiiq, Inupiat, Yup'ik and Southeast Indian traditions took their turns, and then a surprise: 87-year-old Mary Ann Sundown planned to dance. As the beloved "Dance Diva" from the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta hobbled onto the stage, bent and slow, cheers and whistles from a thousand or more fans shook the roof. She donned her fur headpiece and gripped her dance fans, sitting in a chair to perform. Mary Ann's coordination, grace, charm, and humor showed through, and at the end of each song, she struggled to her feet for the final choruses. Her performance included two comic numbers associated with Sundown: the "Mosquito Song," which includes hilarious swatting and itching pantomimes; and the "Cigarette Song," in which the performers try to imitate the elegant puffing of movie stars and wind up coughing. Sundown's set closed with a tribute piece to her grandchildren, her trademark laugh and an expression of wondering love as she looked back at her family -- some in diapers -- in front of the stage. Before leaving, Mary Ann told the crowd in Yup'ik, through a translator, how happy she was to be here. How she had lost her ability to walk for a while but it had returned. How she had fallen off a four-wheeler while berry-picking but been unharmed. "She says someone's looking out for her," the interpreter said, "and that's God."
Slideshow of 87-year old Yupik elder, Mary Ann Sundown, dancing at AFN Convention. http://www.adn.com/photos/multimedia/afn
Native American activist remembered
California: Humboldt State University has dedicated a room to Vine Deloria Jr., a Native American scholar, author, teacher and activist. Mr. Deloria has written more than 20 books including "Custer Died for Your Sins," which made him a national figure in the Native American Rights Movement. He has been described as “the most eloquent and prolific writer in Indian voice opposing U.S. colonial policies in the 20th century.” Time Magazine also named him as one of the “10 most influential theologians of the 20th century.” “He’s like the Martin Luther King for Native Americans,” said HSU Native American studies Professor Joseph Giovannetti. Mr. Deloria's room is located in Haskell's Multicultural Center
Accountability and Sovereignty in American Indian Education by Vine Deloria
Stone Slab Bears Earliest Writing in Americas
Mexico: Sometime before 1999, villagers in Veracruz discovered a stone tablet while quarrying an ancient Olmec mound. Inscriptions on the green stone lab include insects, ears of corn, fish and unknown symbols. "We are dealing with the first, clear evidence of writing in the New World," said anthropologist Stephen Houston. The ancient Olmec probably produced the faintly etched symbols around 900 B.C. The text contains 28 distinct glyphs or symbols, some of which are repeated 3-4 times. The text is arranged in rows across the block's face, which is about the size of a standard legal pad. The face is smooth and slightly concave, which suggests it may have worn down as it was inscribed and erased multiple times. At 5 inches thick and 26 pounds, the tablet is heavy, but still portable. The small size of the block and the faint inscriptions imply the text was meant for personal reading and not a public document. This find bolsters the early importance of the Olmecs, who flourished from 1200 B.C. - 400 B.C., before the Maya and Aztec. The Olmecs are best known for the massive heads they carved from stone. The village where the block was found is close to a site called San Lorenzo, believed to be the center of the Olmec world.
Linguists Find the Words, and Pocahontas Speaks Again
Virginia: A growing number of linguists and anthropologists are recreating dead or dying Indian languages. Their field, called "language revitalization," is the science of reconstructing lost languages. One benefit of these studies is the Virginia Algonquian dialogue spoken in "The New World," a movie about Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in North America (1607). Virginia Algonquian had not been spoken for more than two centuries. Only two modern accounts -- one by Captain John Smith and the other by the Jamestown colony secretary, William Strachey -- preserved some Virginia Algonquian words. So, when movie director Terrence Malick decided that Powhatan should speak in his own language, he called in Dr. Blair Rudes, a linguist involved with many Algonquian language projects. The first challenge for Dr. Rudes was the limited vocabulary. Smith set down just 50 Indian words, and Strachey compiled 600. The lists were written phonetically by Englishmen whose spelling and pronunciation differed, making it difficult to determine the actual Indian word. For instance Strachey set down words for walnut, shoes and two kinds of beast,
"paukauns:" paka-ni (meaning large nut),
"mawhcasuns:" maxkesen (shoe)
"aroughcoune :" i árehkan (raccoon)
Dr. Rudes had to apply techniques of historical linguistics to rebuilding a language from these sketchy, unreliable word lists. To discover the language, Rudes depended upon several elements:
Each Algonquin language is different, but as closely related. Comparing the related Algonquin languages reveals common elements of grammar and sentence structure and many similarities in vocabulary.
Proto-Algonquian is an early language common to all Algonquian speech. A list complied by linguists contains 4,000 words from the surviving tongues and documentation of the extinct ones. He compared this list to Strachey's words.
A translation of the Bible into Munsee Delaware, an Algonquin language once spoken by Massachusetts Indians, offered Dr. Rudes insights. He adapted some of those words for Virginia Algonquian.
100-year-old recordings of the last Munsee Delaware speakers were a valuable guide to pronunciations.
The related Algonquian languages were among the first in America to die out. No one is known to have spoken Virginia Algonquian since 1785. Like many other Indians, Algonquian speakers had no writing system, and their grammar and most of their vocabulary were lost.
Of the more than 15 original Algonquian languages in eastern North America, the two still spoken are Passamaquoddy-Malecite in Maine and Mikmaq in New Brunswick.
Like most of the 800 or more indigenous languages in North America, Virginia Algowhen became extinct as Indians declined in number, dispersed and lost their cultural identity due to European Invasion.
At least half the world's estimated 6,000 languages have so few remaining speakers that they are threatened with extinction. By 2100, it's believed less than 3,000 languages will survive.
's October 2006 Newsletterl-
William Bright, 78, Expert in Indigenous Languages, Is Dead
Colorado: William Bright spent more than 50 years studying the vanishing languages of indigenous people. In 1949, Bright received a bachelor’s degree in linguistics from UC Berkeley. He then began his fieldwork among the Karuk, whose languages spoken by just a handful of elders. Since encounters with Europeans had rarely ended well for the Karuk, the community had little reason to welcome an outsider. But Bill Bright was deferential, curious and, at 21, scarcely more than a boy. He was also visibly homesick. The Karuk grandmothers took him in, baking him cookies and cakes and sharing their language. They named him Uhyanapatanvaanich, “little word-asker.” Shortly before his death, he was made an honorary member of the Karuk tribe, the first outsider to be so honored. Mr. Bright’s approach to studying language was to learn it within its cultural context, which might include songs, poetry, stories and everyday conversation. And so, lugging unwieldy recording devices, he continued to make forays into traditional communities around the world, sitting down with native speakers and eliciting words, phrases and sentences. Among the languages on which he worked were Nahuatl, an Aztec language of Mexico; Cakchiquel, of Guatemala; Luiseño, Ute, Wishram and Yurok, languages of the Western United States; and Lushai, Kannada, Tamil and Tulu, languages of the Indian subcontinent.
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