Native Village 

Youth and Education News

November 1, 2006 Issue 173  Volume 4

"[Sovereignty 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

Corn is our Parent and Elder
  Mexicans belong to corn cultures. Corn is life. Corn is a form of governance for those peoples who organize their sustenance around its life cycle.  Mesoamerican philosophers recorded that we are made of four essences: blood, bones, skin and corn. 
Many traditional people consider corn like a human being.  Some say an ear of corn is a mother with all her babies.  If a baby's mother dies, the baby may be given a drink made from special corn kernels to comfort and remind the baby it still has a mother.
Traditionally, children's umbilical cords were cut over an elote (ear of corn.)  That corn was later planted in the baby's special milpa (cornfield).
Some parents put an ear of corn to sleep with the newborn.
Corn husks are used as containers for food (such as tamales) 
Corn husks are used to stir soups.
Corn husks are woven into mats and corn dolls. 
The elote (corn cobs)
are used as pipes or to burn as kindling that will smoke the food with its flavor.
Elotes are also rolled under the feet for an Indigenous pressure point massage.
Corn silk
corn silk makes an excellent diuretic and kidney strengthener. 
Corn silk is used in purification and protection rites. 
corn flower tea is good for nerves.
Corn pollen is offered at altars during ceremonies. 
Corn kernels are still used for divination and diagnosing illness. 
Corn is served to lift the spirits and strengthen the life force.
Most important of all;  corn or maize is part of the three sisters; a thousands-of-years-old nutritionally balanced food complex in the Americas, comprising corn, beans & squash.  Among Mexicans, those three sisters also have a brother -- the chile.

Basic Blue Corn Atole
Atole is served ceremonially from blue corn. It is also shared as a family treat or medicinally to settle the stomach.  It's also a traditional drink when celebrating "The Day of the Dead" and "Feliz Navidad" (Christmas.)
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons sugar (or to taste)
4 teaspoons roasted cornmeal
Cinnamon and/or other spices can be added to taste
Add ingredients to milk; stir until combined.
Continue stirring while heating .  Serve steaming hot.
[Note: fresh fruit, cinnamon, chocolate, and other flavors can be added to create your own special atole.]
Blue Corn and Flour Tortillas
(Modern Style) The tortilla is wide like a woman's skirts and round like the sun.  It is an excellent source of calcium.  Masa (corn flour) is offered to the fire before tortillas are cook.  Do not microwave your tortillas or tamales.  They are meant to be heated on a comal, in the oven or steamed.  This is a small way to respect corn as our elder.
1/3 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup water
1 2/3 cups blue (or any color) cornmeal
Combine flour and cornmeal in bowl. Stir in water and make dough.
Shape into twelve balls and roll each between two sheets greased wax paper. (Or pat between palms the old style).
Cook in a slightly greased griddle with medium heat until lightly brown on both sides.

Column of the Americas

 First time marathoners fueled by heartbreak and hope  
Washington D.C.:  Family and friends honored Barton Lee Mohawk’s memory by joining a charity run at the Marine Corps Marathon.  The twelve runners were part of a 21-person team from "Team Running Strong." TRS raises funds that go directly to programs helping native children living in the poorest counties.  Barton, who was Seneca wolf clan, was known for his exceptional kindness and excellence in sports.  The run seemed like a natural tribute. “We are running for Team Running Strong because we want to honor Barton’s spirit,” said Phillip Hillaire, Lummi Nation.  “Barton was the helping hand to people in need around him, we are following his lead.” The team was composed of

Phillip Hillaire (Lummi Nation); 
Natalie Hemlock (Seneca);
Jane DeMarines, National American Indian Housing Council (NAIHC);
Barbara Renshof, NAIHC;
Lena Duncan, (Southern Ute, Utah);
Jennifer McLaughlin, NAIHC; 
Jared King, (Dine Navajo);
Joseph Valandra (Rosebud Sioux);
Andrea Lord, National Indian Gaming Commission;
Adrian John (Seneca); Shanelle Nephew (Seneca);
Vinni Scott, National Museum of the American Indian. 

Running Strong for American Indian Youth  focuses on immediate survival needs such as drilling water wells and family gardens that combat malnutrition and diabetes. It also supports programs that foster self-esteem and self-sufficiency.
Running Strong for American Indian Youth:    

Aboriginal culture thrives; Healing Unit a Success Story
Manitoba: The Ni-Miikana Healing Unit at Stony Mountain Institution is so popular that  two-dozen inmates from other units are waiting to get in.  Now other Canadian prisons are copying one of Stony Mountain's success stories - a prison range focused on aboriginal spirituality.  The 78 Ni-Miikana inmates - both aboriginal and non-aboriginal, live on Ni-Miikana, which means "My road" in Ojibway.  The unit employs four elders who work with the inmates.  The inmates learn things like how to make star blankets and teepees, painting, and drumming.  Ni-Miikana has the lowest rate of substance abuse, very few incidents, and almost no gang activity among all prison programs.  It also has the highest rate of inmates moving into lower security prisons and receiving conditional releases. 
Winnipeg Sun

Shoes as social wardrobe
Arizona: Shoes have been part of the human closet for up to 500,000 years.  People living in cold climates were the first to wear foot coverings, although examples of their shoes have disintegrated with time.  American Indians also developed their own unique footware:
Sandals and plain animal hide construction were the norm for people 30,000 years ago. The North American early hide coverings haved evolved into today's moccasins;
The oldest existing shoe specimen is a 9,000-year-old Sagebrush bark sandal discovered at Fort Rock Cave in Central Oregon;
Mesoamerican people (1600 BC) used rubber to sole their sandals;
Mayans are thought to have made a temporary rubber shoe by dipping their feet into a latex mixture;
In the American Southwest (900 AD) many people wore sandals woven of yucca or hemp weed;
The Utah Museum of Natural History has American Indian footwear up to 800 years old.  Most are plain hide construction. Some are fringed with remnants of quillwork;
A 1555 Frenchman describes women’s moccasins from the St. Lawrence River/Great Lakes region with “fancy work and rich colors” decorated with porcupine quillwork, shells, stones, seeds, insects and various animal parts;
Early moccasin construction has subtle differences, yet various tribes could be recognized by their footprints;
Through contact with Europeans and other tribes, decorations and "trademark" images grew more individualized;
Many moccasins shared a special images given to the owner by his Spirit Helper during a vision;
The Comanche would tie small medicine bundles on their moccasins or leggings to help them travel safely;
Moccasins might also referred to bands or tribes.  For unclear reasons, the Siksika were called Blackfoot,  and the Sihasapa (members of the Teton Sioux) became known as Blackfoot Sioux;
Moccasins are often gifted to honor an individual;
They are frequently the first gift given to newborn babies.
Like all artists, American Indians continually respond to their environment, combine the traditional with the new and seek their own individuality.   The new exhibit, “Sole Stories: American Indian Footwear,” opened Oct 27  at the Heard Museum in Phoenix.  Using modern shoes from accomplished Indian artists and American Indian shoes from the museum collection, the display celebrates this important part of American Indian culture.
Sole Stories:

Inuit Marionettes are Latest Victim of U.S.  Marine Mammal Law
Nunavut: Six Inuit marionettes being shipped to Rhode Island for repair were seized by U.S.  Customs officials as suspected contraband under the 1972 U.S.  Marine Mammal Protection Act.  The act protects endangered marine mammals by banning trade products made from them.  However, the puppets do not contain endangered species materials; they are trimmed with the skins and furs of ringed seal, musk ox and caribou and contain beluga whale bones which had washed up on a Pelly Bay shore. In addition,  the puppets are not for trade; they are used by Inuit elders to teach youngsters about their culture.   IF the Inuit owners are charged, it could be the first diplomatic incident between the United States and the newly created Inuit territory of Nunavut.   This is not the first time the United States has interfered with Inuit culture.  Canadian Inuits crossing into the United States often have seal fur clothing seized by American authorities.

Sampson takes pride in being Native American
Indiana: All his life, Kelvin Sampson has heard the same question. "People would look at me, and they'd go, 'What are you?' " Sampson said. "I can't tell you how many times I've been asked that."  Sampson, a Lumbee Indian and basketball coach at Indiana University, used to be offended by the question. Now he has fun with it.  "I started asking back, 'What are you?' " Sampson said. "But that's why it's important to have a strong identity and know who you are." Sampson  was recently presented a Native American Robe at the Indiana Native American Education Conference. He told the audience that they are role models. "It's important for kids to see people who look like them succeed. Sampson's own role models include basketball coaches John Thompson, Nolan Richardson and John Chaney. "I related to those guys early and often, because they looked more like me than the other guys," Sampson said. " . . . Now it's important that I do well, the right way."

The American Indian Film Festival: Preserving the Native Cinema Spirit for 31 Years
California: The American Indian Film Institute (AIFI) will present the 31st annual American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco. The nine-day venue begins November 3, 2006 and is expected to draw over 5,000 people.  This year's festival will feature:
Ground - breaking films and documentaries of USA American Indian and Canada First Nation communities;
Film workshops;
Youth films from the United Auburn Indian Community, Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community, and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation;
The Annual American Indian Motion Picture Awards Show.
Learn more:

New documentary examines dwindling Indian land holdings 
A new film, "American Indian Homelands: Matters of Truth, Honor and Dignity  Immemorial," focuses on the loss of tribal lands through federal policy and how it affects American Indians today. Narrated by ABC newsman Sam Donaldson, the film was viewed by American Indians and non-Indians before its release. Among the comments:
"The Indian focus groups that we showed it to absolutely loved  it and thought every Indian should see it.  They thought it  should be longer."
Cris Stainbrook, president of  the Indian Land Tenure Foundation in Little Canada, Minn.
"It's probably the saddest chapter in our long history, and the exploitation of Native Americans continues today. "  Sen. John McCain,  R-Ariz.
"Our treatment of Native Americans is a national tragedy.  Unfortunately, it's not a tragedy with an end.  A lot of that tragedy continues today.  It's a tragedy that has meant embarrassment to this country, but far more importantly, a painful experience for Americans who deserve better."  Tom Daschle, a former senator from South Dakota.
"The federal government  can take Indian land at will without compensation.  The United States can't do that to anyone else except Indians." Tim Coulter,  Director of Helena's Indian Law Resource Center in Helena
"Homelands" has aired in some metropolitan markets, and airtime dates are scheduled in San Francisco and Albuquerque.  National distribution is planned to retail outlets around the country.  The film is also becoming a part of curriculum and reference libraries, including the University of Minnesota,  Dartmouth College and Ball State University in Indiana.

Aaron Neville Remembers Pre-Katrina New Orleans
Louisiana: The New Orleans that Aaron Neville grew up in was a troubled city with an irrepressible musical soul. “It was like music from the streets,” said the Grammy Award-winning singer. Neville and his brothers, who are part Native American, would soak in the tambourine-led chants of Indian bands, the sing-song vibrato of American country, and the melodies of a city with strong French, Spanish, Irish, Italian, African and Caribbean roots.  “People in New Orleans had a way of walking that was music. It was a tempo, it was a beat...  And you didn't need have to have a parade for no reason — the Indians played the tambourines and chants, Irish wanted to drink green beer, the Italians had their going to St. Joseph's shrine. It was a melting pot. Good and bad, it was the best days in the world for me."  The New Orleans music and culturally-rich world helped him become one of the city's most famous citizens, along with the musical group, the Neville Brothers.  Although the New Orleans that Aaron knew is gone, he continues the fight to resurrect the Big Easy and the surrounding areas. "Our whole culture was almost wiped out, things we lived growing up and now know it's all memories now,” Neville said. “The city that I knew is not there. It went with the water,” he said. “I think they're going to make a new New Orleans, without the memories I knew when."  But whether or not other displaced New Orleans musicians come back to the city, the music will always be in their hearts, Neville said.  “The music lives on in the musicians who are spreading the music everywhere they went.”,2933,210853,00.html

Indian National Finals Rodeo results
The Indian National Finals Rodeo took place over the weekend at Apache Gold Casino in San Carlos.
The winners:

Chad Brunch, bareback Raymos Benny, saddle bronc Preston Williams, calf roping Dustin Bird and Jim Cole, team roping
Lucinda Little, ladies breakaway; Sheridan Jodie, steer wrestling; Genevieve Tsouhlarkis, ladies barrel Ryan Bitsoi, bull riding
Dustin Bird, men's all-around Colleen Crawler, women's all-around Sharmayne Edgewater, Miss Indian Rodeo

 Photos: Miss Indian Rodeo 2006

  Volume 3 

 Native Village Home Page

Native Village is published with the generous help and support of friends, listserves, and online publications.
Without you, Native Village would not exist.  Megwich to you all.

To join our mailing list and receive news update reminders, send email address to:
To contact Native Village staff, email:

Native Village Linking Policy
Our research, study and resource collections cover a lot of Internet territory! We do our best to screen all links and select only those we designate "kidsafe" and appropriate. However, Native Village does not control the content found on third-party sites, so we are not always aware when content changes. If you discover a link that contains inappropriate information, please contact us immediately.  In addition, please be aware that each linked site maintains its own independent data collection, policies and procedures. If you visit a Web site linked from Native Village, you should consult that site's privacy policy before providing it with any personal information.
For more information about keeping kids safe online, please read about the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit or payment for non-profit research, archival, news, and educational purposes only.

Native Village © Gina Boltz

All rights reserved