Native Village 

Youth and Education News

September 1, 2006 Issue 171  Volume 1

"Popular culture seems to represent Native Americans as these mythical beings of the past, and the Heritage month activities are trying to break down those stereotypes. People should know that we aren't a monolithic group of people. We are comedians, authors, singers, and our cultures are very much alive today." Nickole Fox

Trail honors Arapaho, Cheyenne ancestors killed in massacre
Colorado: Arapaho and Cheyenne tribal members are celebrating the creation of the Sand Creek Massacre Trail to remember their ancestors murdered by the U.S. soldiers. On the morning of Nov.  29, 1864, members of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes camping along Big Sandy Creek were attacked by Col. John Chivington and his 800 militia troops.  Most Indian men were away hunting and had left their women, children and the elderly in the camp.  An estimated 150 Arapaho and Cheyenne were killed, and less than a dozen soldiers died. A later investigation concluded that the Indians were "surprised and murdered, in cold blood," but neither Chivington nor his men were ever punished. Gail Ridgley is a Northern Arapaho whose ancestor, Lame Man, survived the Sand Creek Massacre.  "This [trail] is about historical and educational awareness and about the spiritual healing of the Cheyenne and Arapaho people," she said.  " This is to memorialize and remember those who fell innocently at Sand Creek to memorialize because they're still there, and the trauma is still there."
 Photo: Black Head, Cheyenne and Sand Creek Survivor 
© Western History Collections, University of Oklahoma Library

 Native American artists gather to support Karuk sacred dance house
  California:  Approximately 100 people attended the Folklife Festival’s “Native Traditions” performance. The event was held to raise funds for rebuilding the Karuk tribal dance house, called Kaatimiin, that burned down last month.  The tribe and law enforcement are looking for the arsonists. “You could say it is akin to burning down a church," said Patrick Cleary.  "The FBI is involved and they are estimating $50,000 or $60,000 for rebuilding.”  The Festival's theater was nearly filled to capacity, and the performers were eager to provide spiritual support for those mourning the loss of the dance house.  Tickets were sold at $10, and the Folklife Society donated at least $1,000 to the rebuilding of the Karuk dance house.  Performances included traditional drum, poetry reading, storytelling and song performances.  Cleary said that they have seen a groundswell of support from both native and nonnative individuals.
Donation information:

Photo:  Kaatimiin Remains, www.

106-year-old's birthday gala stirs many memories
Oklahoma:- Martha Berryhill shared her 106th birthday with family and friends. The oldest living Creek Indian patiently listened to many of the same comments she heard on her 100th birthday party through the 105th party.  But then a stranger sat down to wish her "happy birthday" in the Creek language. That stranger was Chanenna Davis, a fluent Tewa speaker from the tribe's higher education department.  Hearing her native language, Martha began sharing stories.  "Oh, she says she was in boarding school in Eufaula, but then her father, the minister, became ill," Davis said, interpreting Berryhill's native language.  Berryhill wasn't finished and motioned to Davis that she had more to say.  "She had to come home to take care of her father, and she never got to finish school,"  Davis translated.  When a 100-year-old photo was produced, Martha excitedly pointed.  "That's my sister, she went to the Haskell Institute. And that's me. My mother made me wear that," Berryhill said of the little girl, about age 4, with a cloth barrette in her hair.   Berryhill was born July 12, 1900. She was 18 months old when she was added to the Dawes Rolls -- No. 9671 -- and allotted land from the federal government. Now Martha lives with her 85-year-old daughter, Ruby Mauk, in an Okmulgee home purchased for them by the Creek Nation.  The tribe provides the women assistance with cleaning and errands, but breakfast remains Martha's domain. "She cooks her own breakfast almost every morning: scrambled eggs, toast and sausage gravy," Mauk said. "She eats real good. There's nothing wrong with her appetite."

   Tsimshian Historic Cultural Event 2007
Alaska: In August, 2007,  the Tsimshian Tribe of Metlakatla will participate in Tsimshians at Sea,  a celebrations of their historic trade routes.  Haida,Tsimshian , and other Native carvers and artists are planning to build 14  traditional canoes to travel to the ice edge of the Arctic Circle where they traded with the Makah Tribe. Their travels will also extend along the California Coast to seek the abalone shells used in Tsimshian Regalia, headdresses and Tsimshian Button Blankets.  The carvers and artists hope their efforts will revive the art of canoe-building among tribal members.  "There's all kinds of sentiment involved," explains Jeff Smith, a Makah tribal member.  "The real meaning of the canoe journey is at getting healthy — physical is only a part of it — but it will be recorded, documented, filmed, photographed and placed on CDs." 
For more information, contact Eli Milton at: jadesign1@comcast.netor

Photo: Tsimshian Button Blanket © Anchorage Museum Association.

Longest-serving Gwich'in chief dies at 96
Northwest Territory: Hyacinthe Andre, a respected Gwich'in elder in the Mackenzie Delta region of the Northwest Territories, recently passed away at age 96.   Andre led the Gwichya Gwich'in of Tsiigehtchic from 1942 to 1980.  Gwich'in Tribal Council president Fred Carmichael described Andre as one of the last remaining traditional leaders.   "The youth wanted a youth centre," Carmichael recalled, "and Andre said, 'Okay  you want a hall? Okay, you come with me,' and he got them to cut some logs. Today, too many people want everything on a silver platter but that wasn't his way."

New Orleans' Black Indians visit Flagstaff
Arizona: Members of the Mardi Gras Tribe of New Orleans traveled to northern Arizona to share their culture with other tribes.
The group included adult and youth drummers, dancers and storytellers.   Ashton Ramsey, a 71 year-old storyteller and historian, recalled the history that gave birth to the Black Indians of New Orleans.  "Native Americans and slaves got together in Congo Square on Sundays. That was the slaves' only day off," Ramsey said. "They sold dresses, beadwork and headscarves. They jumped the broom [the marriage ceremony practiced by slaves]. The Native Americans taught us their culture, and we taught them ours."  As the cultures combined,  local native tribes took in escaped slaves.  "Native people received us, offering freedom," said Reverend Bill Carson. "We aligned ourselves with Native Americans." Radmilla Cody, former Miss Navajo Nation, also met and performed for the Black Indians.  Cody herself is of Navajo and African American ancestry.  "This is an honor to hear your beautiful voices," Cody said. She shared her experiences of being a member of two cultures.  "When I was with Black folks, I wanted to please them. I was criticized for being Navajo.  When I was with the Navajo, I was criticized for being Black. In our society the women carry on the clan."  Cody continued, "One day I decided to participate in the Miss Navajo pageant.  It is not a beauty pageant. It is a contest based on culture and Navajo ways. I butchered a sheep for my skill. I am proud to be who I am. I have embraced womanhood in a way that I know who I am. Yes, I have had adversity in my life, but I carry the positive."  The  Mardi Gras Tribe of New Orleans met with several groups and other tribes during their recent visit.  The cultural exchange visit was coordinated by Jacob Devaney and Elizabeth Newman, Arizona White Buffalo Children's Foundation.

Landmark decision for Canadian indigenous community
Ontario: A remote northern Ontario Aboriginal community won the first step in a legal suit protecting their land and mineral rights.  The Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug counter sued  the Platinex Company which, in turn, was suing the tribe to accept $10,000,000,000 so PC could mine platinum on KI traditional territory. Judge GP Smith of the Ontario Superior Court agreed that the land has huge cultural and spiritual importance for the  Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug.  The landmark decision represents one of the most important victories empowering Aboriginal communities in Ontario's judicial history. Any mining by Platinex would have to be agreed to in negotiations.
H-Amindian Listserve

Settlement reached in Indian burial site
Washington: Washington state will pay more than $17,000,000 to tribal and local officials for disturbing an ancient American Indian village and burial ground in Port Angeles. In 2003, work on a bridge construction yard stopped after human remains were discovered. Construction resumed less than a year later, but was halted for good in December 2004. More than 350 skeletal remains and numerous Indian artifacts eventually were found at the site, where Lower Elwha Klallam members had lived in a village called Tse-whit-zen.

Proposed Bill Would Allow For Discovered Ancient Remains To Be Studied
A federal law protecting American Indian graves could soon be amended to allow scientific study of ancient remains. Those remains must be discovered on federal lands and not tied to a current tribe in North America. The bill, introduced by Senator Doc Hastings, R-Wash., is a result of the Kennewick Man discovery. Kennewick Man is among the oldest complete skeletons found in North America.  For nine years, Indian tribes and researchers battled over rights to the 9,300-year-old remains before a federal court sided with the scientists and allowed them to study the bones.  Hastings's bill counters efforts in the Senate that would prevent ancient remains from being studied in the future.  He cited a case in Nevada where tribal leaders have filed suit against the government to rebury the Spirit Cave Man remains, believed to be more than 10,000 years old.
H-Amindian Listserve

Scientific research, Cherokee tales of 'little people' give clues about our world
The term “multiverse,” a universe with many dimensions, describes the ideas of unseen dimensions within our world and solar system. Some scientists who study this phenomena agree the Cherokee legends of the little people fit into this research.  Ancient Cherokee stories from the Smokey Mountain and Appalachian Mountains include accounts of “Yunwi Tsunsdi.” or “the little people.”  The Yunwi Tsunsdi are sometimes called spirits, and other times are small human-like people, about two feet to four feet tall.  They may choose to remain invisible, but at times will reveal themselves.  According to legend, these little people can be kind and helpful, especially to children, and can also play tricks on people.  They may be dangerous if a human intrudes on them, and they are able to confuse human minds.  They live close to nature, in the forests and mountains.  They are spiritual and try to teach humans about kindness, joy and respect.  The little people also like to dance to rhythmic drumming and music.   Are these Cherokee legends true?  Did the native people of North America and ancient people elsewhere have contact similar to this?  Some stories, legends and other indications say yes, and it is important that scientists listen. Other dimensions, other planets, the existence of other civilizations, the membranes and veils separating our reality from other fields in a multiverse are all worthy endeavors of research.

Ex-Post editor writes biography of female Indian chief
Oklahoma: Alice BrownDavis was the first female Indian chief of the Seminole tribe.  Her older brother, John F.  Brown,  preceded her as chief.  Published 50 years ago, the last major account of Seminole history hardly mentioned Brown and Davis. Now Pulitzer Prize winner Vance Trimble has written a biography of them called "Alice and J.F.B."  Brown was chief from 1885-1919 and died in office.  Davis became chief in 1922, but was fired in 1924 after President Warren G. Harding asked her to sign away Indian land.  She regained the position after three appointees also refused to sign away the land. "I wanted to use as much information necessary to show how these people were living, breathing humans and the triumphs and tragedies that they encountered," said Trimble, a past editor of the Kentucky Post. Trimble sifted through diaries and photographs, pored over memoirs, letters, and government records, and spent time with 100 sources and relatives. "You have to create the person and know everything about them," he said.

The 2005 Mexican Conteo (Count)
The 2005 Mexican Conteo (Count) has been published. Compared with the 2000 Mexican Censo, the new count indicates a decline in the numbers of Mexican citizens who speak indigenous languages: from
6,044,547 in 2000 to 6,011,202 in 2005. This represented a drop from 7.2% to 6.7%. for indigenous speakers  5 years and older.

Most spoken languages, number of speakers, and percentage of all indigenous speakers:

1. Náhuatl:  1,376,026;  22.89%
2.  Maya: 759,000 speakers; 12.63%
3.  Mixtec Languages:  423,216; 7.04%
4.  Zapotec Languages: 410,901; 6.84%
5.  Tzeltal: 371,730;  6.18%
6.  Tzotzil:  329,937; 5.49%
7.  Otomí: 239,850; 3.99%
The states with the largest number of indigenous speakers and percentages of that state's population: 
1.  Oaxaca: 1,091,502 speakers; 35.3%
2.  Yucatán: 538,355 speakers,  33.5%
3.  Chiapas: 957,255 speakers;  26.1%
4.  Quintana Roo: 170,982 speakers' 19.3%
5.  Hidalgo: 320,029 speakers;  15.5%
6.  Guerrero:  383,427 speakers; 14.2%
7.  Campeche: 89,084 speakers; 13.3%
8.  Puebla: 548,723 speakers;  11.7%
9.  San Luis Potosí: 234,815 speakers; 11.1%
10.  Veracruz: 605,135 – 9.5%
Several  important Mayan tongues in Chiapas  increased between the 2000 Censo and the 2005 Conteo..   The five most widely spoken languages of Chiapas are:
1.  Tzeltal: 362,658 indigenous speakers ; 37.9% of the state’s indigenous population)
2.  Tzotzil: 320,921 indigenous speakers; 33.5%
3.  Chol:  161,794 speakers;16.9%
4.  Zoque: 43,936 speakers ; 4.6%
5.  Tojolabal: 42,798; 4.5%


Goodyear Man & the Zuni language
New Mexico: When Curtis Cook, 67, studied linguistics in the mid-1960s, he set out to create a Zuni version of the Bible.  But he quickly realized the language didn't have a written form.  So he turned his attention to a more basic task: creating a Zuni alphabet and putting the language into writing.   "I became concerned that many of their old stories and the richness of their history would be lost to posterity as the elders, who were the storytellers, began to die off," Cook said.  The elders who helped him were all older than 100 when Cook began his work. Today Cook's work enables the Zunis to teach their written language to students in the reservation's K-12  schools.  The Zuni language is everywhere --  even on street signs.   Recently, the Library of Congress discovered Curtis Cook on the Internet.  Now, after 15 years of Cook's life and work, they have asked Cook for his boxes of research -- the origins of the written Zuni language. The Library plans to preserve the work and make the traditional Zuni stories more widely available.  By the year's end,  the Curtis Cook Collection is expected to be inducted into the Library of Congress' American Folklife Center.  The collection will include tapes, transcriptions, learning guides and some Zuni publications.

   Volume 2

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