Native Village 

Youth and Education News

April 1, 2007 Issue 177  Volume 1

"A vision without execution is nothing but a hallucination."
Kim Krokodilo, Elk Valley Rancheria

First Americans May Have Sailed, Not Walked, to New World
Many theories about the New World suggest that its first humans walked across the frozen Bering Straights from [today's] Russia into Alaska about 13,000 years ago.  According to "Prehistoric Americans,'' however, the New World may have been a melting pot long before Christopher Columbus invaded.  "Prehistoric Americans", a program aired on National Geographic TV,  agrees that people traveled over the Bering Straights. It also suggests humans from both the Pacific Rim and Europe arrived earlier.  And rather than walk, some may have sailed to the Americas on an ancient version of the yacht.
According to the program:
 Early sailors navigated along a "kelp highway'' that hugged the coastline from the southern Pacific Rim to today's California. The thick, anchored vegetation attracted fish and animals for the yachtsmen's food and lessened the impact of waves. Human remains found along the route bolster the theory; 
 Immigrants could have walked to America over a sheet of ice connecting today's Western Europe to Canada, or navigated along the icy rim in boats;        
 250 fossilized indentations found south of Mexico City are human footprints that date back at least 40,000 years;
  Some Virginia artifacts go back 17,000 years
  A stone tool found near Pittsburgh has been dated at 16,000 years.

   No fake snow at Snowbowl, court rules 
  California: A federal appeals court has ruled that the operators of the Arizona Snowbowl may not use treated wastewater to make snow. The 777-acre resort is located in the San Francisco Peaks, which are sacred to many Native People.  Operators wanted to add another chair lift, clear about 100 acres of forest and spray man-made snow to attract more skiers and extend the ski season.  However, the court ruled that these plans violate the religious freedom of 13 tribes in the Southwest. Judge William A.  Fletcher compared the practice to using wastewater in Christian baptisms.

Archaeological Sites In Palm Beach Looted
Florida: Palm Beach County is losing its native history. Developers are paving over countless sites once home to Florida's earliest civilizations.  Other ancient sites are being pillaged by thieves who dig up centuries of history in search of clay pots, tools and jewelry that can be sold to collectors.   The practice is illegal, but the ancient sites, (some thought to be burial mounds dating back thousands of years), are too remote and inaccessible to be patrolled every day. Now the problems are mushrooming as Internet buyers and sellers are instantly connected around the globe.  "Unless we happen to catch people in the act [of looting], it's just about impossible," said archaeologist Chris Davenport.  "There's no way to guarantee that a certain pot or necklace came from a specific site.  It's very frustrating."  Palm Beach County has 208 known sites where entire communities were established up to thousands of years before Spanish invasion in the 1500s. Unsure of the different civilizations and tribes who occupied the areas, researchers simply call them the 'Glades People."
H-Amindian Listserve

Has 1811 Battle Victim Been Found? 
British Columbia: In 1811, Tla-o-quaht warriors ambushed the U.S. ship Tonquin in Clayoquot Sound.  During the battle, 25 mariners died.  Following their deaths, the one surviving sailor lured the 150 Tla-o-quaht warriors back on board. He then torched the armories, and the ship blew up.  Recently, a human skull washed up onto a beach near the battle site.  The skull is filled with holes similar to those from buckshot, and a piece of metal is embedded in the skull.  Some believe the skull may be from someone killed in that ambush.  That skull is now being examined by a pathologist.  There are also plans to send the skull to an RCMP forensic lab where DNA testing may be done.
H-Amindian Listserve

Canadian "lost tribe" hoping to collect U.S. government payout

Ontario: 175 years ago, the United States pressured Pottawatomi tribal members -- at gunpoint -- to leave their traditional territories in Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana and settle west of the Mississippi.  But some bands escaped, settling in remote woodlands or crossing into Upper Canada. "I can trace my family back to the States in the late 1830s," says Pottawatomi Chief Ed Williams from Moose Deer Point First Nation. "My forefathers chose not to move to reserves in Oklahoma and Kansas. We were Great Lakes people."  Now these scattered remnants have launched a new bid for compensation. With help from Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, the Pottawatomi hope to settle the debt owed to their ancestors under the 1833 Treaty of Chicago.  While Inouye's previous attempts to pass the bill failed in Congress, many hope a new Congress will have different views. Included in the bill's introduction is a 1908 report to Congress. That report concluded that if the claims from Canada were judged "solely on the basis of descent, then it would seem that these Canadian Indians would be entitled to the same share in any fund arising from the claim" as U.S. Pottawatomi.  If the U.S. legislators do finally come through, Williams says "we're all set" to manage the payment through a trust that has been established to disburse funds for education, cultural heritage and economic development among the estimated 6,000 Pottawatomi descendants living today in some 30 Ontario communities.

Grandmother seeks owner of box possibly made in Yukon
Saskatchewan: Choutla Residential School was a school for First Nations students from across the Yukon.  Established near Whitehorse by the Anglican Church, it opened in 1911 and closed in the 1970s.  Recently, Geraldine Greyeyes found a wooden box at a garage sale that bears the inscription "Choutla Residential School."  She wants to give it back to its owner. "I saw the little box sitting there, and it was by itself, and I know that I could feel that the little box wanted to be taken out of there," she said.  "Somehow or another, there was a communication between my heart and that little box." The box also has a large emblem, a Latin inscription and the date 1952 on the top.  Phil Gatnesby, former Choutla student, believes if the box belongs to a former student, it could bring back painful memories.  "I think we have a tendency to sort of romanticize.  I do," he said. "I'm not really sure it would be so wonderful for the person, but maybe it would be.  I hope it would be."  Greyeyes is aware of the memories that the box might bring. "Maybe they'll just put it away for a while, and once they work through their own history, it may be very valuable and positive," she said.  She said the box could fill in a missing part of a person's history.

War Hero Billy Walkabout Passes away
Connecticut: Billy Walkabout, the most decorated Native American soldier of the Vietnam War, passed away in March from Agent Orange complications. Billy, a full blood Cherokee, was 57 yrs old.  The Airborne Ranger of the 101st received a Distinguished Service Cross for gallantry in combat, including an incident in November 1968:  After a long range reconnaissance patrol southwest of Hue, Billy's team radioed for helicopter extraction. When the helicopters arrived and the lead man moved toward the pick-up zone, he was seriously wounded by hostile fire. Sergeant Walkabout quickly rose to his feet and continued fire on the attackers while other team members pulled the wounded man back to their ranks. Sergeant Walkabout then gave first aid to the soldier in preparation for medical evacuation. As the man was loaded onto the helicopter, the enemy attacked the team again. While under heavy fire, Walkabout moved to where the enemy were concentrating their assault and continued firing his weapon at them. A mine detonated and ripped through friendly team, instantly killing three men and wounding all the others.  Although Billy was wounded by the blast, he rushed from man to man to administer first aid.  He bandaged one soldier’s severe chest wound while reviving another soldier by heart massage. He then coordinated gunship and tactical air strikes on the enemy’s positions. When evacuation helicopters arrived again, Walkabout worked single-handedly under fire to board his disabled comrades. Only when the casualties had been evacuated and friendly reinforcements had arrived did he allow himself to be extracted.

Famed falsetto singer became leader of native Hawaiians
Hawaii:  Linda "Keawe'ehu" Dela Cruz, 77, has passed away in Hilo.  Linda will be remembered for her two voices as "Hawaii's Canary" and as a voice for her people.  Linda began singing in the 1940s with the Halekulani Girls.  Late in her singing career, she was awarded the "Na Hoku Hanohano Lifetime Achievement Award" from the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts for her unique vocal stylings. Following her retirement from singing, Dela Cruz headed several community organizations, held political offices, and won a seat on the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board Trustees.  Haunani Apoliona, Chairwoman of the OHA Board of Trustees, said Linda's death is a tremendous loss for the Hawaiian community, and that OHA sends its sincerest aloha to her family.  "She was very proud of OHA, and she was very proud to be Hawaiian," Apoliona said. "We'll miss her.  I miss her."
Listen to Linda Dela Cruz:

One Woman, Fighting to Save Her People From Extinction
Quebec: Sheila Watt-Cloutier is among 181 nominees for this year's Nobel Prize.  The Canadian activist, who lives in a remote community above the Arctic circle, has spent 12 years fighting to protect Inuit peoples and lands threatened by global warming and climate change. "It's been a long haul and a daunting task to get the message out," she said.  "When you're 155,000 people at the top of the world, there aren't very many people who even know who you are or what you're facing."  Ms. Watt-Cloutier was born in 1953 in Kuujjuaq.   She attended schools in Nova Scotia and Manitoba before graduating from McGill University in Montreal.  The first part of her career was spent working in public health and education. She was also a cultural go-between and interpreter, shuttling between the Inuktitut, English, and French languages.  In 1995, Sheila became president of Canada's branch of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference.  After this, she began dedicating all her efforts against global warming.   "The sea-ice season is a lot shorter than it used to be.  And as a result we have less time to hunt on the ice ...," she said.  "What you see on the surface is no longer what it is underneath. The Arctic sink is warming from under, and the ice is changing from under as well. So the rules have all changed and so has the wisdom we pass on to our young people. Many of our elders are being stumped by it, because it is so unpredictable."

A once-in-a-lifetime show
England:  The British Museum's latest exhibition, "A New World: England's First View of America," reveals an Elizabethan explorer's view of America.  In the late 1500s, Spain and Portugal claimed "title" to the Americas, with the French receiving bits of Canada and Florida. England was without a claim.  To establish England's presence in the New World, Queen Elizabeth I granted Walter Raleigh a patent for "inhabiting and planting out people in America."  For five years, attempts to establish an English colony in America failed, but out of that failure came some of the most extraordinary works of art ever made.  They are the subject of "A New World: England's First View of America," a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition at the British Museum.  In 1585 the artist John White traveled across to American to draw and paint accurate visual records of the New World's plants, animals, birds, fish and people, most of which could not have survived the return journey to England.  The watercolours and drawings White created are among the rarest of the world's art -- the earliest surviving views of America.  "A New World: England's First View of America," is on display until June 17.
View a slideshow of John White's watercolors:;?xml=/arts/slideshows/white/pixwhite.xml&site

University press republishes Penobscot history "Red Man"
Maine: When Charles Norman Shay was a boy, his mother kept a small, green book in her writing desk. The book, titled "Red Man," was written by his grandfather, Joseph Nicolar. But it wasn’t until 1949, when Shay was 25, that he picked up the 147-page volume and started reading.  In it, he found a rich history of his tribe, the Penobscot Nation. "I found it very interesting," Shay said. "It was very detailed. It required a lot of concentration."  Today, that book is considered a literary masterpiece and has been reprinted and retitled "The Life and Traditions of the Red Man."  Originally printed in 1893, the book transcribes the history of the Penobscot tribe as it was passed down in the oral tradition of the Penobscot Nation. "I ... read it cover to cover … I was blown away," said Annette Kolodny, a University of Arizona professor.  "There is nothing else like this book written by a Native American in the 19th century." James Eric Francis, Sr., tribal historian for the Penobscot Nation, said the republishing of the book is a great honor for the tribe.  "I think that this is a really important piece of literature by a Penobscot person at a time when there weren’t a lot of educated Penobscot people," Francis said. "It is our legend that he retells in that book. It’s great to see those stories be brought to the forefront again."

Alaska: Twenty-five years ago, Anita Maynard-Losh moved to the remote community of Hoonah, a largely Tlingit village.  Anita, who had taught Shakespeare in schools, was struck by the similarities between the Tlingit and Scottish cultures. ''When I was in Hoonah, I started seeing these connections: the society built on clan systems; the connection with the supernatural, which is very strong; and the fierce warfare that the Tlingits were famous for, the Scots also were quite renowned for,'' she said.  Anita has now produced Macbeth with Tlingit culture interwoven: battles are waged to the beat of drums; witches as land otters slink across the stage; and Banquo's ghost dons a raven mask.  After the Tlingit version of Macbeth was staged to public acclaim, Anita decided to translate it into the endangered Tlingit language.  That decision won over actor and language coach, Lance Twitchell.  Twitchell is among 15 young adults working to become the first fluent speakers in more than a generation. "You will never get the culture unless you get the language," Twitchell said.  "And it will never really be carried on unless the language is carried on. It will just be like a shell of what once was." Today, only 300 elders are fluent in the language, and Maynard-Losh says the psychological impact of bringing Tlingit to the stage has been profound. ''To hear young people speaking Tlingit and acting and talking about big ideas and big emotions is something so unique; it was really moving and exciting to hear," she said.   The Tlingit version of Macbeth recently played to audiences at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC.

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