Youth and Education News
May 1, 2007 Issue 177 Volume 1
"Great disaster, sickness and war are coming and that is why the white buffalo
has showed itself to the people ... to give them a warning. The white buffalo
showed itself to the people so that they could live on ... Regardless of your
color, we are all living on this Mother Earth, and there are children here who
still need to live ... The white buffalo has come to give the people a warning
and we must listen to the message of the white buffalo.
"I am not talking about the end of the world, but about a new beginning. Today we must change, we must give."
David Swallow, Jr., Lakota Spiritual Leader and Sundance chief
Ceremony honors unique white buffalo
Pennsylvania: David Swallow, Jr. and his family recently traveled more than 2,000 miles from Pine Ridge, SD to perform ceremony for Kenahkihinen, the sacred white buffalo. Swallow, a spiritual leader and sundance chief for the Lakota Nation, explained that in his culture, the white buffalo would appear to the people when there was a great need. "Great disaster, sickness and war are coming and that is why the white buffalo has showed itself to the people ... to give them a warning," said Swallow. "The white buffalo showed itself to the people so that they could live on." Swallow said that it was prophesied in his culture that these things would take place, and their people were told they would hear "the voices of the children cry. The great white buffalo has come to this place with a message. Regardless of your color, we are all living on this Mother Earth, and there are children here who still need to live ... The white buffalo has come to give the people a warning and we must listen to the message of the white buffalo. I am not talking about the end of the world, but about a new beginning. Today we must change, we must give." Kenahkihinen, whose name means, "watch over us" in the Lenape Language, was born in November 2006 at Farmington's Woodland Zoo.
Watch an interview from the event: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vesGvHP6Gpk
White buffalo photo: http://www.heyokamagazine.com/
Ancient Rainforest Revealed in Coal Mine
Illinois: Scientists exploring a Danville-area mine have uncovered incredibly well preserved images of an ancient rainforest. Discovered in rock deposits covering 4 square miles, the 300,000,000 year old fossilized forest is the largest ever found. Thought to be among Earth's first rainforests, Danville's ancient fossils are revealing new clues about the Earth's first rainforests. "It's literally a snapshot in time of a multiple square mile area," said Scott Elrick from the Illinois State Geological Survey. A reconstruction of the ancient forest showed it had a layered structure with a mix of plants now extinct: abundant club mosses stood more than 130-feet high, towering over a sub-canopy of tree ferns and an assortment of shrubs and tree-sized horsetails that looked like giant asparagus. Scientists believe a major earthquake 300,000,000 years ago caused the region to drop below sea level. Buried in mud over short few months, the ancient rainforest was preserved "forever. Some of these tree stumps have been covered geologically speaking in a flash," Elrick said. The discovery and details of the forest are published in the May issue of the journal Geology.
photo credit: Illinois State Geological Survey.
Keepers of the songs honored at Indian Hall of Fame
Montana: Native music passed down through generations has helped define the culture and identities of the Americas first peoples. Two years ago, Stan Pretty Paint and his wife decided to create the Montana Indian Hall of Fame to recognize and commemorate the most influential creators and keepers of those songs. "Everybody we tell this to, they sit back and say, ‘Oh, what a good idea. Why hasn't anyone thought of this?' ” said Iris Pretty Paint. “And that's what we've realized. No one's done this before, not this way.” Housed at the University of Montana, theirs is the only hall of fame for Indian singers and dancers in America. Members selected for the first round of inductions include:
Perry Pretty Paint, Stan's father. With help from Little Big Horn College on the Crow Reservation, he was the first person chosen for the Hall;
Johnny Arlee, a spiritual and cultural leader of the Flathead;
Earl Old Person of the Blackfeet;
Johnny G. Meyers, a renowned Chippewa-Cree song keeper from the Rocky Boy's Reservation.
The idea is to choose someone from each of Montana's 12 tribes for the first round, then turn the selection process over to the tribes for future inductees. The Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC has urged the Pretty Paints to stay in touch, with the idea of the Hall going national one day.
Five to be entered into the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame
Oklahoma. Founded by Robert L. Bennett, Oneida, and Louis R. Bruce, Mohawk/Sioux, the American Indian Hall of Fame honors outstanding native athletes. Located in Tulsa, the AI Hall of Fame has enshrined 95 athletes since its opening in 1972. This year, five outstanding Indian athletes were inducted and honored for their accomplishments:
Dr. Noah Allen, Euchee/Creek
EdD at University of Oregon, Coaching and Athletic Administration
Wichita State University Athletic Director
Assistant Coach New Mexico State University – Sun Bowl Champion
Coach and Athletic Director Haskell Indian Junior College.
William “Bill” Breddé, Quechan/Pawnee
Oklahoma State University
Football, played both offense and defense for the Chicago Cardinals in the NFL.
Michael Gregory, Euchee/Creek
University of Oklahoma All-American Track and Field -- Long Jump.
Edward “Eddie” Burgess , Creek/Cherokee
Rodeo Steer Roper; Among the top money winners at the Calgary Stampede, Winnipeg, Chicago, New York and Denver Rodeos.
Pete Shepherd, Santee Sioux
Quarterback and Defensive Back, Haskell Institute and played on Haskell’s Nationally Ranked Football Teams
Autry receives grant to digitally catalog artifacts
California: The Autry National Center has received a $340,000 grant to digitally catalog 15,000 California Indian objects. The two-year project will deal with ethnographic objects, archeological artifacts and sound recordings collected by the Southwest Museum, which merged with the Autry in 2003. "We are not just putting pretty pictures on the Web," said Steven Karr, curator at the Southwest Museum. "We are providing content for scholars, the public and native communities." The Southwest Museum has a collection of about 250,000 objects, including world-renowned holdings of Native American textiles, pottery and baskets. Its library has about 165,000 archival items -- works of art on paper, ephemera, photographs and sound recordings -- and an additional trove of 900 manuscripts. About 40,000 items from the combined holdings are currently online, thanks to earlier grants. The new grant, from the National Endowment for the Humanities, takes the project to the next level.
Latinos & Indians will join PBS War
Ken Burns' 15-hour World War II documentary "The War," is finished and scheduled to air on PBS this fall. Now Burns is adding a chapter to the documentary that examines the contributions of Native Americans and Latinos. The addendum comes in direct response to a campaign by Native American and Latino organizations angry at not being included in a heroic chapter of American history. Burns and his co-producer, Lynn Novick, were "saddened" by the initial response to "The War," and stressed that it was never meant to be a "comprehensive treatment of the subject." Burns new chapter of "The War" will eventually be part of the overall film and part of the DVD, online and educational outreach materials. "The War" chronicles the experiences of the citizens of four American towns: Waterbury, Conn.; Mobile, Ala.; Sacramento, Calif., and Luverne, Minn.
Virginia museums feature artifacts, belongings of Powhatan, Pocahontas
Virginia: This year many people will be traveling to Jamestown, Virginia, for the 400th anniversary events of the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. Many will also be visiting the state's American Indian museums. Among them are:
Pamunkey Indian Museum, King William, VA:
In designing the museum, the Pamunkeys created arched ceilings in the style of the longhouses of their ancestors. This museum has 14 encased collections with artifacts such as tools, weapons, regalia, cooking utensils and pottery -- some dating back 12,000 years. It also features numerous drawings and photographs showing the lifestyle of Powhatan's people, the Pamunkey Indians, who are the largest tribe in the Powhatan Nation.
*In the days when rivers were highways, Chief Powhatan traveled in a hand-hewn canoe to visit the 32 tribes he led in southeastern Virginia. A similar canoe, carved from a cypress tree around the 1600s, is displayed.
*Known to his people as Wahunsonacook, Powhatan's grave site is located on the reservation. His burial mound measures 30 feet by 20 feet and is a sacred area.
*A clay image of Wahunsonacook, created by Pamunkey artist Kevin Brown, gives a more detailed image of Powhatan, unlike those in 17th century English drawings.
Mattaponi Indian Museum, West Point. VA
The Mattaponi are the direct descendants of Powhatan and Pocahontas. To share their culture, the tribe operates the Mattaponi Indian Museum as well as the Minnie Ha-Ha Educational Trading Post. Their museum includes artifacts, regalia from past chiefs, weapons, pottery, cooking tools and other items. Some artifacts date back to 5,000 B.C.
*A necklace belonging to Pocahontas is on display. The necklace would have been worn on leather as a pendant.
*Displayed behind a glass case is a beaded medicine bag owned by a female Mattaponi Indian chief who lived more than 300 years ago.
The Monacan Ancestral Museum, Amherst, VA
In the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, the skulls of a Sioux Indian man and woman, estimated to be between 800 and 1,300 years old, were located on tribal lands. The Monacans, a Siouxian speaking tribe, had replicas of those skulls scientifically imaged to recreate the ancestors' faces. Today's Monacan people are amazed the resemblance they have with their ancestors.
*The images of the skull images, mentioned above, are on exhibit.
*The museum displays 15 panels that detail the tribe's history from pre-contact period to contact period and to the present time.
*The Monacans maintain the former Monacan log cabin school house, restored to appear the way it looked between 1913 and 1914.
Field Examines The Original Americans
Illinois: A sprawling permanent exhibit has opened at the Field Museum of Chicago. "The Ancient Americas" covers 13,000 years in North and South America before European invasion in the late 1400s. Costing $18,000,000, the exhibit covers 19,000-square-feet and shows how indigenous peoples evolved from hunter-gatherers to farmers to living in powerful centralized states. Interactive areas include a computer-animated scene of what Chicago may have looked like around 11,000 B.C. One gallery has created a detailed replica of a three-room Pueblo dwelling, circa 1200 A.D., from North America's Southwest region. Complex civilizations are also featured, including the Cahokia society that thrived in Illinois along the Mississippi River. At its zenith, the hierarchical community -- famous for its mounded, or multitiered, city -- had the largest native American population north of Mexico.
Learn more: http://www.fieldmuseum.org/ancientamericas/
Couple Returns Land and Mansion Back to Local Natives
British Columbia: When Bruce and Marion Cumming pass on to spirit world, they will their Oak Bay home, worth more than $1,000,000 to the Xaxe Tenew Sacred Land Society. Awakened by the Oka crisis in 1990, the couple are deeply offended by the injustice and treatment of Canada's native people. "All over the world, native land has been usurped," Ms. Cumming said. Her husband added, "...we're trying to do something at a personal level, instead of perpetuating the colonial stand of the white settlers." The home, which has views of sacred Mount Baker and Juan de Fuca Strait, will be used as a cultural and educational centre. "They are very kind and generous people," said Charles Elliot, a Salish carver. "They have a deep understanding of what first nations people are up against, about the loss of our lands and our resources." There is only one other known case in Canada where land has similarly been returned: by the Cumming themselves, who gave their 288-acre New Brunswick farm to the Maliseet people in 1992. The farm included three buildings, 280 acres of forest and half a kilometre of shoreline on the Nashwaak River. Today it is a healing and cultural centre operated by the Wolastokwiyik Nawicowok On the Land Program. http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/capital_van_isl/story.html?id=d64e3edd-01fd-43ec-9f84-4755f339cab9
Swansea woman donates birdman tablet to Mounds
Illinois: Archaeologists aren't sure why Mississippian Indians engraved small sandstone tablets over 1,000 years ago. Perhaps they were storytelling aides, used in arts and crafts, or a "passport" for travelers. Perhaps it was to enlighten others as Cahokia's influence spread across the Americas. Whatever their purpose, these tablets provide rare pictures from an ancient culture. Cahokia Mounds now has a newly discovered Mississippian tablet, thanks to Elizabeth Kassly, 50, of Swansea, who donated it to the historic site where its now on display. Estimated to be 800 years old, the tablet is actually half of the original whole tablet and the size of a thick playing card. The front shows a birdman's torso, a fringed kilt-like garment, an outstretched right wing, and a rattlesnake-like image across the top. Crosshatching covers the back. "I think it was just meant to be at Cahokia Mounds ... because of its potential, because of the stories it can tell," said Kassly who found the tablet in 2000 on a nearby farm. Cahokia Mounds is the former location of an American Indian city that flourished from about 950 to 1350 with a peak population of 15,000 to 20,000 residents known as Mississippians.
Keeping Native tongues out of the pickling jar
California: Linguist Leanne Hinton has made it her mission to keep the fires of California's Native languages burning. In 1964, Leanne hiked down the Grand Canyon to a Havasupai village to study their tribe's music. She learned the Havasupai's "sung and spoken language were very different from each other," a discovery that fascinated her. "There were all kinds of very interesting things going on in the texts of the music," such archaic words and sounds that conveyed meaning. "I was very interested in this whole notion of meaning versus words. What really got me into linguistics was my interest in that aspect of ethnomusicology." For more than 40 years, Leanne has worked closely with the state's tribal members to protect tribal languages and their diversity. She is also a faculty member at Berkeley's where she teaches language and leads language workshops with a focus on immersion. "When we lose languages we're losing knowledge," she said. "We're losing not just a set of words or a grammar — and of course that's very important to linguists -- but, more broadly, we're losing whole philosophical systems, oral-literature systems, ceremonial systems, and social systems along with the language." Leanne estimates that of the more than 100 languages indigenous to today's California, only half still have living speakers.
Once Near Extinction, Hawaiian Language Making Strong Comeback
Imagine going to an American school where:
Classes are taught in the Hawaiian language;
Students learn how to grow sweet potatoes, build canoes and understand the land;
Students go barefoot;
The school displays portraits of Hawaiian royalty, from King Kamehameha to Princess Ka'iulan, instead of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.
After the United States government banned the Hawaiian language from being spoken in island schools, the language almost became extinct. In 1983, when fewer than 50 children spoke the language, a small group of educators founded a key Hawaiian language revival program. Now more than 2,000 children are fluent speakers. Today, preserving the Hawaiian language and culture are the mission of Ke Kula 'O Nawahiokalani'opu'u Iki. The school, called Nawahi for short, was founded in 1994 as a PreK - 12 school affiliated with the University of Hawai'i at Hilo. Although about half the students are from low-income families, the school boasts a perfect graduation rate, with 80% moving on to college, well above the state average for public schools. Nawahi reveals its formula for success: small classes, a family-oriented environment and teachers dedicated to rescuing the Hawaiian language. The Hawaiian language is the only official indigenous state language in the U.S.
The Associated Press State & Local Wire
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