Native Village Youth and Education News
December 1, 2008 Issue 192 Volume 4

Crow version of the Nativity
by Fr. John Giuliani 

 "When a child is born, it is kept indoors for four days. Then it's taken outside and presented to the Creator and is given a name. At Christmas time, the same is done with the baby Jesus."
                                      Rebecca Martin, Acoma Pueblo


Person of the Week: Madeleine Pickens

Texas: Madeleine Pickens, wife of oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens, is an animal lover. She believes that people must be responsible for the care of animals.  "Animals don't have a voice, and as long as man is their protectorate, we have a responsibility to take care of them," she said.  When Pickens heard that thousands of wild mustangs might be euthanized, she wouldn't sit still for it.  "Our wild mustang must be our national treasure. We must not be slaughtering it. The horses have no natural predator. Their only predator is mankind, when we do the wrong thing."  Wild horses date back to the Spanish conquistadors. Today they roam free in 10 western states on federal lands shared with cattle herds. To ensure the animals' have enough food, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management thins the herds to about 27,000.  Today, 33,000 horses are currently living in holding pens. Each horse costs $1,500 a year to feed. If these horses can't be auctioned or adopted, they are slaughtered.  "Can you imagine somebody suggesting that you euthanize 30,000 horses? It was abominable," said Pickens, "That will never happen." Pickens is adopting the 33,000 mustangs who will soon roam free on a 1,000,000-acre sanctuary she is now creating. "I think a lot of people would love the opportunity to go and see what America's really like, to see our true heritage, which is the wild horses," she said. " We'll have hopefully log cabins, little hotels. Children will sit outside and have bonfires.  I can't wait for the day that the first horse is turned loose and you'll just see kick his heels up and gallop away with this herd together. It's going to be so beautiful."
For more information, visit:
animated horse: ki

Climate link to amphibian decline
Wyoming:  Scientists look to frogs, toads and salamanders for early indications of environment changes. Today's scientists are extremely concerned about the steep decline of amphibian populations at Yellowstone - the world's oldest national park. Scientists point to climate change and drying wetlands where the animals live and breed. Amphibians can live on land, but they need to water to spawn.  "[Amphibians] go through an aquatic period and a terrestrial period during their lives so they are very susceptible to changes in both types of environment," said Sarah McMenamin  from Stanford University.  Between 1992 - 1993, researchers surveyed 46 - "kettle" ponds. Kettle ponds are re-filled each  spring by groundwater and snow melt running down from the hills. Kettle ponds are ideal habitats for amphibians. What Stanford scientist have learned in new studies  from  2006- 2008:
The number of permanently dry ponds has increased 400%;
Of the ponds that remain, those which still support amphibians had declined significantly;
3 of the 4  native amphibian species have suffered major declines in numbers;
The number of species found in each location dropped off markedly;
Decreasing rainfall and increasing temperatures have significantly altered the landscape;
Drought is now more common and more severe than at any time in the past century.
"These ponds are changing, the environment is changing, the landscape is drying up and the amphibians no longer have a place to breed," McMenamin said.  It's disturbing." Amphibian populations are in crisis worldwide from pollution, diseases, invasive species, UV radiation and habitat destruction
animated graphics: Heather's Animations

Tribal efforts to improve Oregon’s water quality Oregon

Oregon: The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission plans to clean up state waterways.  The unanimous decision will enable Oregonians, as well as Oregon Tribal members, to safely consume 10 times the amount of fish that is currently considered safe to eat. Today's safety limits are 17.5 grams of fish per day -- only 2 eight-ounce fish meals per month. The new rules will increase safety limits to 175 grams per day, or 23 eight-ounce fish meals per month.  The formula for the new rules focuses on three considerations of water quality -- exposure, toxicity and acceptable risk:
Acceptable exposure --  the safety level of contaminants based on consumer weight and the amount of fish (or water) consumed;
Toxicity --the carcinogen death rate and the health effects of non-carcinogens;
Acceptable risk -- the percent of contaminants  considered acceptable.
175 grams per day, the new levels should keep 95% of fish eaters safe.  However, 5% of Oregon's tribal members eat more than 175 grams per day, so even under the new rules, their health will be at risk.
Individuals play a big role in reaching this standard of water quality. Oregon residents can help by:
• Returning old pills to pharmacies instead of flushing drugs down the toilet;
• Returning pesticides to cooperating agencies instead of dumping or storing them in leaky containers;
• Limiting use of pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals.  Many don’t break down in groundwater or storm drains. Some break down into more harmful chemicals;
• Participating in “E-cycling” programs to keep electronics and other harmful materials out of waste stream;
• Contacting local Conservation Districts for more information on these and other water quality measures.
Oregon’s Conservation Districts:
animated graphics: Heather's Animations

Arviat invaded by roaming polar bears  
Nunavut: Arviat residents are seeing record numbers of polar bears roaming through their small community of 2,000. The bears have prompted the local RCMP, firefighters, and Canadian Rangers to patrol the community's perimeter every night. But the bears are not responding to deterrents such as  flares, bear bangers, or even gunshots fired in the air."All my life I've been here, and I've never seen so many polar bears coming right into town," said Mayor Johnny Mamgark.  "Back in my kid days, there was nothing, hardly any.  This summer, when I went out hunting, there's bears everywhere!  Like, it's different; too many polar bears."  Polar bear hunting quotas have been reduced, and hunters are not killing any polar bears except in emergency case. "I don't know why they're coming into town," Mamgark said.  "Maybe they know that we don't have a quota for polar bears, I guess, and they know that we're not going to kill them."

animated graphics: Heather's Animations

Bison are Camp Pendleton's royal grunts
California:  Camp Pendelton is home base is home to 147 American bison who roam freely over the grassy hills. They arrived in the 1970s when the San Diego Zoo ran out of space for them.  Space, however, was not a problem on the 125,000-acre base. The Camp Pendelton bison aren't fenced in; their movements are monitored by civilian biologists. If the bison wander too close to artillery or live-fire ranges, training is halted. Recently, Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne announced plans to develop an updated bison management plan for federal lands. One possibility might be to place bison herds on other bases with open spaces.  "It captures the all-American values better than other critters," said Kaush Arha, deputy assistant Interior secretary for fish, wildlife and parks. "It's big, bold and likes to go where it wants to go. In many ways it demonstrated manifest destiny before we humans followed."  The bison are not the only endangered species protected on Camp Pendleton's federal lands. The base is also home to 16 other protected or endangered species, mostly birds.
Video: Camp Pendelton bison:,0,3218478.worldnowvideo,0,1602665.story

Barrow film honored at Sundance festival
Alaska: Andrew Okpeaha MacLean's short feature film, "Sikumi (On the Ice),", was among 83 shorts chosen to appear at this year's Sundance Festival.  Selected from 4,000 entries, the 15-minute film is about a seal hunter named Apuna who witnesses a murder on the sea ice.  To MacLean's knowledge, "Sikumi" is the only short feature film entirely shot in the Inupiaq language.  It's his second film shown at Sundance. "I definitely still feel like I'm just some guy from Alaska," said MacLean, who grew up in Fairbanks and Barrow. "But I'm thrilled the film is doing well and people are responding to it, and are asking questions about Inupiat life and culture.
Watch a Free Screening of Sikumi:

Franklin film pits Inuit oral tradition against British history
Nova Scotia: Filmmaker John Walker hopes to redeem Canada's Inuit people and Scottish explorer John Rae in his documentary, Passage. To do so, he had to tear down the image of Sir John Franklin, a man lionized in England for discovering the Northwest Passage.  "This was a big media story — the story of the 'discovery' of the Northwest Passage was equivalent to the moon landing in our time," Walker said. "The Americans, the Russians, everybody was out there, and the great Sir John Franklin and his two ships had disappeared."  But British accounts were wrong -- Franklin did not discover the Northwest Passage. "He got stuck in the ice and died," Walker said.  Passage is based on Ken McGoogan's book, Fatal Passage. McGoogan writes that the Inuit helped John Rae locate Franklin's ships and that Rae's story about the crew's fate, including cannibalism. This  didn't sit well with English scientists and Franklin's wife who hired Charles Dickens to disprove Rae's case. "British gentlemen would not eat other British gentlemen,"  Walker said of the inferences behind Dickens's writings. "He convinced the British public that it must have been the Inuit, those murderous savages. It was a scathing, racist attack against the Canadian Inuit."  Inuit oral traditions tell a much different tale, and it is these accounts which guided McGoogan's book and Walker's film.  Walker also consulted Tagak Curley, an honoured Inuit statesman whose ancestors had been guides to Rae. "The thing I really wanted to add to the story was this idea of oral tradition — that this story was being kept alive in the Arctic through oral tradition," Walker said.  Also filmed in Passage is Walker and Curley's trip to England where Curley confronts a British naval historian and a great-great grandson of Dickens.  Martin Knelman of the Toronto Star calls Passages: "One of the great triumphs in Canadian documentary film history."
Passage Trailer:
Tagak Curley:

Yma Sumac
Peru: Yma Sumac was a noted Peruvian soprano with an international following. The Quechan woman's extreme vocal range was said to be well over four octaves. Some say that , at her peak, Sumac's range was 5 octives. More amazing, she had no professional voice training. Born in 1922, Yma began singing at age 9 in Peru's high mountains. Fascinated by the birds, she incorporated their songs into her voice. By age 13, Yma appeared on South American Radio. In 1943, she recorded 16 songs. In 1950, after a well received album and  massively successful concert at the Hollywood Bowl, Yma became world famous. She toured across the globe, appeared in at least 4 films, and was declared by some as the "8th Wonder of the World."  Through it all, Sumac and her husband remained true to the ancient language of the Quechan and Spanish. Yma passed away in November, 2008, of cancer.
Listen to Yma sing:

 Hairstylist Braids Traditional, Modern
Arizona:  Anderson Yazzie hopes to become a household name in Native hairdressing.  "My parents always worked hard to make ends meet and they would leave me alone with my sister and cousins," said Yazzie, a 26-year-old member of the Navajo Nation.  "(In that time) we would take out all the curlers and blow dryers to put on hair shows."  Yazzie has turned that hobby into his career.  His untrained style is inspired by Native heritage.  For centuries Natives expressed their individuality through hairstyles. A single hairstyle could represent  status, tribal affiliation, strength, or emotional state. "Some wear the long braids, Tsiiyeei (Navajo hair buns), Mohawks, and Hopi with squash blossom whorls," Yazzie said. " Each has its own meaning, which makes them so unique.  I take these things into consideration when working with someone."  Yazzie has already worked with models for the Glacsy fashion line, as well as Nizhoni Way Apparel. He has enrolled in a cosmetology school and plans to open a salon named it after his great grandmother, Zonnie Natione. "My work has been described as 'traditional meets modern,'" he said.  "I think that's what Native people are really looking for in fashion right now.  A piece of where they came from meets a piece of who they are."

Dorothy Grant's brave, new world of fashion 
After 20 years as a Haida fashion designer, Dorothy Grant is changing her stripes.  One of the first to apply Haida designs to clothing, Grant uses traditional designs in traditional ways on classically designed clothing.  Her vision has earned her an international clientele and museum shows including the Smithsonian, which honored her as a contemporary native fashion artist.  But now high fashion is calling her: Grants designs will be featured during New York's Fashion Week in Fall, 2009.  "It is truly an honour because these are old traditional pieces, but they are opening up this exhibition here to designers or artists who have kept with tradition but moved forward in a contemporary way," Grant said "We will be designing things for spring 2010 and we are very buzzed about that." Grant will continue using quality, mostly natural fabrics and Haida designs. She is also moving from applique and embroidery to create whole bolts of Haida patterned fabrics. "It's a shift for me, but it's a good shift," Grant said.
Dorothy Grant designs:

Boots gives hope to area in turmoil
Ohio: Ian Boots' goal against Michigan State on Nov. 7 was his first in an Ohio State uniform. For a long time, it appeared as though the moment would never come.  The young Mohawk man from
the turbulent Akwesasne Reservation often missed high school to care for his siblings. He also played in a junior hockey league that left little time for studies. When the hockey season ended, Boots returned home and graduated high school by completing a year's worth of work in five months.  Then he left home to play for Ohio State. But the NCAA rejected the validity of Boots's grades and made him ineligible to play during his freshman year. Boots, however, persevered. "Back home there have only been two or three people from the reserve who have gone on to college and [not] ended after the first quarter," Boots said. "People back home told me to just stick it out and keep the grades up.  I attribute a lot of my being here to people back home pushing me to stay here."  Boots has found a similar community in Columbus. He now has a 3.0 GPA and can once again play hockey. "That's what kept me here, hoping they'd give me a chance to play," Boots said. "I think just waiting it out, I think it's one of the toughest things I've ever gone through."  Boots, the first full-blooded Native American from Akwesasne to pursue a college career, is aware of the precedent he has set.  "There's not really a high success rate for people going off to college from the reserves, so hopefully I can pull it together here and be successful in either hockey or business," Boots said. "I'd like to go back to kind of spread the word and hopefully get more people to come to college."
animated graphics: Heather's Animations


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