Native Village News Articles

Below are Lakota articles selected from Native Village News publications housed in our archives. For more information about these and other news articles, please visit: News Archives.

Educator motivates Lakota speakers
Wayne Evans educates potential teachers about the Lakota culture and language at the University of South Dakota.  "I was raised by my grandparents and taught the Lakota way,"  Evens tells them. "Then I went into the mainstream, worked for rancher and thought, how come children were losing the language?"  Even, who has taught at USD for 38 years, said  people can speak Lakota language, maintain the ceremonies, and practice the culture while walking in the mainstream.   Evans also wants to see more American Indian teachers in the schools.  "I want American Indian teachers to stand in front of white children and teach them. I want them to know the Arikara and Lakota tribes have love, and we are not going to scalp them...  Teachers are loving people, that’s why they are in education. They don’t intend to do things like that,"

Vet's Upward Bound program first in state
Oglala Lakota College will be hosting Upward Bound, a program giving American Indian military veterans the chance to review academics before attending a vocational school or college. Veterans who served from 1955 to the present will be recruited for the program in November and December. Veterans are eligible if they have low-income status and are the first generation in their families to attend college. 

Lakota Warrior died serving 2 nations
Pfc. Sheldon Hawk Eagle, a paratrooper with the 101st Airborne Division, died in Iraq when two Army helicopters crashed. His homecoming to Eagle Butte and the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation was the occasion for an extraordinary display of a community's sense of loss and a traditional sense of honor. They began with a procession, led by a riderless horse, that took his coffin to Cheyenne-Eagle Butte High School. For the next 18 hours -- including an overnight vigil -- hundreds of tribal members listened to Christian and Lakota prayers, honor songs by tribal drum groups, and words from dignitaries and tribal officials. There were giveaways, feasts and, at sunrise, a two-hour funeral followed by a three-hour procession carrying Hawk Eagle's body to the Black Hills for burial in the national cemetery.   "We come from a warrior people," said Carol Little Wound, vice president of Si Tanka College.  "As Lakota people, it is an honor to be a warrior and protect one's homeland, one's freedom, one's family. We are deeply sorry that Sheldon has come home to us in a casket. But that does not dismiss the pride we feel in him."

Students gather opinions on statue of Lakota warrior
In Rapid City, SD, three Stevens HS students are presenting the city council with information about a statue they consider racist. Michael Lieberman, Yvonne Bear Stops, and Matt Frank are asking for "He Is, They Are,"  a statue created by Glenna Goodacre, to be removed from view. The 9 ' x  9 "  bronze of a bound American Indian warrior "misrepresents the Lakota people," said Lieberman who is Rosebud Sioux.  "We are not a defeated people."  Retail manager Dan Tribby supports the students'  initiative. He said the statue represents what the U.S. government has done in removing Indians from their lifestyles and homelands to the reservation.  "It's the whole idea of a proud people then and a proud people now, bound to another government," Tribby said.

The Book "Lakota Woman" Inspires Students
The Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota covers two of the poorest counties in the United States. Students at the Alternative High School in Chelsea, MI. were so inspired by the book "Lakota Woman," that they began helping residents on the Pine Ridge Reservation.  The book, written by Mary Crow Dog, describes the difficulties and hardships of growing up at Pine Ridge.   "The students read about the levels of poverty and drop-out rates," said their teacher, Ms. Macker.  "They were moved by the experience."  Students completed a fund-raiser for money, food donations, clothes, personal-care items, children’s toys and Campbell’s Soup labels.  10 large boxes were then shipped to Helping Hands, a nonprofit agency providing materials for people on the reservation.  

Saving Lakota
Within the hallways of Loneman School at Oglala, SD, students speak, think and  learn almost entirely in English. Although the Lakota language is used in the school's curriculum and bilingual programs, it is no longer learned at a fast enough rate to replace the shrinking circle of fluent-speaking residents. Leonard Little Finger, cultural resource educator at Loneman School, has  watched the transformation. "Twenty-six years ago, 90 percent of the student body were fluent speakers," he said. "Today, those statistics have flip-flopped."  Both the Pine Ridge and Cheyenne River Sioux reservations are fostering revivals to keep their Lakota language alive. Officials from Indiana University in Bloomington are helping the Lakota with a language recovery program. They have formed a consortium with the Loneman, Red Cloud and Wounded Knee District schools to work on educational materials and teacher training.  "[Lakota language] will be taught as a second language and as an integrated immersion curriculum," Little Finger said.  IU has also helped other tribes, including the Pawnee, Assiniboine, and Arikara, in creating language programs

Campers challenged to use only Lakota language for a week
Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation: This summer Si Tanka University will challenge 100 student campers to a week of accelerated learning and immersion in the endangered Lakota language.  Students will participate in a two-day vocabulary and camp orientation, then move to campsites along the Cheyenne River.  Rosalita Roach said the camp is part of Waonspekiya Oyasin, a language revitalization project for teachers.  "It's a full-immersion camp," Roach said.  "They're going to use local resources, like the elders, for activities and for conversation." Cultural aspects, such as set-up of the camp, storytelling and music will be a part of the experience, she said. The camp runs June 1-6.  For more information, contact Carol Rave or Barry Mann at 1-605-964-8011 by May 30.  "Based on people's interest, we may have to do it again," Mann said. 

Lakota students prepared for European trip
Susana Geliga, a Title VII Lakota language teacher, and Andrea Schmidt, a Stevens High School German teacher, joined forces to create the Lakota-Austrian Youth Exchange Program.  In June, ten Lakota high school students will fly with chaperones to Austria for a 10-day cultural exchange.  The youths will stay with host families in Graz, Austria, and attend Graz International Bilingual School, a local high school.  "The school that we're going to is exceptional. They teach in English, and they speak German, of course," Schmidt said. "The students there are the children of diplomats."  While in Austria, the Rapid City students will act as ambassadors on behalf of the Lakota people, promoting cultural awareness, sensitivity and fostering global understanding. Geliga said the Austrian people have a deep curiosity about American Indians and a respect for the Lakota culture and language. She is hoping that when the students realize how interested the foreign country is in the students' culture, it will motivate them to work harder to learn the Lakota language. "The students will realize what a gift they have and will try to learn and preserve their language," Geliga said. "That's what I do; that's what I'm all about: preserving the language."  To get there, the Lakota language class has set a goal of $17,000 to cover expenses of travel, insurance and airfare.

Hopes of girl drowned by cousin in 2001 create cultural bridge from S.D. town to Ohio
South Dakota: Weeks before she was murdered, Lakota Rose Madison, 17, had a vision of a bridge connecting her hometown of Little Eagle to Dayton, Ohio. The bridge, she told family and friends, delivered troubled and curious reservation youths to a Dayton safe house.  She hoped the vision would lead to a real cultural exchange that would bring young people she had met in Ohio to the reservation. Lakota' s vision was realized when a group of about 30 people from the University of Dayton and other parts of Ohio and Pennsylvania arrived in Little Eagle. A few were Madison's friends; others were followers of the youth sobriety movement started in her name.  All came to help. "We're just here trying to achieve what she hasn't because of her death," said Anita Lukey, a Cincinnati native and freshman at the University of Dayton. The visitors came to lay a figurative foundation for a safe house on Standing Rock and spread the news that a Lakota Rose peace house will be dedicated at the end of April in Dubois, Pa.

Oceti Wakan: Sacred Fireplace
South Dakota: Lakota Spotted Eagle Medicine men, Pete Catches, Sr. (Petaga Yuha Mani) and Peter V. Catches (Zintkala Oyate) had a vision of Oceti Wakan. The vision was for a Healing Center--a large ceremonial house for educational workshops, cultural events, ceremonies, Lakota language programs and other activities where tribal elders teach younger generations about the history and the beauty of the Lakota people. Located on the Pine Ridge reservation, Oceti Wakan will house small cabins where people can stay while getting help for alcohol and drug abuse. The plan also includes a Sacred Child Center for children whose parents are drinking, suspected of child abuse or neglect, or while children wait for a permanent placement in a home. While waiting for building funds, Oceti Wakan has created "Learning Prevention Using Lakota Values,"  an age appropriate school age curriculum for students in grades 3-12. The curriculum is being used in schools on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations.

Standing at the Crossroads--The Seventh Generation
South Dakota: Most of the Pine Ridge Reservation's problems is blamed on beer. Although selling alcohol there is banned, tribal members travel to Whiteclay, Nebraska, which sold the equivalent of 4,500,000 cans of beer, mostly to the Lakota, in 2003. Tribal activists blame alcohol sales for the 80% reservation alcoholism rate Others, including some tribal members, blame the Lakota themselves. Near a frozen creek there in 1890, soldiers of the 7th Cavalry killed more than 300 Native men, women and children.  Some say the massacre at Wounded Knee broke the sacred Hoop and the spirit of the Lakota.  But the holy man, Black Elk, spoke of the Seventh Generation of Lakota who would come after him and mend the sacred hoop, the continuity of the Lakota people.  Some say that generation is today, in the growing movement of people getting sober and educated. Those who walk this road are mothers fighting to keep their children sober and educators working to give students alternatives to substance use.  Some fought to get them through high school and to keep them from joining peers on the reservation's dark roads, the scene of 247 accidents involving kids in 2003. The idea of a Seventh Generation is a rallying cry to improve the lives of Pine Ridge youth, who have a 31% high school dropout rate.  They believe the young people are the Seventh Generation.  Through them, the hope of the Lakota people will be renewed

Proud to be Native: Youth summit has positive results
April McGill, who lives in San Francisco, recently drove to a youth summit on the Pine Ridge Reservation.  McGill shared her impressions:
The Pine Ridge reservation is 2,800,000 acres in southwestern South Dakota that is home to the 17,775 member Oglala Sioux Tribe. I never thought driving out there would be so bad. It took us 24 hours as we went through Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. We drove through snow, high winds, rain and hail, just missing a tornado.  

When we arrived at the Pine Ridge Reservation, we made our way to the Pine Ridge School.  The school educates about 1,000 students in grades K-12; about 15% of its students live in dorms. They welcomed us inside the dorms where we would stay and into the living quarters where there were big comfy couches with big pillows and big screen TV’s. It was so cozy that we felt right at home.
Pine Ridge is the poorest county in the nation.  Unemployment is 45%, compared to 5.5% for the national average. Most of those living on the rez live in poverty--63%  below the federal poverty level.

Stephanie Poor Bear, 14, sees the pressures of drugs and alcohol with the kids her age. Her father encourages her to play basketball so one day she can go pro.
I shared a room with Lakota Jessica Helper, 17, who lives too faraway for a bus commute. Jessica informed me suicide is a problem on the reservation.
According to the school's counselors and teachers, alcoholism among parents and illegal drug use are the most prominent causes of behavioral disorders among students.

Regardless of such problems, the kids were constantly hugging us and wanting to know more about us, life in a big city, how to break dance, and finding positive ways to deal with the problems they face as on the rez.
Gus Camp, a Ponca and a senior at Pine Ridge High School, has been rapping as a way to stay positive. He plans to attend Oklahoma State University to study writing.
I was impressed by how traditional and culture is very present in their lives. Along with hip-hop posters and music there was also powwow music blaring from the speakers and traditional regalia and eagle feathers in plain view. Student Roki Lone Hill said that despite the influences of the hip-hop culture, they never forget about the traditions of their people. “My Grandma always tells me things about our people,” she said. “She doesn’t let me forget.”  When I told Lone Hill about the crazy weather conditions I traveled in, she said it's what the Lakota call the “Seasonal Celebration -- the ‘welcoming of the thunder beams’ means that spring is coming.  My grandma says it's the awakening of the flowers and the animals. Lightening strikes and that is when it starts and we get all sorts of different weather.  Lone Hill said Lakota people were going up to Carney Peak in the Black Hills to pray, sing and celebrate the seasonal change and give thanks to the Creator.

Conference Seeks Solutions for Indian Education
South Dakota: Robert Watters, a freshman at Pine Ridge High School, says too many of his classmates don’t understand or participate in their Lakota culture. That could be one reason they don’t stay in school. “A lot of kids don’t care that they’re Lakota,” he said. “They’re trying to be black and white. They don’t want to be Lakota because they know it’s a hard life, and they want to take the easy way out.”  That easier way often includes joining gangs, drinking and dropping out of school, he said. Robert, 15, made his statement at the "Strengthening Partnerships for American Indian, Alaskan Native and Native Hawaiian Students Education Project" conference in Rapid City. About 100 school officials from 16 states attended the conference. One featured speaker, Luann Werdel,  directs the Freshman Academy program at Pine Ridge High School. Freshman Academy was created to help keep new ninth-graders in school. Students are divided into small learning communities and attend all classes with that same group of students. By the end of their freshman year, the students will have visited a college and a vocational school and will have completed a life and learning skills course.  Now in its second year, the program is proving it works: reading levels improved among last year’s freshman, and the dropout rate decreased dramatically.  “We still have a long way to go with academic achievement, but all of the students moved at least one reading level,” Werdel said. “We made AYP (adequate yearly progress) with our freshman for the first time in 31 years.”

The Olympics of Indian basketball
South Dakota: In 1976, it began with an 8-team tournament to prepare American Indian youth for the basketball season ahead. Today, the Lakota Nation Invitational has grown to 30 teams, with 15 boys and 15 girls teams competing.  The LNI is more than just a basketball tournament. It has turned into the social event of the year for the Lakota people. Thousands travel from all of South Dakota's nine Indian reservations and from reservations in bordering states.  Besides basketball, the tourney now includes traditional hand games, language contests, volleyball and wrestling. Many educational organizations plan their winter meetings in and around the tournament. The LNI brings as much as $5,000,000 to the Rapid City economy at a time when tourism is low. 

2005 Lakota Nation Invitational Results
Mato Sica Bracket:
1st- St. Thomas More
2nd- St. Francis
3rd- Cheyenne-Eagle Butte
4th- Pine Ridge
5th- Little Wound
6th- Lower Brule
7th- Red Cloud
8th- Custer
Paha Sapa Bracket:
1st- McLaughlin
2nd- Crow Creek
3rd- Standing Rock
4th- Crazy Horse
5th- Dakota Oyate
6th- Todd County
7th- Hill City
8th- Takini

Program, activities teach Lakota values
South Dakota: The Ateyapi Program is a Rapid City program that instills pride in urban youths' Lakota heritage.  Ateyapi, a Lakota word meaning fatherhood, brings to its program male mentors for the children, some of whom come from single-parent families.  “We teach values, good decision-making, respect and honor.  The core values,” said program coordinator Vince Gallagher. Entwined with lessons in beadwork, painting, silverwork, traditional dancing, Lakota language and hand games are the elements of finding their identity as Lakota people, Gallagher said.  Ateyapi attracts 85 American Indian and a few non-Indian boys and girls.  The Little White Buffalo Project, another Lakota after-school program, instructs students in Lakota language and crafts.

Pine Ridge golf program gets First Tee chapter status
South Dakota:  First Tee, a Florida-based organization, has granted chapter status to Pine Ridge's fledgling golf program. The announcement surprised Lawrence Eagle Bull from  the Lakota Golf Association, which plans to expand the game on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.  ''They said we were the first chapter in South Dakota and their first affiliation as a Native American chapter in the United States," he said.  First Tee's  mission is ''to impact the lives of young people by providing learning facilities and educational programs that promote character-development and life-enhancing values through the game of golf.''  Chapter status gives  the Pine Ridge program credibility as a nonprofit, meaning fund raising plans can proceed for building programs and a full golf course.  Golf professional Dave Noble said the Pine Ridge program is a model for the state's other reservations.  Program expansion for young players could change the region's landscape.  ''I think 10 years from now we'll see some golf courses that will knock people's socks off,'' Noble said.    Currently, Pine Ridge plans to build an 18-hole course with an additional nine-hole course for kids.  Also planned is a classroom building, not only for teaching elements of golf, but for life instruction as well. 

Lakhotiya Woglaka Po! Speak Lakota!
The Lakota Language Consortium has released "Lakhotiya Woglaka Po! Speak Lakota!"  Level 2 textbook. The Level 2 textbook follows the successful Level 1 textbook and continues the language teachings.  The textbooks are now used by over twenty schools systems across North and South Dakota.  Both of the textbooks are valuable for adult self-study at the beginner level, as well.

Germany's King of Rock to Assist Native American Children
South Dakota:  German rock superstar, Peter Maffay, visited children on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation. He came to support the Lakota Circle Village Project.  The Lakota Circle's goal is to raise a new generation of Lakota-speaking children, and hopes to establish a Lakota language immersion school.   Maffay, who has sold over 35,000,000 albums, understands the importance of language -- he sings in the German language instead of English, which is more popular.   Maffay supports the Lakota Circle Village and other projects across the world that benefit children and promote cultural understanding.  He is now traveling to under-privileged communities to record a new benefit album dedicated to them. "Encounters II: An Alliance for Children," will be a collection of Maffay songs performed with musicians from each community. Proceeds from the album will go to children's charities.  "Encounters II is intended to take the world to the crisis spots, where the misery is the greatest and the children need our help," Maffay explained.  The album will bring together artists from around the globe, including South Africa, India, Korea, China, Ukraine, Romania, Palestine, Afghanistan, South America, and the Pine Ridge Indian reservation.  "The album is a statement against racism and for respect. We want to prove co-existence," says Maffay.

Teens find the pulse of a people in Star Nation
South Dakota:  Landon Lupi, 17, is a student at Stevens High School.   In December, he created The Star Nation Drum Group, a student drum group to help SHS Lakota students connect with their tribal culture and heritage.  Impressed by Lupi efforts, the school bought Star Nation a drum.  "[Landon] is preserving his cultural heritage and reaching out through the drum to bring other students into the group," said assistant-principal Bruce Jordan.  "He's a genuine, sincere kid out there wanting to make a better society."Students meet each week to learn and practice traditional Lakota songs. "I'm teaching the spiritual songs that you would hear at religious get-togethers and at sun dances, a little  bit of the powwow songs and the flag song," Lupi said.  Star Nation Drum includes both young men and women.  "I thought  it would be a good idea to have girls sing with us, and they could learn, too,"  he said.  "Plus, they sound a little better than some of the guys."  Star Nation has performed at area schools and will soon sing at nearby nursing homes. "I'd like to show the Lakota residents there that the songs are going on to the  next generation, that it isn't dying," said 17-year-old Whitney Two Bulls, a Star Nation Drum Group member.

Lakota Circle Village to use home schooling model for language teaching
South Dakota: In 2007, the Lakota Circle Village will become a Lakota immersion school for children ages 5 - 12.  The village is a  project of the Lakota Language Consortium, a nonprofit that promotes language preservation.  ''On this reservation there is no program that is successfully creating fluent speakers,'' said Leonard Little Finger, co-founder of LLC.  ''The only way it's going to happen is if it's community-based, community-assisted, and [we] find a way to be able to give that child as they progress in life the same kind of recognition they would get in a different school.'' The school will operate on a ''home education'' model, without state accreditation.  Little Finger said accreditation ''will come eventually,'' but that the current state standards for Lakota education are too European-based to be useful.  At the heart of their plan is an old controversy: evolution versus creationism.  ''We are creation-based,'' Little Finger said firmly. Though the school will offer social studies, science, language and math - all from a Lakota perspective - the core of the program will be spiritual teachings.  The Lakota Circle Village will emphasize ''knowledge acquisition'' in a setting that stresses mutual respect, not individual achievement. Students will attend classes six days per week and have 900 teacher-contact hours per year. The Lakota Circle Village will be located in Oglala on the Pine Ridge Reservation

National Science Foundation grant supports training of next generation of Lakota Linguists
Colorado: In the Fall of 2007, The University of Colorado Department of Linguistics will be offering full support to three Lakota speakers for three years each.  The support will enable the grantees to study for the Master of Arts in Linguistics and document everyday Lakota conversation. The project hopes candidates will find careers supporting efforts to keep Lakota alive. The project is led by Prof.  David S.  Rood and has support from the Lakota Language Consortium.

More than just basketball in South Dakota
The Lakota Nation Invitational, one of the largest basketball tournaments in the country, is now one of the largest youth and family gatherings in the country. In fact, the tournament may be renamed Lakota Invitational Gathering, or some such title, because of the diversity of cultural events and activities that take place. To Rapid City, SD, which is familiar with large gatherings for American Indian events, the LNI is one of its biggest events in terms of economic impact.  "Given the numbers of participants, their parents and grandparents we estimate that with that group alone the economic impact will be $4.5 million in direct revenue. Then we can factor in the trickle down," said Jim McKeon of Rapid City's Chamber of Commerce.  In addition to the 32 basketball teams at last year's tournament, there were 29 hand game teams, 16 wrestling teams, more than a dozen Language Bowl participants, and hundreds of students participating in the knowledge and quiz bowls.  "It is a good time to meet people and keep our young people culturally aware," said Gilbert Stuart from Rosebud.

The Indian, the girl and a story of stories
New York: Rosebud Yellow Robe could have been a star. Slim and elegant with a talent for dancing, she had a warm and winning style in retelling the legends of her tribe, the Lakota Sioux. Her friends said she was a dead ringer for silent screen star Dolores Del Rio, and Cecil B. Demille asked her to star in a movie.  But Rosebud refused.  Her greatest stage, as it turned out, was at Jones Beach, NY, where she was a beloved celebrity and star to thousands of children who visited the Indian Village every summer from 1930 to 1950.  As a teenager, Marjorie Weinberg returned four years in a row, entranced with Rosebud's beachside tales of the Sioux. The two became life-long friends. More than a decade after Rosebud's death in 1992, Weinberg has published "The Real Rosebud: The Triumph of a Lakota Woman," a memoir of Rosebud and the Yellow Robe family.  "Rosebud was a woman with a beautifully warm speaking voice that children loved," Weinberg recalled in a recent interview. "She had a star-like quality that demanded attention ... but she was so approachable. It was a marvelous combination."

White bison born near Flagstaff
Flagstaff, AZ: A rare white buffalo has given birth to a white buffalo calf on the Spirit Mountain Ranch near Flagstaff, AZ. "The white buffalo is such a phenomenon because they are so rare," said Dena Riley, ranch owner. The birth of a white bison is meaningful for many Native American tribes, especially Plains Indians such as the Lakota. The white bison is a symbol of rebirth when the world's people are in troubled times.

Native Role Model
South Dakota: Doris Giago, an Oglala Lakota tribal member, is one of the country's few Native American journalism professors. She teaches newswriting and advanced reporting at South Dakota State University with a style that goes way beyond teaching.  "To many of the students, she's like having a second mom," said David Pego, a Knight Foundation visiting journalist and member of the Saginaw Chippewa tribe.  "She's not only an excellent journalist but is one of the most connected people I've ever seen in Indian Country.” Her students have high praise for her. "She's like our mom and stuff,” says journalism student Marie High Bear, Cheyenne River Lakota. “She checks on our grades, and if they're not good enough, she gives us advice with tutoring ... She's a big role model on campus to me." Besides her teaching duties, Giago is director of the South Dakota High School Press Association. She also edits the Observer, an SDSU publication that includes special reports on Indian issues by her advanced reporting students. “The reason we do this is to teach all students to do a better job covering American Indians and to develop sources on the reservations,” Giago said.  Giago says a new day is coming for Native journalism, and her goal is to increase the number of American Indians journalists. To break down racial barriers,  the tribal voice must be heard so more people will know about and accept Indian people.

France honors Lakota woman
On June 5, France will bestow the Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur - Knight of the Legion of Honor - on Marcella LeBeau, 84, in a Paris ceremony.  LeBeau, an Army nurse during World War II, will be among 100 former military personnel to receive France's most prestigious civilian honor. An enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, LeBeau was stationed in Minster, England, 60 years ago. She and other medical personnel received the first battle casualties from the Allied invasion of Normandy which began on June 6, 1944. "I would never want to take away from what our soldiers did," LeBeau said. "It was one of my greatest privileges and honor to have cared for those soldiers."  She said her father served in the Spanish-American War and that his service became a tradition she followed.  "I guess it kind of runs in our family," she said.

Ducheneaux designated Tribal Elder of the Year
Wisconsin: The National Indian School Board Association has elected Leslie Ducheneaux as Tribal Elder of the Year, 2005. A Cheyenne River Sioux member, Leslie is a tireless educator who helped integrate Lakota language and culture into the curriculum of Tiospaye Topa School in South Dakota. Known as Mato Sake, or Bear Claw, Ducheneaux criticizes the methods of teaching tribal languages in a noun-based approach -- body parts, colors, and animals.  ''It doesn't work,'' stated Ducheneaux. ''It must be put into sentences -- we teach it in verbs.'' He also noted the importance of tribal language discussions that become more complex as a child matures. Leslie, who is also a Sun dancer, Pipe keeper, and keeper of the Sweat Lodge, is the great-great-grandson of Red-White Buffalo Woman.   ''My great-great-grandmother, Red-White Buffalo Woman, was killed in the Powder River country,'' Ducheneaux said.  Her Tiospaye [extended family] fled from the U.S. Army to avoid incarceration on the reservation.  Crazy Horse's camp was overrun by the soldiers. She was shot by a horse soldier ... her family had to escape, so they couldn't go back after her."  Tears came into his eyes. ''I tell my own children 'we must live this because Grandma died for you.  She died for the Lakota language and the way of life ...'  I have to carry this ... if I don't, I do a disservice to her."

Cook College in Tempe, Arizona to Offer American Indian Language Courses This Fall
Arizona:  Beginning this fall semester, Cook College & Theological School will offer courses  in American Indian languages.   The 3-credit courses will be offered in the evening, so that students who are employed during the day may attend.   Native American faculty will teach the courses which include Lakota, Navajo, and Pima.   Sequential courses with more advanced content will be offered in each language in the spring. 

College assumes responsibility for Head Start return
  South Dakota: The Head Start program on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation closed in March because of financial problems. The program has now reopened and is managed by Oglala Lakota College instead of the Oglala Sioux Tribe.  "It would have been really, really devastating for the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, for everybody, the children especially," said Shawna Runnels-Pourier, OLC Head Start director.  "I was thinking about those children all the way through, and that just would have been devastating for us."  The college welcomed 630 children into its 26 Head Start and six Early Head Start classrooms. Tom Shortbull, Oglala Lakota College president, said the tribal college had assumed a $4,700,000 grant to operate Head Start centers.  About 70% of the staff who lost their jobs when the centers closed were rehired.  The ties to the college will help Head Start's teachers train to get their credentials and certification.

Birth of A white bison
Quebec: On September 21, 2005, a white bison calf was born in Valley-of-Lakes, Quebec, Canada. Named Prophecy, the newborn baby is a female. Prophecy was born on an Athabascan buffalo reserve owned by Stephan Denis. According to Denis, this is the 7th white buffalo calf born in recent years.  It all started in 1995 with the birth of a white bison female in Wisconsin. Named "Miracle" this baby white bison was the first white female to be born in generations. At once, a traditional Lakota medicine man,  Floyd Hand, said:  "For us the Indians, it is like the Return of Christ for the white."  The Lakota-Dakota-Nakota Nations (Sioux) were visited several centuries ago by a spiritual being, the White Buffalo Calf Woman. She gave the tribes their highest spiritual lessons and peace ceremonies.  If the new white bison, Prophecy, fulfills her prophecy, she will change colors four times to reflect the races of the world.

Indians Ride, Run to Mankato to Commemorate Mass Execution
Minnesota: Recently, American Indians rode horses into downtown Mankato as dozens completed a relay run from Fort Snelling.  They were remembering the 144th anniversary of the largest mass execution in U.S. history: the hanging deaths of 38 Dakota men. The men were killed for their alleged roles in the Dakota Conflict and the deaths of 500 settlers. But organizers said it wasn't a day for reopening old wounds -- it was a day for building bridges.  "In our ceremonies and prayers, we don't talk about the political stuff," said Sheldon Peters Wolfchild, chairman of the Lower Sioux Community.  "It's about good thoughts.  Only when all our children understand the truth can they be better human beings.  It's not about blaming one another, but working together as human beings. All of us." This was the first time representatives of all three branches of the Sioux nation - the Dakota, Lakota and Nakota - had come together to observe the anniversary

Austrian students tour Black Hills
South Dakota:  Last summer, four Rapid City high school students spent a week in Austria and Germany.  Last month, Austrian students and teachers traveled to South Dakota   where Lakota families, teachers, and students opened their homes to them. The 22 students and 2 teachers from the Graz International Bilingual School spent a week of tours, socializing and attending area events. This student exchange was directed through Central High School’s Lakota-Austrian Youth Exchange Program.  The program has dispelled  many myths the Austrians have about Indians.  “It’s surprising, but a lot of the students we met in Austria thought we still lived in tipis and wear buckskin clothing,” said Susana Geliga, who founded the exchange program in 2004.   Geliga said the Austrian group toured the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Wounded Knee, the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer State Park, Deadwood and a powwow at Black Hills State University. They also hiked in the Badlands and Custer State Park.
Among the comments:
“It is such a fruitful experience from both sides of the world.  [The Austrians] have never seen buffalo before. We went hiking in the Badlands, and they (the students) were like mountain goats.”  Elisabeth Polzleitner, Graz International Bilingual School teacher.
“The host families have shown wonderful hospitality.” Elisabeth Polzleitner, Graz International Bilingual School teacher.
“The landscape is different. The people are different. The way you live your lives is different.” Julia Kosmus, Austrian student.
“We’ve been everywhere. It has been a really good experience.”  Dorothy Marko, South Dakota student.

Native American trackers to hunt bin Laden
Washington, DC: The Shadow Wolves is an elite group of Native American trackers who have mainly tracked smugglers along the US border with Mexico.  Now they will travel to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to hunt for Osama Bin Laden and members of the Taliban and al-Qa'ida.  They will also pass on ancestral sign-reading skills to local border units.  The Shadow Wolves include Navajo, Sioux, Lakota and Apache men. They are experts at "cutting sign," the traditional Indian method of finding and following tiny clues from a barren landscape. For example, they can detect twigs snapped by passing humans or hair snagged on a branch and tell how long a sliver of food may have lain in the dirt.   "If I were Osama bin Laden, I'd keep looking over my shoulder, " said Robert M. Gates, US defense secretary.

Less than 50 Native Americans have competed in the Major Leagues since 1897.  At long last, the drought of notable Native American hopefuls in MLB may be over. One current player is Joba Chamberlain, Winnebago, a starting pitcher for a New York Yankees minor league team.  Another is Jacoby Ellsbury, whose mother is full Navajo and member of the Colorado River tribe.  Ellsbury is in the Boston Red Sox minor league organization. And a recent former major leaguer, Bobby Madritsch, is of Lakota Sioux heritage.  He pitched for the Seattle Mariners in 2004 - 2005 before being traded to Kansas City.  Many believe the lack of college and professional Native American athletes is because Native culture encourages group participation more than individual achievement.  Also, many coaches or professional scouts have been told Native athletes can't assimilate on the college or professional level. Moreover, coaches worry about academic eligibility of these prospective students. Both Chamberlain and Ellsbury find themselves in unique positions to help foster a new dialog between scouts, coaches, MLB and the Native American community. Ron Volesky, a Lakota Sioux, Harvard graduate, and SD State representative agrees.  “I think coaches might find out that the reservations contain some extraordinary athletes," he said.  
  The first Native American player was James Madison Toy, of partial Indian ancestry, who played in the American Association League in 1897.
   Toy preceded Louis Sockalexis, the first officially acknowledged American Indian who competed for the Cleveland Spiders from 1897-1899.
   Charles Albert “Chief” Bender is the sole Native American elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, although Jim Thorpe was perhaps the best-known Native American player of the 20th century as he excelled in multiple sports.
   Many well-known Hall of Famers have part Native American ancestry such as Johnny Bench, Willie Stargell and Early Wynn.

Burial mounds at risk
Native Americans and their supporters staged a vigil in St.  Louis to save the East St. Louis mounds from destruction. Plans for a new overpass over Interstate 64 threaten the few remaining mounds not yet destroyed.  Many believe these mounds to be ancient burial mounds "To us, all Indian people are related," said Ruben Aguirre, an organizer and member of the Tongva-Gabrielinos in California. "It is just like one of my own family when they dig someone up."  "These are our relatives, their spirit is still around us," Steve Hunter said. "We are left here to protect them. Sadly, we haven't done a very good job." Hunters great-grandmother was a Native American, and he follows the Lakota
ways. Other tribes represented at the vigil were the Alabama-Coushatta, Apache, Blackfoot, Dineh-Navajo, Hidatsa, Seminole and Sioux. 

NCAI spearheads effort to stop violence against women
Native women are the most victimized group in the country. Indian women are assaulted at more than twice the rate more of women from other races. The Department of Justice says the violent crime rates against women from 1992-1996were: 
98 per 1,000
Native American women;
40 per 1,000
among white females;
56 per 1,000
among black females.
"We are trying to get national leadership to look at this," said Cecelia Fire Thunder, Lakota
, of Pine Ridge, S.D. "As a Lakota woman, my voice is not as strong as having the weight of national leadership. We need more resources in Indian communities to respond to these women."  Women’s safety is inextricably tied to the sovereignty issues of Native people, said Karen Artichoker, director of Sacred Circle, a national resource center in Rapid City created to end violence against Native women.  "As women, we’re visionaries," she said. "Our goal is restoration of individuals and families. As Native people we have the advantage because we have these teachings. But until women have access to safety, they won’t be in an environment for self-growth."