Education

Native Art: Contemporary & Exquisite!

March 8th, 2014  |  Published in Education  | 

O’siyo.This month the The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art located on Johnson County Community College campus in Overland Park, Kansas, is presenting their beautiful and unusual Native American art exhibit. The Native artists represent various tribes and express their individuality and cultural roots through their unique  art pieces.To learn more about the artists presented here click on their photos.

Wendy Red Star (Crow), Fall, Four Seasons Series, 2006. Nerman Museum.

Wendy Red Star (Crow), Fall, Four Seasons Series, 2006. Nerman Museum.

Artist Wendy Red Star (Crow).

Artist Wendy Red Star (Crow).

Excerpt: Contemporary American Indian Artworks…Katherine Brooks, The Huff Post
“The exhibition, conveniently named Contemporary American Indian Art: The Nerman Museum Collection, hit the Overland Park location last month, bringing 55 works by 43 different artists to the forefront of its gallery spaces. The artists hail from the far corners of the country, from the Pacific Northwest across the Plains to the Northeast, providing an overview of not only the museum’s ongoing efforts to build a major collection of contemporary American Indian art, but also the wild and vibrant aesthetics that exemplify the genre.

Jeffrey Gibson (Cherokee:Choctaw), American Girl, 2013, Found punching bag, Johnson County Community College.

Jeffrey Gibson (Cherokee:Choctaw), American Girl, 2013, Found punching bag, Johnson County Community College.

effrey Gibson (Cherokee:Choctaw).

Jeffrey Gibson (Cherokee:Choctaw).

From Jackie Larson Bread’s The Cover of the Rolling Stone, embroidered in buckskin and beads on a laptop sleeve, to Clinton Work’s embellished polyurethane Clamming Bucket, the works on view displace time and ritual, merging the utilitarian artifacts of traditional culture with the political and philosophical musings of contemporary society. Bits of popular and commercial culture, such as branded sporting equipment, are transformed into figments of a hybrid universe, one that simultaneously pays homage to indigenous art forms while nodding to the experimentation of American Indian artists across media and perspectives today.

Thomas Red Owl Haukaas (Lakota), Haukaas cradleboard Economic Conundrum, 2010, Johnson County Community College.

Thomas Red Owl Haukaas (Lakota), Haukaas cradleboard Economic Conundrum, 2010, Johnson County Community College.

Thomas Red Owl Haukaas (Lakota).

Thomas Red Owl Haukaas (Lakota).

The Nerman Museum, part of the Johnson County Community College, has been devoted to collecting and showcasing contemporary American Indian art for the past decade.

They join institutions like the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in Santa Fe and the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis in celebrating modern art trends from artists within the Cherokee, Choctaw, Crow, Kwakwaka’wakw, Cochiti Pueblo, Blackfeet and many more.”  To view larger versions of these beautiful works visit here.

“Contemporary American Indian Art: The Nerman Museum Collection” will be on view until May 18, 2014. For a complete list of artists, check out the exhibition information here.”

“The artist is a receptacle for the emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.”
~Pablo Picasso~

To Learn more about the origin of the Talking Feather click on the title: Legend of the Talking Feather (also known as The Talking Stick): Kanati and Asgaya Gigagei Bestow the Gift of The Talking Feather

The Importance of Knowing Pow-Wow Etiquette

March 2nd, 2014  |  Published in Education  | 

O’siyo.Spring is here (almost) and for many Natives this means Pow Wow time! We thought this flyer from North Carolina State University was a very good idea. It explains to non-Natives the terminology pertaining to Pow-Wows, tips for being comfortable during the celebration, and most importantly what is acceptable (and unacceptable) behavior at these very special Native celebrations.

Dancers in the 98th Annual Shiprock Navajo Fair in Shiprock, N.M.

Dancers in the 98th Annual Shiprock Navajo Fair in Shiprock, N.M.

Excerpt:

VOCABULARY & TITLES

Pow-Wow Arena. Photo-- Crystallinks.

Pow-Wow Arena. Photo– Crystallinks.

Arena – dance circle, this area is blessed before the dance and must remain pure throughout the Ceremony.There is a single entrance to the arena facing East, you should not enter the arena unless invited,and this is the only entrance that should be used to enter. This invisible boundary should not be broken at anytime by any one.

Regalia – attire worn by dancers – NOT a costume. The development of a dancer’s regalia is a very personal process. Often items have taken years to create or may be gifts and have deep meaning.

Larry Yazzie, dressed in regalia is the arena  director at the University of Iowa  Pow-Wow.ICTNM

Larry Yazzie, dressed in regalia is the arena director at the University of Iowa Pow-Wow.ICTNM

Navajo dancer Dianna Black  dressed in her beautiful regalia.

Navajo dancer Dianna Black dressed in her beautiful regalia.

Regalia for Little Dancers.  LA Times.

Regalia for Little Dancers. LA Times.

Master of Ceremonies – (MC) officiates over Ceremony proceedings. Guide to the events – pay attention to his announcements.

Master of Ceremonies Randy Edmonds.

Master of Ceremonies Randy Edmonds.

The Drum – the heartbeat of Mother Earth. The drum acts as an agent to bring harmony and balance to participants and to spectators. The drum acts as an intercessor to the spiritual realm.

A Beautiful Ceremonial Drum.

A Beautiful Ceremonial Drum.

Head Man Dancer – lead dancer, he will begin and guide the other dancers through the dance.

Head Woman Dancer – lead dancer, she will begin and guide the other dancers through the dance.

Head Man Dancer Chuck Cadotte with Head Woman Dancer Tina Morales. Photo- California Education.

Head Man Dancer Chuck Cadotte with Head Woman Dancer Tina Morales. Photo- California Education.

 Intertribal Dance – social dance; open to visitors to come join the dancers in celebration.

GENERAL ADVICE

Bring your own seating chairs and benches around the arena is reserved for dancers, seats with blankest or other personal items are taken.

Items left at seats are not to be touched this is a gathering of family there should be no need to guard belongings from each other.

Dress appropriately. Halter tops and short shorts are not appropriate for this celebration.

Pictures may be taken with the permission of the dancers, but not durin dedication dances (Veterans Songs, Flag Songs, or Prayers). These special songs will be announced by the MC.

 NO drugs or alcohol permitted at any time for any reason.

Supervise your children so that all may enjoy the event without distraction.

Animals should not be brought to the event.

Do not litter

RESPECT

Do not touch a dancer’s regalia. These items are made with great care and are often gifts to the dancers from friends and family. They have deep significance and should be respected.

If something falls, leave it. Inform the individual that they have dropped something, and they will go through the proper procedures to retrieve it.

If invited to dance, please do. It is disrespectful to decline, do not worry about not knowing how the person who invited you will teach you.

Listen to the MC, he will let you know when you need to stand and when you may sit after honor songs. He will also announce intertribal dances and other invitations for our guests to participate.

“Pow-Wows are a gathering, a community celebration, a time for nations to come together to share songs and dances, a chance to celebrate your gifts, your heritage, your language, your culture with other Native people…Powwows aren’t part of every Nations’ tradition – in fact, there are hundreds of distinct songs and dances that are very different from powwow styles.” ~ The Great Lakes Powwows~

There are many Pow-Wows throughout the year, and all are beautiful and exciting to behold. Enjoy, learn, and respect.

 Legend of the Talking Feather (also known as The Talking Stick): Kanati and Asgaya Gigagei Bestow the Gift of The Talking Feather

 

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Wampanoags and Harvard: Ties from Way Back

February 22nd, 2014  |  Published in Education  | 

O’siyo. By now many people know that it was the Wampanoag Tribe who had first contact with the Mayflower pilgrims. But not many know about the historical relationship between the Wampanoag and Harvard University dating back to the 1600s. Harvard University recently honored members of the Aquinnah and Mashpee Wampanoag tribes by hosting a dinner to commemorate the long-established relationship between the tribes and the university. Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck, a member of the Wampanoag tribe, was the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College, in 1665.

Pictured, from left, are- Aquinnah Chairman T. J. Vanderhoop, the Rev. Jonathan Walton and Mashpee Chairman Cedric Cromwell. ICTNM

Pictured, from left, are- Aquinnah Chairman T. J. Vanderhoop, the Rev. Jonathan Walton and Mashpee Chairman Cedric Cromwell. ICTNM

Excerpt: Wampanoags and Harvard Celebrate Historic Ties by G. C. Toensing, ICTMN

“Harvard University hosted the leaders of the Aquinnah and Mashpee Wampanoag tribes at a clambake at the Harvard Faculty Club February 7 to honor the longstanding relationship between America’s first institution of higher learning and the indigenous people of the territory on which it is built. 

The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe and Harvard University have ties that go all the way back to the university’s earliest days, Mashpee Wampanoag Chairman Cedric Cromwell said in a statement. It’s important to celebrate that connection and look for ways that we can work together in the future.

Portrait of Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck, a member of the Wampanoag tribe, and the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College, in 1665. Photo- ICTNM

Portrait of Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck, a member of the Wampanoag tribe, and the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College, in 1665. Photo- ICTNM

 T.J. Vanderhoop, chairman of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), is a 2008 graduate of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. While I was at the Kennedy School, I cherished the opportunities and knowledge that I could then bring back to my community.

The university’s relationship with Natives goes back to its earliest days. Harvard College was founded in 1636 and struggled financially in its early years until the English Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England stepped in, raising money and granting funds for the education of Indian boys at the university, according to a Harvard website. The Society’s funds were also used to construct the Indian College, Harvard’s first brick building, in 1655.

Tiffany Smalley was the first member of the Wampanoag Tribeto graduate from the College since Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck in 1665. Photo courtesy of Millicent and Jay Smalley.

Tiffany Smalley was the first member of the Wampanoag Tribeto graduate from the College since Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck in 1665. Photo courtesy of Millicent and Jay Smalley.

The College, in turn promised to waive tuition and provide housing for American Indian students,” according to a Peabody Museum at Harvard website. 

Smalley and Cheryl Andrews-Maltais, chairwoman of the Wampanoag Tribe accept a posthumous degree from the university in the honor of another Aquinnah Wampanoag, Joel Iacoomes, who died in 1665. Photo- Ivyashe.

Smalley and Cheryl Andrews-Maltais, chairwoman of the Wampanoag Tribe accept a posthumous degree from the university in the honor of another Aquinnah Wampanoag, Joel Iacoomes, who died in 1665. Photo- Ivyashe.

Two Native students attended Harvard sometime during the 1650s: John Sassomon, and James Printer, an apprentice in the production of Eliot’s Indian Bible, according to the website.

The portrait of Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck, a member of the Wampanoag tribe resides in Annenberg Hall.  Photo- Harvard Crimson.

The portrait of Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck, a member of the Wampanoag tribe resides in Annenberg Hall. Photo- Harvard Crimson.

Native students who attended the Indian College included John Wampus, who departed before graduation, and Joel Iacoomes, and Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck, both members of the Wampanoag Tribe of Martha’s Vineyard. Cheeshahteaumuck was a member of Harvard’s Class of 1665, but Iacoomes died just before graduation.”

“Without the Wampanoag, Harvard would not exist today. We actually saved Harvard,” ~ Tiffany Smalley~ Wampanoag Tribe.

Kudos to the Wampanoag for their strength and courage! Kudos to Harvard for honoring the promise.

 

Native Book Awards for Young Adults

February 16th, 2014  |  Published in Education  | 

O’siyo. In the past we’ve posted about children’s literature. Now it’s time to review Native books in the young adult category. Here are some great reads selected for The American Indian Youth Literature Awards for 2014.AILA logo.

Excerpt: Sci-Fi, Mysticism and Tragedy Indian Youth Literature Awards…ICTMN

“Mysticism, science fiction and tragedy mark the 2014 American Indian Youth Literature Awards from the American Indian Library Association, with Tomson Highway, Joseph Bruchac and Tim Tingle all winning honors this year.  The American Indian Youth Literature Awards, presented every other year, seek “to identify and honor the very best writing and illustrations by and about American Indians,” the library association said in a media release. “Books selected to receive the award will present American Indians in the fullness of their humanity in the present and past contexts.”

Award medallion Seal designed by Corwin Clairmont (Salish) Beaded by Linda King (Salish). Flickr- htomren.

The beautiful Award medallion Seal designed by Corwin Clairmont (Salish) Beaded by Linda King (Salish). Flickr- htomren.

 THE WINNERS:

Caribou Song by Tomson Highway and illustrated by John Rombough.

Caribou Song by Tomson Highway and illustrated by John Rombough.

Caribou Song, Atihko Oonagamoon, written by Tomson Highway and illustrated by John Rombough (Fifth House, 2012) won for best picture book;
“Joe and Cody are young Cree brothers who follow the caribou all year long, tucked into their dog sled with Mama and Papa. To entice the wandering caribou, Joe plays his accordion and Cody dances. They are so involved with their dancing and music that they don’t hear the roaring of the approaching herd of caribou. Bursting upon the boys, ten thousand animals fill the meadow. Joe is surrounded and can barely see Cody a short distance away. And neither of the boys can see their parents. And yet what should be a moment of terror turns into something mystical and magical, as the boys open their arms and their hearts to embrace the caribou spirit.”

How I Became a Ghost- A Choctaw Trail of Tears Story by Tim Tingle.

How I Became a Ghost- A Choctaw Trail of Tears Story by Tim Tingle.

Tim Tingle’s How I Became a Ghost: A Choctaw Trail of Tears Story
(The Roadrunner Press, 2013) won in the Middle School category, and Bruchac’s graphic novel Killer of Enemies (Tu Books, 2013) received the Young Adult award.
“How I Became a Ghost is a tragic tale that gives life to Choctaw walking the Trail of Tears, and then takes it away. Its protagonist is Isaac, a Choctaw boy who does not survive the long walk.”

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Danny Blackgoat, Navajo Prisoner by Tim Tingle.

Danny Blackgoat, Navajo Prisoner by Tim Tingle.

Danny Blackgoat, Navajo Prisoner, also by Tingle (7th Generation, 2013) was noted in the Middle School category.

“Danny Blackgoat is a teenager in Navajo country when soldiers burn down his home, kill his sheep and capture his family. During the Long Walk of 1864, Danny is labeled a troublemaker and given the name Fire Eye. Refusing to accept captivity, he is sent to Fort Davis, Texas, a Civil War prisoner outpost. There he battles bullying fellow prisoners, rattlesnakes and abusive soldiers until he meets Jim Davis. Jim teaches Danny how to hold his anger and starts him on the road to literacy. In a stunning climax, Jim–who builds coffins for the dead–aids Danny in a daring and dangerous escape. Set in troubled times, “Danny Blackgoat” is the story of one boy’s hunger to be free “and” be Navajo.” Goodreads.

If I Ever Get Out of Here, by Eric Gansworth.

If I Ever Get Out of Here, by Eric Gansworth.

If I Ever Get Out of Here, by Eric Gansworth (Arthur A. Levin Books, 2013), was highlighted in the Young Adult category.

“Lewis “Shoe” Blake is used to the joys and difficulties of life on the Tuscarora Indian reservation in 1975: the joking, the Fireball games, the snow blowing through his roof. What he’s not used to is white people being nice to him — people like George Haddonfield, whose family recently moved to town with the Air Force. As the boys connect through their mutual passion for music, especially the Beatles, Lewis has to lie more and more to hide the reality of his family’s poverty from George. He also has to deal with the vicious Evan Reininger, who makes Lewis the special target of his wrath. But when everyone else is on Evan’s side, how can he be defeated? And if George finds out the truth about Lewis’s home — will he still be his friend?” Goodreads.

Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchao.

Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac

Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac

“Killer of Enemies is a graphic sci-fi novel set in a future in which technology has stopped working, plunging the world back into a new steam age. A 17-year-old girl, Lozen, finds herself a hero.”

Kudos to the gifted writers, the American Indian Library Association, and to all of the wonderful people who support and encourage  reading.

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” ~Charles William Eliot~

 Legend of the Talking Feather (also known as The Talking Stick): Kanati and Asgaya Gigagei Bestow the Gift of The Talking Feather

There are many legends about how the Indians learned about the Talking Feather/Talking Stick. Here is one of them…

Long years ago, when gods walked this earth and the land beyond, Kanati and Asgaya Gigagei, were together enjoying the warm summer day. It was a day when the crickets chirrupted in the waving, green grass,when they noticed a figure moving towards them.

As the figure approached closer Kanati said “Look, that woman is crying, what could be the matter?” “I can not imagine why anyone would cry on such a glorious day.” Replied Asgaya Gigagei. “Let’s ask her.”

As the woman drew nearer, they could see her buckskin was decorated with beautiful designs and colors. She carried a bundle filled with leaves, sage, and colorful stones and feathers. They knew immediately this woman was a holy being.

Kanati asked her “Holy mother, why are you crying so?” The woman looked up in wonder, because she had been walking with her head down. “I’m crying because the men of my village are fighting constantly! Each thinks his ideas for leading the tribe is the best!” Kanati and Asgaya Gigagei glanced at one another, in perplexity. “Why, if there are so many good ideas for leading your tribe, why are the men fighting? And why aren’t you and the other members happy!” The poor woman shook her head sadly and replied, “Yes, you are right, the men do have very good ideas, but every man wants to speak his own ideas, and not listen to anyone else. They all shout and scream at one another so loudly, that it frightens the children who run and hide behind their mothers. The women are sad because their husbands come to the house upset and angry. Furthermore, the tribe is suffering, because no one can seem to make a decision.”  Just then a beautiful Eagle was soaring overhead, Kanati called out “Brother Eagle, may I have one of your feathers, there are poor humans in desperate need!”

Bother Eagle replied “Yes” and shook himself until a single iridescent, large feather fell to the ground. “Many thanks and Blessings on you” said Kanati. Kanati made secret signs and prayers over the Feather. Asgaya Gigagei helped him with the blessings. Kanati then said to the woman “This is the sacred Talking Father, it holds great power for the one who holds it. Go back to your people, hold this feather up in the air, all who see it will fall silent, and listen to what you have to say. Tell all who listen that from now on, who ever holds this feather, all present within the Circle Council must listen to his words. The feather must then be passed on to the next speaker.”

The woman thanked Kanati and Asgaya Gigagei and hurried back to her village where there was total chaos!. Everyone was talking at once, children were crying, men were screaming at each other. As soon as she held the feather over her head, all became quiet! No one could utter a sound! the holy woman proceeded to give the directions given to her by the gods. She then passed the feather to the first man. He called the Talking Circle together, and each man had his say as he held the feather. From that time on that tribe flourished because they now had direction, and each person could hear and understand what their peers said. The people worked together, to build a great nation. Along the way, they shared the wonders of the Talking Feather with other tribes they met. “And that my friends is the true story of  how the Talking Feather came to be!”

 

 

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Frybread T.V. Series Airs in March 2014!

February 9th, 2014  |  Published in Education  | 

O’siyo. Holt Hamilton produced one of the most successful Native films entitled, “More Than Frybread” (2012). The story is about five Native Americans representing different tribes, who are the best in their communities at making frybread.  The film follows the  five contestants as they prepare and compete in the ultimate frybread challenge.The story is warm, funny, and full of Native culture. In March 2014, Holt will recreate this wonderful story in a T.V./Web series entitled “Frybread”.

Frybread Association TV Web series.

Frybread Association TV Web series.

Excerpt: The World Wide Frybread Association lives on in new TV/Web Series

“The pilot TV episode of “Frybread” is sixty-percent completed, and features several cast members from the movie More Than Frybread. The release of the pilot by Holt Hamilton Productions (HHP) could very well be the first TV series based on Native American sitcom. The original movie released in 2012 was screened in more than fifty reservations throughout the U.S. and Canada. The release of “Frybread” is scheduled for mid-March 2014.

 Mr. Donathon Littlehair (actor J.W. Washington): “Frybread needs me.” YouTube.

Mr. Donathon Littlehair (actor J.W. Washington): “Frybread needs me.” YouTube.

The series takes off with the World Wide Frybread Association, founded in 2005, in peril with bankruptcy and litigation nipping at its heels. Donathan Littlehair (actor J.W. Washington), who is naturally thin on top, conjures up a means to save the organization with the aid of humorous and colorful characters from various Native American tribes.

Poster for More Than Frybread. Photo- GilaRiver.

Poster for More Than Frybread. Photo- GilaRiver.

Producer Travis Holt Hamilton, a non-native, has completed five films that encompass comedy and drama with a Native American slant. Hamilton’s inspiration to create and present Indian-style entertainment was energized at a screenwriter’s workshop in Los Angeles.

The film Pete & Cleo also produced by Holt Hamilton. Photo- Frybread.

The film Pete & Cleo also produced by Holt Hamilton. Photo- Frybread.

The goal of the pilot episode is to establish Season One, which will consist of 13 episodes. Holt Hamilton Productions foresees filming the series in various tribal communities that will aid in opening doors for aspiring actors and technical staff of Native American heritage.”

VIDEO CLIP: FryBread T.V. Series

Link Frybread 

Congratulations to the actors and to Holt Hamilton for producing such great films. For more information please visit “Frybread” .

“I want Native country to collaborate with me in delivering positive content to a starving Native audience that is tired of Hollywood’s control on how the world should view Native American imagery.” ~Holt Hamilton~