Education

Navajo Twin Arrows Casino: Preserving Diné Art and Culture

May 23rd, 2013  |  Published in Business, Education  | 

O’siyo. It’s taken nearly two years of construction  but the Navajo Nation has finally finished the lovely Twin Arrows Casino  located in Flagstaff, Arizona, and is having its Grand Opening today! The casino was designed to  highlight Navajo culture and features commissioned Navajo artists’ original paintings and other artworks.

Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise chief executive Derrick Watchman stands in the entryway of the Twin Arrows. (AP Photo/Felicia Fonseca)

Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise chief executive Derrick Watchman stands in the entryway of the Twin Arrows. (AP Photo/Felicia Fonseca)

Excerpt: The Art & Architecture of Twin Arrows (From Twin Arrows website)

“Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort, and other Navajo Nation Gaming casinos, were designed to both embody and showcase Navajo art and culture. As a result, no other Indian gaming properties are more fully infused with the art and culture of the  Diné people they represent.

Twin Arrows Navajo Casino. Photo- AZ business.

Twin Arrows Navajo Casino. Photo- AZ business.

The exterior of the building expresses enriched Navajo cultural concepts. The main drive and porte cochere are expressed architecturally as a vertically sweeping, spiraling gesture representing the upward movement of ancestors through the Four Worlds.

A water feature at the entrance reminds the Diné people of the rising waters that motivated the people to move up and seek new worlds to live in.

The Hotel Tower features a dimensional over-scaled weave pattern, suggesting the work of skilled hands; the weaving of baskets, textiles and song. This depicts the concept Yodi: soft goods woven with jewels N’tl’iz.

The texture and lines sweeping over the facade of the lower casino buildings relates to the winds sweeping across the Navajo Nation, bringing life to the Diné.

Upon arriving at the main entrance of the casino, guests enter through a black, textured, stone vestibule — a contemporary abstraction of the First World, a place filled with mist and sound — where the Insect People dwelled.

Twin Arrows Casino entrance. Photo- Big Story.

Twin Arrows Casino entrance. Photo- Big Story.

A custom, shimmering chandelier is the central focus of the rotunda. It symbolically depicts the vertical rise of the people through each world. Handblown black, blue, yellow and white glass rings represent the colors of each world.

Droplets of crystal cascade down through the rings, like water streaming from above. Through the center of the shimmering chandelier, two chrome tubes recall the reeds that were used to enter through the Hard sky of the world…

Twin Arrows Casino Website.

Twin Arrows Casino Website.

The ceiling depicts a Diné night sky, representing the stars of the Milky Way in custom, decorative chandeliers. Patterns and forms of architecture throughout the casino depict patterns of silver-working traditions.

Twin Arrows Casino Dinning room.Website.

Twin Arrows Casino Dinning room.Website.

The Zenith Steakhouse at Twin Arrows is inspired by high nest features of the Eagle. The Eagle, master of the skies, is a symbol of courage and success. A Hogan ceiling is replicated at the entry way portal, leading to the lounge area.

The Reef Seafood Bar Casino Website.

The Reef Seafood Bar Casino Website.

The Reef Seafood Bar is a tribute to the White Shell Woman and her house in the west on the shimmering water. Colors of blue suggest the beautiful ocean that surrounded her home. A sparkling bar counter has integral white shell embedded within. Metals in soft patinas accent surfaces around the open—action kitchen.”  Read more… Be sure to take the virtual tour!  

Lounge area.Casino Website.

Lounge area.Casino Website.

“…Wall features and carpet patterns are abstract patterns based on a zoom in of corn hair and pollen, integral to Diné tradition… artwork is featured throughout the space, depicting which envision the events of the Diyiń Diné  (Holy People) created for the people of this world (White World). The artwork will have all guests experience the Hozhó feelings as the murals are viewed.” Description of the  Navajo Nation Twin Arrows Casino.

Honoring Our Fallen Warriors- Memorial Day at the Heard 5:27:13. ICTMN

Honoring Our Fallen Warriors- Memorial Day at the Heard 5:27:13. ICTMN

 

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Native Dancers Add Beauty to Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Totem’

May 9th, 2013  |  Published in Education  | 

O’siyo. For those who have seen the previous Cirque du Soleil shows you already know the breathtaking skill and magic of the performers. The new show ‘Totem’, will feature two Native Hoop Dancers, Eric Hernandez, of the Lumbee Tribe, and ShanDien LaRance, of the Hopi. In addition, lead singer and drummer Christian Laveau of the Huron-Wendat  has also joined the show.

Eric Hernandez, Cirque du  Soleil's  for Totem. ICTNM

Eric Hernandez, Cirque du Soleil’s for Totem. ICTNM

Excerpt: Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Totem’ Debuts in NYC at Citi Field by ICTMN Staff

“On the 25th anniversary of the first visit of Cirque du Soleil in New York City, the troupe is back in the Big Apple with their acclaimed production Totem. The show, created by visionary international director Robert Lepage, is being staged in the parking lot of Citi Field, home to the New York Mets.

Hernandez, left, and LaRance are the hoop dancers featured in 'Totem'. ICTMNThe engagement will run until May 12, 2013… The international troupe, based in Quebec, Canada, explains Totem as a show that traces the fascinating journey of the human species from its original amphibian state to its ultimate desire to fly. The characters evolve on a stage evoking a giant turtle, the symbol of origin for many ancient civilizations. Inspired by many founding myths, Totem illustrates, through a visual and acrobatic language, the evolutionary progress of species.

Somewhere between science and legend, Totem explores the ties that bind man to other species, his dreams and his infinite potential.

 Eric Hernandez, Cirque du  Soleil's  Totem.


Eric Hernandez, Cirque du Soleil’s Totem.

Of particular interest to Indian country may be the two segments featuring hoop dancing. Eric Hernandez, Lumbee Tribe, is the male hoop dancer; ShanDien LaRance, Hopi, is the female dancer.” Read more…

Christian Laveau, is First Nations Huron-Wendat and lead singer in Totem.

Christian Laveau, is First Nations Huron-Wendat and lead singer in Totem.

Enjoy a short video of ‘Totem’

“My grandfather is one of my idols because he spent his life in the bush and my great-grandfather also was in the territory all his life, protecting and preserving the area and its traditions – hunting, fishing and gathering.  I learned that it’s important to balance the forest.” ~Christian Laveau~ Huron-Wendat 

 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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The Crow Nation: Heroes, Rodeos, and Painted Ponies!

May 3rd, 2013  |  Published in Education  | 

O’siyo. Here is an update for the ESL lesson plan for the Crow Nation. The Crow people are  also known as Absaroka or Apsaalooke. Their brave spirits have taken them on many new paths. The People of the Crow Nation are very active in joining the old ways with the new.

Original Crow Lesson Plan with Answer Key here.

The People

STORY OF A  WW II CROW HERO 

Joseph-Medicine-Crow-about-to-enter-the-dance-arena-at-the-annual-Crow-Fair. Photo-by-Glen-Swanson.

Joseph-Medicine-Crow-about-to-enter-the-dance-arena-at-the-annual-Crow-Fair. Photo-by-Glen-Swanson.

“In World War II, I managed to have captured fifty head of horses. These were not ordinary horses. They belonged to SS officers, you know? During the last days of the war over there, there was a lot of confusion, so a bunch of these SS officers got on their horses and took off … They were heading back to Germany. And here’s that old sneaky old Crow Indian now following them, watching them. So they camped for the night. I sneak in there and took all their fifty head of horses, left them on foot. So I got on one, looked around there and I even sang a Crow victory song all by myself. Crows do that when they think they’re all by themselves, they do things like that. So I sang a victory song.” ~Joseph-Medicine-Crow~

Medal of Freedom is presented to Joseph Medicine Crow by President Barack Obama. Photo- USC

Medal of Freedom is presented to Joseph Medicine Crow by President Barack Obama. Photo- USC

THE FAMOUS CROW FAIR & Rodeo!

The beautiful Crow women in the parade.

The beautiful Crow women in the Crow Fair & Rodeo parade.

“The Annual Crow Fair Celebration it is one of the largest gatherings of the year for the Apsáalooke Nation and is considered the largest modern day American Indian encampment in the Nation. Deemed the “Teepee Capital of the World” because of the approximately 1,200 to 1,500 teepees in the encampment during the one week of celebration that the Crow Fair is happening.There are many cultural activities that take place throughout the days of this great celebration.”  Read more…

The Crow men are Rough Riding. Crow Fair and Rodeo.

The Crow men are legendary for their roping and riding skills. Crow Fair and Rodeo.

Dancer wears colorful regalia. Crow Fair and Rodeo. Photo: Crow site.

Dancer wears colorful regalia. Crow Fair and Rodeo.

Beautiful Ladies' regalia From the Crow Fair and Rodeo. Photo- Crow site.

Beautiful Ladies’ regalia From the Crow Fair and Rodeo.

Mark your calendars! The dates for the Crow Fair and Rodeo this year August 15, 2013- August 19, 2013-More information.

 APSAALOOKE ART AND PAINTED HORSES

Kennard Real Bird painting a pony as part of the WIHS partnership with Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian at WIHS Kids’ Day in 2011. (Photo- Lawrence J. Nagy) WIHS.

Kennard Real Bird painting a pony as part of the WIHS partnership with Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian at WIHS Kids’ Day in 2011. (Photo- Lawrence J. Nagy) WIHS.

Crow Legacy of On-Body Horse Painting

“Brady Willette, a longtime commercial photographer, grew up fascinated by the skills of the Indian warriors and their remarkable relationships with their equine partners. Compelled to honor this extraordinary era through his art, Brady was fortunate to find a number of American Indian collaborators for his visionary “War Pony,” series. Among them was a member of the Crow Tribe, Kennard Real Bird, one of the few American Indians who helped preserve the legacy of “on-body horse painting.”

Decorated Paint Horse Being Prepped For Brady's 
War Pony Photo-Shoot.

Decorated Paint Horse Being Prepped For Brady’s 
War Pony Photo-Shoot.

The Famous  Brady Willette's  Crow War Pony.

The Famous Brady Willette’s Crow War Pony.

A VISONARY CROW CHIEF

Plenty-Coups, famous Crow Chief. Photo- Native Quotes.

Plenty-Coups, famous Crow Chief. Photo- Native Quotes.

“As a young boy, Chief Plenty Coups had a vision in which he saw the destruction of the Buffalo herds and the Crow way of life. To the deeply religious Crow, who understand dreams as agents of spiritual instruction, this vision lent moral weight and influenced the path the Crow Nation followed during that time.The boy whose dream was instrumental in setting that policy during those turbulent years grew to be a courageous and honored warrior. Acquiring the name Plenty Coups, he quickly rose to the rank of chief, emerging as a leader whose forceful advocacy of change brought him fame in the world.” -Stan Hoggatt-

 POLITICS

The Crow Nation had a special place in President Obama’a Inaugural Parade. Photo- BlueBloggin

The Crow Nation had a special place in President Obama’a Inaugural Parade. Photo- BlueBloggin

“While he was a presidential candidate, President Barack Obama was officially adopted into the Crow Nation. This occurred when he visited the reservation during his campaign for the presidency of the United States. This was the first time a presidential candidate had visited a tribal reservation…Drums pounded and the crowd cheered as Obama was escorted to the podium by his new parents, Hartford and Mary Black Eagle, in the manner of a groom being walked down the aisle. Obama beamed. His adoptive parents gave Obama hugs as he stepped onto a riser to speak.” The Washington Post-2008.

 

LITERATURE

They Call Me Agnes- A Crow Narrative Based on the Life of Agnes Yellowtail Deernose. By Fred Voget, Barnes & Noble

They Call Me Agnes- A Crow Narrative Based on the Life of Agnes Yellowtail Deernose. By Fred Voget, Barnes & Noble

“In They Call Me Agnes, the narrator, Agnes Deernose, provides a warm, personal view of Crow Indian family life and culture.”

Parading Through History- The Making of the Crow Nation in America 1805-1935. By Frederick E. Hoxie. Google Books.

Parading Through History- The Making of the Crow Nation in America 1805-1935. By Frederick E. Hoxie. Google Books.

“This volume provides a history of the Crow Indians that demonstrates the link between their nineteenth-century nomadic life and their modern existence.”

Plenty-coups the last hereditary chief of the Crow Indians. By Frank B. Linderman. Google Books.

Plenty-coups the last hereditary chief of the Crow Indians. By Frank B. Linderman. Google Books.

“In his old age, Plenty-coups (1848–1932), the last hereditary chief of the Crow Indians, told the moving story of his life to Frank B. Linderman, the well-known western writer who had befriended him.”

The Crow Indians (Second Edition) By Robert Lowie. Google Books.

The Crow Indians (Second Edition) By Robert Lowie. Google Books.

“First published in 1935, The Crow Indians offers a concise and accessible introduction to the nineteenth-century world of the Crow Indians.”

“Education is your greatest weapon…Study, learn, help one another always. Remember there is only poverty and misery in idleness and dreams – but in work there is self respect and independence.” ~Chief Plenty Coups~ Crow Nation (1848 – 1932).

 

 

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Star Wars “Force” To Join The Diné Language!

April 25th, 2013  |  Published in Education, Technology  | 

O’siyo. For years popular films have been dubbed in many foreign languages representing countries from all over the world. Now for the first time the popular classic film “Star Wars Episode IV” will be dubbed in the Diné language.  Working together on  this exciting and creative idea are the Navajo Nation Museum, Navajo Parks and Recreation, and Lucasfilm, Ltd. The idea began with Manuelito Wheeler who is the director of the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock.  Audititons for  Navajo Speakers for the dubbing parts in the movie  will be held on May 4 and 5. See the information below.

Star Wars IV. Photo SimonZ.

Star Wars IV. Photo SimonZ.

Excerpt: Star Wars Saga to be translated into Diné language, By Bill Donovan
, Navajo Times.

“Coming as a surprise to everyone, especially members of the Navajo Tribe, Obi-Wan Kenobi will soon say, “May the Force be with you” in the Diné language. Navajo members will soon be able to hear the beloved character from the Star Wars Saga say this and more as the Navajo Nation Museum, Navajo Parks and Recreation, and Lucasfilm, Ltd. have joined forces to dub Episode IV of the classic space fantasy film, Star Wars into the Diné language. This marks the first time that a mainstream movie will be dubbed into the Navajo language.

Manuelito Wheeler, Director of The Navajo Nation Museum. Photo- Myspace.

Manuelito Wheeler, Director of The Navajo Nation Museum. Photo- Myspace.

Manuelito Wheeler, the director of the Navajo Nation Museum, said he’s been working on the idea of getting a popular film dubbed into Navajo for more than three years as a way to preserve the Navajo language…He said when he approached Lucasfilm officials with the idea, he found that they were excited about the project.

The Navajo Nation Museum.

The Navajo Nation Museum.

Since its inception, the Star Wars Saga has been experienced and shared all over the world. Its timeless themes of good versus evil have resonated with cultures far and wide. The movies have been translated across multiple languages and Lucasfilm Ltd. is proud to have Navajo as its most recent addition.

Left to Right- Murray Lee, Martin L. Begaye, Donald Sanchez, Lee Cly, Lynda French. Photo by Geri Hongeva:Navajo Parks & Recreation.

Left to Right- Murray Lee, Martin L. Begaye, Donald Sanchez, Lee Cly, Lynda French. Photo by Geri Hongeva:Navajo Parks & Recreation.

Navajo Parks and Recreation Department is proud and honored to be a part of this innovative and entertaining approach to helping preserve our Navajo language, said Martin Begaye, department director…

Shana Priesz, senior director of Localization at Deluxe said, While we have dubbed many films in the past into a variety of languages, this project ranks among the most significant. Every time we dub a film, we recognize the fact that we are helping to bridge cultural and communications gaps among societies. In this case, however, we have the unique privilege of contributing to the preservation of a storied and noble culture, the Navajo…

Tower Butte at Lake Powell Navajo Tribal Park-the newest attraction on Navajo Nation.Photo Navajo Parks and Recreation.

Tower Butte at Lake Powell Navajo Tribal Park-the newest attraction on Navajo Nation.Photo Navajo Parks and Recreation.

The staff at Deluxe is looking forward to traveling to Navajo Nation to supervise the adaptation and recording process…

Star Wars- R2-D2 AND C-3PO. Photo:Sci-Fi Gallery.

Star Wars- R2-D2 AND C-3PO. Photo:Sci-Fi Gallery.

Sir Alec Guinness as Obi Wan Kenobi. Photo- UK Mirror. tiff

Sir Alec Guinness as Obi Wan Kenobi. Photo- UK Mirror.

The next step in the process will be casting men and women fluent in Navajo to be voice actors.

Auditions for the roles of Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Han Solo, C-3PO, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Grand Moff Tarkin will be held at the Navajo Nation Museum on Friday, May 3 and Saturday, May 4. 

If you are interested in trying out, call 928-871-7941 to book your time slot.

Walk-ins are welcome as well.

The tribe isn’t necessarily looking for people who sound like Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill or the others, but rather for performers who have the ability to speak the dialogue with the force and emotions of the original actors, according to Wheeler. The plans are to premier the Navajo version of the movie at the upcoming Fourth of July fair…Since this is a cultural project, there will be no admission charged to see the movie.”  Read more…

Kudos to the Navajo Nation Museum, Navajo Parks and Recreation, Lucasfilm, Ltd., Manualito Wheeler, and to all of the people who are supporting this wonderful project. A special congratulations to all of the Navajo speakers who will be chosen for the dubbing roles in the movie!

“By preserving the Navajo language and encouraging Navajo youth to learn their language, we will also be preserving Navajo culture.”  ~Manuelito Wheeler~ Director of the Navajo Nation Museum, 2013.

 

 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”. 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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Extended Lesson for the Navajos: Beauty, Brains, and Bravery!

March 22nd, 2013  |  Published in Education  | 

O’siyo. In updating the ESL lesson plan for the Navajo Nation, there was a lot of new information to add!  Both Navajo men and women excel in nearly all professions and economic endeavors. Their brave spirits have taken them on many new paths.  Here are some updated photos and news for these wonderful people.

See the complete Navajo Lesson Plan with Answer Key Here.

The People: 

Miss Navajo Nation

The beautiful Leandra Thomas is Miss Navajo Nation 2013.  Photo- nhonews.com

The beautiful Leandra Thomas is Miss Navajo Nation 2013. Photo- nhonews.com

This prestigious contest has been in existence since 1952. “The contestants must fill the requirement of having knowledge of the Navajo culture and tradition. Unlike most beauty pageants throughout the world, the Miss Navajo Nation pageant is of beauty “within” one’s self.”- Miss Navajo Council-

Science

Navajo physicist Fred Begay. Photo- physicscentral.

Navajo physicist Fred Begay. Photo- physicscentral.

Dr. Fred Begay (born 1932) is a Navajo nuclear physicist and a Korean War Veteran. Dr. Begay was profiled in the 1979 NOVA documentary, The Long Walk of Fred Young.

Politics

Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly. Photo Navajo President.org

“After serving as a Navajo Nation Council Delegate for sixteen years and four years as Vice President in the Shirley-Shelly Administration, Ben Shelly was sworn in as President of the Navajo Nation on January 11, 2011. President Shelly was born in Thoreau, New Mexico.” ~Navajo President.org~

Navajo Nation Vice President Rex Lee Jim. Photo Navajo-nsn.gov

“After serving as a ranking member on the Judiciary Committee and chairman of the Public Safety Committee within the 21st Navajo Nation Council, Delegate Rex Lee Jim was sworn in as Vice President of the Navajo Nation on January 11, 2011. Born and raised in Rock Point, a small farming and ranching community in northern Arizona.” ~Navajo President.org~

Joe Shirley, Jr., former President of the Navajo Nation.

Art and Literature

Navajo- Hastiin Tłʼa, (1867–1937) Renown Navajo Medicine man and master weaver. Photo- Wikipedia

Navajo- Hastiin Tłʼa, (1867–1937) Renown Navajo Medicine man and master weaver. Photo- Wikipedia

“Many Indian cultures accepted – and in fact, celebrated – the fact the some people could fill both male and female roles in their society. One such individual was Hosteen Klah (also spelled Hastiin Klah) who became well-known as a Navajo weaver and as a Navajo singer (medicine man). Among the Navajo, weavers are usually female and hataalii (singers, chanters, or medicine men) are usually male. Hosteen Klah filled both of these roles.” -Native Roots-R. C. Gorman (1932–2005), painter and printmaker.Photo RC Gorman gallery.

Talented Navajo artist R.C. Gorman was born near Canyon de Chelly, Arizona and spent his life painting scenes that reflected Navajo culture.~RC Gorman Gallery~

Master Weaver Florence Riggs discusses weaving at the 2013 55th Annual Heard Museum Indian Fair and Market. Photo Weavinginbeauty

The 55th Annual Heard Museum Indian Fair and Market  theme for 2013 is  “Weaving Worlds with Wool” celebrates and highlights Navajo Rug Weavers and is Honoring Signature Artist Florence Riggs whose rug is the centerpiece of the event. 

Sherwin Bitsui (1975-) is a Navajo writer, and the recipient of several literary awards and grants. Photo- Bitsui website.

Military

Video:  Keith M. Little Navajo Code Talker

View this wonderful educational  video as the legendary Navajo Code Talker Keith M. Little speaks about his life growing up in his home and his important role  during WWII.

“After hearing about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor while in boarding school, Keith Little chose to enlist in the U.S. Marines. He went to Communications School and became one of the legendary Navajo Code Talkers, seeing action on Iwo Jima, Roi Namur, Saipan and other Pacific locations. Keith helps tell the important story of the Code Talkers through his role as president of the Navajo Code Talkers Foundation.” ~Project completed by- Shawn Tsosie, Jessica King, and Robbie Christiano.~

Music

Music Artist Raymond Carlos Nakai. Photo- Nakai website

Raymond Carlos Nakai (April 16, 1946) is a Navajo musician with several Grammy awards for his music. “Inner Voices” was an award winner.

The beautiful Radmilla Cody (Robert Doyle : Canyon Records )

Radmilla Cody Navajo singer, received a 2013 Grammy nomination for her album Shi Keyah: Songs for the People-She is the first Native American to be nominated for a Grammy Award. This album contains many wonderful songs, but especially Navajo Warrior and the beautiful  Code Talker which Miss Cody sings  a cappella in both Navajo and English.

Navajo Rock Band Blackfire.Photo- newspaperock.

Navajo Rock Band Blackfire started nearly twenty years ago by three siblings, and is still popular. Photo: newspaperock.

Navajo Books

Code Talker- The First and Only Memoir by One of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of WWII By Chester Nez with JS Avila.

Warriors- Navajo Code Talkers [Paperback

Hosteen Klah- Navaho Medicine Man & Sand Painter By Franc Newcomb,

Songs From the Loom By Monty Roessel

There is no greater place than the land we know as Dine’tah. Our heritage is written in our clans, our ceremonies, and a collection of history that tells our past, yet our future in the bounty of prosperity.” ~President Ben Shelly~

Teachers will find free and Complete Lesson Plans with Answer Keys on the following U.S. tribes: Apache, Blackfeet, Cherokee, Choctaw, Crow, Iroquois, Kwakiutl, Mohawk (read about the fascinating “Sky Walkers”)  Navajo, Shawnee, Sioux, and Zuni.

Visit some of our readers’ favorite posts!   “Wado”~Many thanks.

 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”. 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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The Thunderbird Dancers: Preserving Culture & Traditions…

March 14th, 2013  |  Published in Education  | 

O’siyo. Spring signals the beginning of Pow-wows and Native Celebrations!
One Native group that has been performing Native dances and celebrating Naive culture are the Thunderbird American Indian Dancers. This New York City based group was founded in 1963 by Louis Mofsie an educator and member of the Hopi/Winnebago Nations. What is unique about the Thunderbird Dancers is that the members all come from various tribes and have continued to dance together for many years.  This year marks their 50th Celebration! The following is an excerpt from an interview with Mr. Mofsie by ICTMN.

Dancers. Photo- Thunderbird Website

Excerpt: Saving the Dance: Louis Mofsie… Tish Leizens ICTMN

“At the age of 76, Louis Mofsie, Hopi/Winnebago, an accomplished dancer, choreographer, educator and artistic director of the Thunderbird American Indian Dancers, which he founded 50 years ago, is as busy as ever…From January 25 to February 3 he led his Native dance group to perform its Annual Dance Concert and Pow Wow at the Theater for the New City in New York City.

Louis Mofsie, Photo ICTMN

The concert was a theater presentation where the troupe performs dances from the Inuit of Alaska, the Iroquois of New York, the Hopi and Yaqui of the Southwest and the Plains Indians of the Great Plains.

Thunderbird American Indian Dancers. Photo-website.

Plans are also underway for their annual Queens County Farm Museum Pow Wow at the end of July and their 50th anniversary pow wow at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York on April 20…ICTMN caught up with Mofsie before his big concert at the Theater for the New City as he reflected on his 50th year of entertaining and educating the audience about Native culture.

ICTMN: What are your thoughts on the 50th year of the founding of your dance troupe, Thunderbird American Indian Dancers?

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of our dance company is overwhelming. I guess 50 years ago when we first organized our group no one would have thought we would last that many years, least of all me.  It’s a credit to all those who have worked so hard over the years to help make it a reality.

Thunderbird American Indian Dancers. Photo-Long Island Newsday.

ICTMN: You are an MC, choreographer, dancer . . .  what is it you enjoy doing most?

The most enjoyment I get out of what I do is to make contact with the people in the audience and the people I’m working with. I try to make the experience an enjoyable one, as well as an educational one.

ICTMN: Why is educating non-Natives about Native culture important to you?

The Thunderbird American Indian Dancers Annual Dance Concert and Pow-Wow. Photo- Lee Wexler: NYCgo.com

Educating non-Natives about our culture has been a primary part of the mission statement of our group. Addressing stereotypes and explaining the disrespect they reflect on native people, as well as, other misunderstood cultures is vitally important. We do many school residencies here in the metropolitan area and reaching children at a young age is the best time to influence their perceptions…Part of our mission statement is also to preserve and perpetuate the songs and dances of various tribes. In some instances some of the dances we do are no longer performed. If we can preserve these dances and songs we feel we are helping to keep the culture alive.  All of our material is social music and dance. We do not do any dances or songs that have any ceremonial or religious significance.”

Be sure to read the article in its entirety and visit the Thunderbird Dancers website for Upcoming Events for Spring / Summer 2013!

Enjoy this You Tube video of the wonderful Thunderbird Native Dancers performing various dances with introductions by Louis Mofsie.

“I think my major accomplishment in life has been to feel proud of my Native heritage and to able to share what I have learned with both Native and non-Native people… for 35 years my emphasis has been on education.Helping people get a greater understanding of the richness and beauty of the Native people through music and dance.” ~Louis Mofsie~ Founder of The Thunderbird American Indian Dancers

Teachers will find free and Complete Lesson Plans with Answer Keys on the following U.S. tribes: Apache, Blackfeet, Cherokee, Choctaw, Crow, Iroquois, Kwakiutl, Mohawk (read about the fascinating “Sky Walkers”)  Navajo, Shawnee, Sioux, and Zuni.

We also offer our unique and informative Tribalpedia which offers concise historical and current material about many Native tribes.  Included are Discussion Questions for students.

Visit some of our readers’ favorite posts!  Many thanks.

 

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