Canku Ota

(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America

November 4, 2000 - Issue 22

Did You Know?

Did you know that one in every 130 people living in the U.S. today is a Native American?

  Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado is a Native American and Senator Daniel Akaka is a Native Hawaiian.  

What do the countries of Paraguay, Bolivia and Peru have in common? They all have a Native American language as an official language, in addition to Spanish.

  During World War II, the Japanese army could not break the "secret code" of the U.S. Military. The "secret code" was simply a group of Native American volunteers speaking their Native American language on their field radios!  

Did you know that the names of over half of the states in the USA came from Native American languages? For example, "Utah" is the Ute tribe's name for themselves in their language - "Oklahoma" means "red people" or "home of the red people" in the Choctaw language - "Kentucky" means "planted field" in the Iroquois language.

  Washington DC, our nation's capital, is built on the banks of a river called the "Potomac," which is a Native American word for "where the goods are brought in." "Miami," "Cuba" and "Chicago" are a few more examples of the many familiar names that are derived from Native American words.  

Since Christopher Columbus had never seen anyone smoking before, he was very surprised to observe "Indians" holding "burning leaves" in their mouths. The "Indians" called these strange things "tobacos."

  Native Americans used pine sap to help heal cuts, and they found that witch hazel tea was a good remedy for sprains and bruises.  

" Squash" comes from a Native American word, "isquoutersquash," which means "green thing eaten green."

  "Barbecue" also comes from a Native American word.  

In prehistoric times, Native Americans had developed a process by which dried cactus-eating insects could be turned into red dye called cochineal. This "Indian" dye, one of the most important exports from the New World in the late 16th century and highly valued by the European cloth industry for hundreds of years, was used to dye the red British uniforms in the Revolutionary War.

  In 1896, the head of the Board of Indian Commissioners said, "To bring the Indian out of savagery and into citizenship we must make him more intelligently selfish. A desire for property . . . is needed to get the Indian out of the blanket and into trousers - and trousers with a pocket in them, and with a pocket that aches to be filled with dollars."  

The word "caucus" means "council member" in Algonquian.

  Cotton Cloth was invented by Native Americans.  

Benjamin Franklin was advised in 1744 to unite the colonies in a confederacy by Chief Cannassatatego.

  Thomas Paine had to learn the Iroquois language when he traveled abroad in 1774 to study democracy.  

On Sept 16, 1987 the US Senate passed a resolution stating that the US Constitution was explicitly modeled upon the Iroquois Confederacy.



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