Canku Ota logo

Canku Ota

Canku Ota logo

(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


October 20, 2001 - Issue 47


pictograph divider


 American Indian Millennium's Letter Writing Campaign

Dear Friends,

Imagine if, around the turn of the last century, Native leaders, spirit keepers, educators, healers, and experienced elders assembled to send a message to the future. What stories would they have told us about their lives? What testimony would they have shared? What aspirations and admonitions would they have offered? "American Indian Millennium: Renewing Our Ways of Life for Future Generations" is an opportunity for you to speak to the future generations. In the words of Jim Dumont, Anishnabe and opening speaker to the forum. "Write a letter to your great grandchild seven generations from now. What will the future generations have because of what you are going to do in the present?"

We invite you to participate by letter to this major American Indian conference featuring several dozen prominent scholars and tribal culture-bearers, including former Cherokee chief, Wilma Mankiller, Blackfeet language educator, Darryl Kipp, and Seneca historian John Mohawk. The Forum will be sponsored by Cornell's American Indian Program this fall from November 29 to December 2, 2001. Dozens of Native American leaders, educators, youth, culture bearers, community members and national organizations will participate in the intergenerational forum.

The conference is the result of planning and discussions by a council of Native advisors convened by LifeWay, Cornell's Akwe:kon Press/Native Americas Journal, and Indian Country Today. The forum, "American Indian Millennium: Renewing Our Ways of Life for Future Generations," will examine the trends and challenges facing Native communities in the 21st century, according to Dagmar Thorpe, Sac and Fox, director of LifeWay and originator of the conference concept.

In your letters, communicate the future to our children, families, communities, and nations. What is it you wish the seventh generation to consider in its understanding of who we are? What are the values they must hold dear? What rights are insoluble and must never be relinquished? How should they behave toward one another? What fears, hopes, successes, and failures, do they have and want to share with the seventh generation? What would the seventh generation think about those of us who sent them this message from the year 2001?

As we move forward with preparations to host the American Indian Millennium Conference, we are struck with the enormity of the ramifications brought on by the tragic events of September 11th. It becomes obvious that the themes of our conference are refocused in a new and significant way.

As many have stated, the world will not ever be the same. Anger and the call to violent retribution are prevalent emotions. Many of our own elders spoke of a time such as this, when bitter enemies unleash a conflict so catastrophic that even nature reacts. America prepares for war at a moment in history that is perhaps fraught with the greatest danger ever presented to a generation. We wonder what this historical juncture portends for our own Native communities. What meaning can and will our cultures give to this time in history? How do you think this new reality folds into our planned discussion?

Indian Country Today, the national weekly newspaper, has undertaken a comprehensive coverage and response to what the events of September 11 mean to Native peoples. In collaboration with Native Americas
Journal and with the organization of the Millennium Conference, they, and we, invite all of you to join us in an initiative to explore the meaning of these events to Native people. We believe the Native peoples needs your best thinking at this moment in history.

Please mail or fax your letters and/or statements to:

"American Indian Millennium"
c/o Akwe:kon Press
Cornell University
450 Caldwell Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
Fax: (607) 255- 0185

Or, email them to and participate in this crucial message to the seventh generation. A special issue of Native Americas Journal will feature the forum. The project will also produce a curriculum for tribal colleges, Native schools, and programs. We will choose a selection of letters to be published in Native Americas Journal; and will send to those that submit entries the published account of the journal. All of your messages will be posted on and/or websites.

We are planning to broadcast this conference via web the week after the event.

If you are an educational institution and are interested to learn more information, email us at

Please join us.

Jose Barreiro, Dagmar Thorpe, Tim Johnson

José Barreiro, Associate Director of American Indian Program at Cornell
Dagmar Thorpe, Executive Director of LifeWay
Tim Johnson, Executive Editor of Indian Country Today

pictograph divider



pictograph divider

  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.


Canku Ota logo


Canku Ota logo

The "Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America" web site and its design is the

Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001 of Paul C. Barry.

All Rights Reserved.