A Newsletter for Kids from a Native American View

"Moonesquanimock Kesos" Algonquin
Month When Women Weed Corn

May 29, 1999 Issue 13, Volume 1

Quote of Week

"Our bare feet are conscious of the sympathetic touch of our ancestors as we walk over this earth."
Seattle, Duwamish

Chief Seattle

This week in NA History
Please visit this site for an update. At TURTLE TRACKS final printing, our source site was on "hold" due to a death in the webmaster's family.
TURTLE TRACKs staff and readers offer our condolences to Mr. Konstantin and his family during this very sad time.
THIS WEEK IN NORTH "AMERICAN INDIAN" HISTORY http://members.tripod.com/~PHILKON/index.html

Makah Renew Their Tradition

(By Garnet1654)

For the first time in over 70 years, the Makah of Neah Bay, Washington, are experiencing the taste of fresh whale meat. Early Monday, May 17, the whaling crew in a traditional, hand-carved canoe, killed a gray whale.

The Makah are traditionally whalers. Since the 1920s, however, their whaling traditions were banned by world governmental agencies; commercial whalers had hunted the gray whale to near extinction.

In 1994, when the gray whale was removed from the endangered species list, the Makah petitioned to resume whaling. In 1997, the International Whaling Commission granted the Makah a quota of up to 20 whales by the year 2004.

Cheers could be heard throughout the village when word was received of the kill.

"It was overwhelming," said Joddie Johnson, owner of the Makah Maiden restaurant. "I've been telling people that no words can express what's inside. Very full of pride, honor...respect of the whale for the warriors and the warrior'respect for the whale."

Over 50 people were needed to beach the whale, and by Monday night, hundreds of tribal members experienced their first taste of whale blubber. With a gum-like consistency, its taste was described as a combination of lamb stew, latex, and Vaseline.

The Makah whaling crew will distribute the whale's meat to the tribe's 2,200 members. In agreement with the Whaling Commission, the Makah may not kill another whale until each whale's meat is gone.

Prior to Monday's kill, Tulalip and Puyallup tribal members brought their canoes in support of the Makah.

"I can't say in words the respect we have for them, " said Tulalip crewman Jay Napeahi.

After spending three days butchering and curing the whale meat, the Makah will host a powwow. Members of tribes from all over the United States and Canada will join the Makah in celebration of this triumph.

To learn more about the Makah, visit this website:
The Makah Nation -- On the Olympic Peninsula

The Gift of the Whale
(Courtesy NACF Story Libraries on AOL. Keyword: Ethnicity)

When the Great Spirit created this land, he made many beautiful and good things. He made the sun and moon and stars. He made the wide land, white with snow, and the mountains and the ocean. He made fish of all kinds and the many birds. He made the seals and the walrus and the great bears. Then the Great Spirit made the Inupiaq. He had a special love for the people and showed them how to live, using everything around them.

Then, after making all this, the Great Spirit decided to make one thing more. This would be the best creation of all. The Great Spirit made this being with great care. It was the Bowhead Whale. It was, indeed, the most beautiful and the finest of the things made by the Great Spirit. As it swam, it flowed through the ocean. It sang as it went, and it was in perfect balance with everything around it.

But the Great Spirit saw something else. He saw that the Inupiaq people needed the Bowhead Whale. Without the whale, it would be hard for them to survive. They needed to eat muktuk, the flesh of the whale, to keep warm and healthy during the long, cold nights. They needed its bones to help build their homes. They needed every part of the great whale.

So the Great Spirit gave the Bowhead to the Inupiaq. He gave them a way to hunt it from their boats covered with walrus hide. He made a special time each spring, when the ice of the ocean would break apart to form a road where the whales would swim. In that whale road, the Open Lead, the whales would come to the surface and wait there to be struck by harpoons of the Inupiaq. They would continue to do so every year as long as the Inupiaq showed respect to the Bowhead, as long as the Inupiaq only took the few whales that they needed in order to survive.

But the Great Spirit decided this also. At that time each year when the Open Lead formed, when the whales came to the surface to be hunted, the Great Spirit made it so that a heavy cloud of thick mist would hang just above the ice, just above the heads of the whales and the Inupaiq. That thick mist would hang there between sea and sky. "Though I give you permission to kill my most perfect creation", the Great Spirit said, "I do not wish to watch it."

Learn about the Bowhead and other whales! Print-outs, math activities,
links to lots of neat places. PreK-3 kids. especially, will love this site!

Rocking with Indigenous
(By Garnet1654)

(Photo of Indigenous courtesy Pachyderm Records)

The blues-rock band Indigenous is bursting into the music scene in a big way. Their song "Now That You're Gone" recently hit number one on a Los Angeles radio station, and it is number eight on the rock chart in Radio & Records. They recently shared billing with Buffy St. Marie at a concert in Minneapolis.

Indigenous prefers earning a reputation for its music, not its heritage. But, says guitarist and singer, Mato Nanji, "We are Indian, and it's not going to change. If that's how people want to recognize us---'that's an Indian band'--that's fine, too. We're not ashamed of who we are."

Indigenous is a family affair. The four members grew up on the Yankton Reservation in South Dakota and were home schooled. They were heavily influenced by the music and politics of their late father, Greg Zephier, an activist in AIM and a member of the band called "The Vanishing Americans."

The group began playing music in their preteens and spent five years practicing before they performed in public. They have spent the last four years on the road.

Indigenous just made a video of their newest release, "Things We Do." The director of the movie "Smoke Signals" helped with the video. This summer the band will tour throughout the United States with the B.B. King Blues Festival.

Says Nanji, "It's an honor for us to get to open up for B.B. King, who is one of our heroes."

For tour schedule, sound clips, and lots more visit their website
Indigenous Rocks


As of 5/7/99

1. Ghost Dance Bill Miller (SOL Records)
2. Contact From The Underworld of Red Boy Robbie Robertson (Capitol)
3. Thinking About You Rita Coolidge (Ind.)
4. Summit Shouting Mountain (Rock Power)
5. Alligator Tales Chief Jim Billie (SOAR)
6. Weaving The Strands Various Artists (Red Feather)
7. Tribal Grind Wayquay (Global Beat)
8. A Native American Odyssey Various Artists (Putamayo)
9. Message From A Drum J. Hubert Francis/Eagle Feather (Blake)
10. Whitetail Singers Whitetail Singers (Ind.)

This chart was compiled from the top ten play lists of the following radio stations and programs;

AIROS "Native Sounds, Native Voices" (Lincoln, NE)
CHRW-FM "Smoke Signals" (London, Ontario)
Koahnic Broadcasting "Earthsongs" (Anchorage, AK)
KUVO "AlterNative Voices" (Denver, CO)
WYMS-FM "Voices From The Circle" (Milwaukee, WI)

Native American Music Awards & Association, Inc.
511 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 371, New York, NY 10011
(212) 228-8300 Fax (212) 228-8441 Email: Nammys @ aol.com