The Houston Inter-Ethnic Forum
The Houston Inter-Ethnic Forum is an organization devoted to bringing peace
to Houston by educating about and creating a respect for diversity. Houston
is fast becoming a town in which minorities are the majority; in fact. HIEF
predicts that by the year 2025, the Hispanic population will account for 40%,
with European American making up 35%, African Americans 17%, and Native
and Asian Americans, 8%. With such drastic differences in ethnicity, we
must all learn to live harmoniously with other cultures. Brandy Linnenkohl,
daughter of CCS Board member, Cindy Linnenkohl, is a member of HIEF's first
teen dialogue. This pilot council consists of approximately 10 to 12 high
school teens that represent the cultural diversity of Houston as closely as
possible. Brandy is representing the Cherokee Cultural Society. The goal
of this younger-than-usual group is to allow the veteran members of HIEF to
see and learn about racial problem areas and issues through a different
perspective - a teenager's. Prejudice usually develops in an individual when
they are still adolescents, so the HIEF teen dialogue is planning an event
that will create an occasion for teens to discuss issues on race relations.
They are calling this event the "Teen Summit" with the theme "Bringing
Harmony through the Celebration of Diversity". This summit will be a
mixture of cultural booths, entertainment, discussions, and motivational
speakers with an audience of students from all cultures around Harris
County. Hopefully the outcome will be teens that are a little more
educated, respectful, and curious about many cultures besides their own. We
must all learn to live with and learn about the many diverse faces of
Houston, and maybe by targeting the youth of this city, we can educate
people while their minds are a little more open, and create a brighter future for our town.
Seminole Burning: A Story of Racial Vengeance
Daniel F. Littlefield, Jr. ($26)
In 1898, a white woman was murdered and two Seminole teenagers - who were
innocent of the crime - were chained and burned alive. This book is a
detailed reconstruction of a specific violent event, with genealogies of the
families involved, maps of the area, and an analysis of Indian-white
relations. Placing the event in context with the national scene,
Llittlefield connects it to the federal governments efforts to dissolve land
titles of the Five Civilized Tribes and indeed to the establishing of the
state of Oklahoma. By 1897, there were nearly 300,000 European Americans
living in Indian Territory. After the Dawes Commission arrived, the
national press engaged in a propaganda war against the tribes and on behalf
of the Americans. Three years earlier, the Cherokees' Washington delegation
reported to their National Council that a subsidized press was working for
the dissolution of the Indian governments...and even the pulpit was against
the Indian. The federal government subverted the effective government of
the Indian nations by refusing to carry out its obligations to remove white
intruders until their numbers became so great and their behavior so
uncontrollable that they undermined all efforts to maintain order. The
Cherokees compared themselves to the Trojans: "It was the contents of the
wooden horse emptied inside the walls of Troy that enabled the Greeks to take
that ancient city." Books can be ordered through O'Brien's Bookstore, (918)
John Campbell is the contact person for the "Elders Council" in our area.
The original group formed in Oklahoma earlier this year, and we are anxious
to be a part of this important undertaking. If you are 55 or older and
would like to be a part of this group, please call John at 409-258-7366.
Red Nations Remembering
Our upcoming event on March 9 will be the focus of the next two meetings.
The committee members have organized a day of events to include our memorial
Moccasin Walk, an Indian Market, historical presentations, competitions,
games and more. Be sure to mark your calendar!
At the next meeting John Campbell will be instructing the men on how to make
and wear our native headdress - turbans. The women are holding sewing
marathons to create tear dresses to wear on that date.
Additionally, Jerry DeLeon will be organizing an exhibition PowWow as part
of the day's activities. We need help in promoting the event to local
media. If you would like to help in any capacity, please call Board member
Judith Bruni at 713-556-1908,
A committee is meeting to develop Cherokee teaching curriculum to offer to
elementary schools, not only in Houston, but other places in the US.
Attending the first committee were Joyce Kiev, Martha Sebastian, Janet
Peatross, Deborah Scott, and committee chair, Marjorie Low. If you would
like to be a part of "revisionist" history, contact Marjorie Low at
Flower and Herb Exchange
The Flower and Herb Exchange (annual US membership fee of $7, Canadian fee,
$10) SSE was founded in 1975 and has always focused on the preservation of
heirloom food crops, but many of SSE's members are also keeping old time
flowers and herbs that have been passed down from generation to generation
within their families. In 1990, SSE initiated a project called The Flower
and Herb Exchange (FHE), to facilitate the exchange of heirloom flowers and
herbs. FHE sends out one publication each year (February through May) which
has quickly grown into a 160-page book with 300 members and 2,000 listings,
FHE's members are recreating the garden landscapes of the past by
reintroducing many of the plants that bloomed in our grandparents gardens.
Gambler Way: Indian Gaming in Mythology, History, and Archaeology in North America
Kathryn Gabriel's new book examines Indian gaming myths on a continental
scale revealing that not only was gambling - in practice as well as
myth - common to nearly all of the indigenous peoples of North America, but
also that the games and stories were universally part of the sacred lore and
rituals of the tribes. Utilizing many obscure and little known sources, she
chronicles in great detail many of the gaming myths from various indigenous
people in North America and Mexico. Included are also comparisons between
the New World perception of gambling and those of the Greeks, Romans, and
ancient peoples of India. The result is a fascinating and unique look at
the way humans strive to comprehend the connections between divine intent
and chance. In an appendix, more recent ramifications of Indian gaming
traditions are explained in the context of the growth of Native American
casino developments. In the words of Tony Hillerman, "In Gambler Way,
Kathryn Gabriel relates her profound knowledge of gambling in the culture,
myth, and religion of American tribes to the current rise of casino gambling
on reservations across America. It is a valuable book for scholars and a
fascinating one for the rest of us."
Quilter tells stories with needle and thread
Vian - Her work of art is subtle yet obvious, heartbreaking yet inspirational, all of it coming together to tell many stories.
Some would say it is only a quilt, but for 70-year-old Gertrude Elmore, this
quilt of Native American history has been a part of her life for almost
It was almost three years ago when she began reading a book by former
Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Wilma Mankiller. From the book she received
a new understanding of the less-than-fair treatment of Native American
people received from white settlers.
Fighting back tears, Elmore says she didn't know about the injustices Native
American people lived with even though she and her husband have lived more
than 40 years among many Cherokee people in the Blackgum Community in
Sequoyah County, Oklahoma.
After finishing the book, she and her daughter began researching and looking
for items to incorporate into a quilt. The quilt would honor many Native
Americans and tell about some of their suffering and triumphs.
"I worked on the quilt off and on for three years and did a lot of research
on Indian history," she said. "I found out the way the Indian people were
treated was just horrible."
Much of the quilt is devoted to the Cherokees and the other Five Tribes
because she has spent most of her life in the Cherokee Nation.
The quilt won first place in competition at the Cherokee National Holiday
during Labor Day weekend.
On two of the five different panels on the quilt she lets her needle tell
the story of the Cherokee "Trail of Tears." One of the female characters on
the second panel of the quilt has her baby in a carrier as the Cherokee
people are rounded up for removal. In the next pane she is shown carrying
an empty carrier after the death of her baby on the journey to Indian Territory.
Elmore says she is now a student of Native American history and is always
reading and researching Oklahoma's many tribes.
On the 7-inch border of the quilt she has sewn the names of many great and
famous Native Americans from the past and present such as the famous
Cherokee humorist Will Rogers, the Sac and Fox athlete Jim Thorpe, and Chief
Joseph of the Nez Perce. In an instant she can provide a background on the
names, some of the things they said and did, and what made them great or famous.
On the back of the quilt, a series of maps depict Oklahoma in five different
eras. The maps also show the constant dwindling of land due to white
settlement during the 19th century.
One can spend much time finding all of the subtleties sewn into the quilt
and may find their way to a library to learn more about the people that are
a part of Elmore's work of art.
"There were so many things they didn't teach us in school," she said. "I'm
proud of what I learned making the quilt more than anything else."
Copyright © The Cherokee Cultural Society of