Cherokee Messenger
June 1996

Next Monthly Meeting

Thursday, June 6, 1996
7:00 Social hour and 7:30 Program and Presentation
Tracy Gee Community Center
3599 Westcenter, Houston TX
(713) 266-8193

Our June meeting will feature an evening of fun, learning and participation. Board members, Joe Williams and Jimmy Melton, will lead the group in learning about Cherokee weaponry and games. We will not only be hearing, but also doing. Please put this meeting on your calendar.

Greetings from Wilma Mankiller

To members of the Cherokee Cultural Society

Thanks so much for your expression of good wishes. The love and support has been pouring in which has made it impossible for me to respond personally, but I wanted you to know how very grateful I am to hear from you. I appreciate your continued prayers and friendship. Wado! Wilma

Cherokee: The Fire Takers, Images of a Living Culture

The Cherokee National Historical Society and The Cherokee National Museum are pleased to announce the opening of Cherokee: The Fire Takers, Images of a Living Culture.

This exhibition of 23 living Cherokee artists has been curated in the spirit of education. It shares with the viewer a representative sampling of what our art practice is today. Originally we had no word for "art". There was no separation between art and craft. All people created things for themselves, the family, the community, the earth, and the universe. All things made were imbued with spirit and vision. The creative process allowed us to participate in an artistic continuum which demonstrated creative invention. Each artist in the exhibition demonstrates his or her ideas of inventiveness which offer unique insight into the social, spiritual, political and artistic concerns of Cherokee artists who are creating new visions.

All the artists are citizens of the Cherokee Nation. Some of the artist are self-taught, others have learned techniques from Elders, and many times, work with more traditional forms. There are also those who have studied in art schools or universities. It is the presence and combination of all of these approaches that provides the viewer with a sense of what artmaking is for...our living culture today.

The exhibit is on display at the Cherokee National Museum and will be open from May 11 to Labor Day Weekend, 1996.

Red Nations Remembering

The Cherokees of California and the Cherokee Cultural Society of Houston are working together to plan an event to mark the historical events of the Trail of Tears. Red Nations Remembering is scheduled for the second Sunday in March, and will be a day for family activities, sharing stories, saying prayers, and remembering. It was during this time, in 1839, that the final group of Cherokees arrived in Indian Territory and began the task of restructuring their lives and communities.

The great losses incurred during the Removal should become a part of the story ritual we share with our children, and even though it is more important to look forward than to look back, we should never forget the sacrifices of our ancestors.

This first day of remembering will hopefully start a tradition that can be shared with other groups and nations as we each mark our people's history.

The Cherokee Cultural Society got so excited about the project that they decided to start activities in October, commemorating the beginning of the Removal. At each meeting from October to March, we will plan an activity that will tie the past to the present.

If you have ideas or suggestions, or would like to be a part of the Planning Committee, please call (713) 668-9998.

American Indians With Disabilities Needed

In 1993, the American Indian Rehabilitation Research and Training Center, working with the Texas Rehabilitation Commission and the Inter-Tribal Council of Houston (ITCH), conducted a survey of 155 American Indians with disabilities in the Houston metropolitan area to find out what their needs were, and what issues concerned them most. At the conclusion of the study, on September 17, 1993 a community meeting was held in Hermann Park to present the results. The study concluded that "Self-awareness of the Native American community in the Houston metropolitan area is a major factor in the delivery of effective services" to Native Americans with disabilities in the metro area.

Several recommendations were made:

The American Indian Rehabilitation Research and Training Center, in collaboration with the Texas Rehabilitation Commission and several American Indian organizations in Houston do not want the efforts of all those who participated in the 1993 survey to be wasted. We do not want the study to "sit on the shelf collecting dust." We want to find out what actions, if any, have been taken to implement the recommendations of the study, whether at ITCH or elsewhere. We also want to find out whether these are still the primary needs of American Indians with disabilities in the Houston metro area, or if other needs are now more important, and what can be done about those needs.

You can help us to identify American Indians who have been living with disabilities in Houston since early 1993, who might be willing to be interviewed for this project. People we interview will be paid $20 for their time (Unfortunately, however, we cannot pay cash on the spot.). Please contact us if you can help!

Robert M. Schacht
American Indian Rehabilitation Research and Training Center
Northern Arizona University
Flagstaff, AZ 86011-5630

Native American Focus Group

On Friday, April 26, a group of five Native Americans gathered at the Houston Area Women's Center to participate in a focus group sponsored by the United Way. The purpose of the meeting was to identify areas of need specifically for urban Indians living in and around Houston. The meeting was lively and productive, and ended with three identified problems: 1) we have no way to find Indian people living in this area, 2) we would be more likely to use the services if we new more about them, or knew someone working within an agency, and 3) there needs to be cultural diversity training for both employers and employees to help people find and keep jobs.

This information will be included in the United Way Needs Assessment report and community-wide assessment. We hope, in the future, to be a part of the problem resolution as well as the problem identification.

Our thanks to the United Way for giving us an opportunity to share our concerns with them.

Cherokee Language Lesson

osiyo aniyvwiya
Hello original people!

My name is Richard Francis, uwenai awohali w aya

I have been asked to write a language column for the newsletter. Since we also have many new readers I will begin at the beginning.

It is my intent that the column be somewhat interactive. By this, I mean that I will give you things to do to enhance your learning. For example - as we learn new words there will be space beside them to write the words in the syllabary. In this way you begin to learn to write the language and read it and learn the words of the language all at the same time. This is not the overwhelming task it may seem to be. We will take small bites and review from time to time. Before you know it, you will be reading and writing simple sentences in the language and then more complicated ones. Learning to speak the language will also become easier because of the vocabulary you will pick up.

Grammatical Rules: Keep these in mind when pronouncing words.

  • An apostrophe (' ) means that the syllable is accented.
  • A question mark (?) between the syllables of a word indicates a pause called a glottal stop. This means that you stop dead momentarily between these syllables, then go on, as in the English word "O.K."
  • A colon (:) after a vowel means that the vowel sound is held longer than usual.

    You will need a copy of the syllabary to fully benefit from the lessons.

    Let's begin with counting. Use the syllabary chart to fill in the blanks. The first one is done to illustrate.

    One _______________ sa' quu i

    Two _______________ ta? li

    Three _______________ tso: i'

    Four _______________ nv: gi'

    Five _______________ hi: s gi'

    No promises, but I will try to get together with some of the elders and/or other speakers to make some audio tapes. Remember that no task is great enough to defeat the will of a Cherokee, so said my grandmother.

    Cherokee Cultural Society Membership Cards

    If you are an active member of CCS, your membership card should have been included with this month's newsletter. The date on the mailing label indicates when your dues are due. To get current, please send dues to CCS, PO Box 1506, Bellaire TX 77402-1506. Many thanks.

    We're All Raffle Winners

    Last month, we had a raffle for a $100 gift certificate to Billing's Jewelry. We would like to thank Dennis Billings for his help in this great gift. The winner of the raffle, Bill Turk, Secretary and CCS Board Member, turned around and raffled off the certificate to Judith Bruni. Bill won, Judith won, and most of all, CCS won by adding several hundred dollars to our treasury!

    Copyright © The Cherokee Cultural Society of Houston