Cherokee Messenger
December 1999

Start The Millennium With CCS!

Next Monthly Meeting: Thursday, January 6, 2000, 7:00 p.m. social gathering and 7:30 p.m. program, at the Tracy Gee Community Center, 3599 Westcenter, one block south of Richmond, east of the Sam Houston Tollway West Belt. Guests are most welcome and always eligible for the door prize awarded that night. This month we have a "Community Planning Kick-off for the Annual Red Nations Remembering", set for a March, 2000 weekend in northwest Houston. Be "in" on the ground floor of this exciting project!

Other Events & Projects

As with all pow wows and other events, double check before making travel plans; events may change unexpectedly.

Language Classes

CCS Past President Victor Carroll has generously offered to begin conducting Cherokee Language Classes starting in May or June, 2000 at his home. There would be no charge. Class members would need only a notebook, pen or pencil and dedication to learning the language. There needs to be seven pupils per class who would meet twice each week for an hour or hour and a half, for eight weeks, to study the syllabary and their study methods. Victor says that if the first class goes well and interest continues, plans can be made for additional classes at higher levels of study. Final plans will be announced at the CCS meeting in March, 2000. Let Victor know your intentions: phone 713-455-8705 or e-mail

Language Corner:

our monthly sample of Cherokee vocabulary

Excerpts from the website

(English alphabet only shown here)

Black ... gv-na-ge-i
Blue ... sa-go-ni-ge-i
Brown ... u-wo-di-ge
Green ... i-tse-i-yu-s-di
Gray ... u-s-go-lv sa-go-ni-ge
Gold ... da-lo-ni-ge-i
Orange ... a-sa-lo-ni-ge
Pink ... gi-ga-ge-i-yu-s-di
Purple ... gi-ge-s-di
Red ... gi-ga-ge
Silver ... a-de-lv u-ne-gv
White ... u-ne-ga
Yellow ... da-lo-ni-ge

Poetry Corner

A Puzzle of Our Own
by Vicki Henrichs
They are laughing at us!
     Weeds in a well schemed garden?
     Night slugs eating prime vegetation?

No-it's the ancestors:
     Watching our neurons turning wrong-side out,
     Our tongues faltering over the simplest words.

Yes, Words!
     Words that should have been ours.
     Words, like skin that should belong to us,
     Without shame felt or excuses forged,
     Free of life-wasting struggle.
Words of our language, lost to suppression,
     Trampled by ridicule, silenced by "guilt",
     Conquered by "law".

Now we squirm in alien struggle to pronounce these
     Words of our ancestors,
     Utterances they wore like their own skin,
     That flowed through their lives
     Like blood of their very own.

Yes, they must be laughing
As their children try to claim
What is really ours,
As if picking up broken toys,
Fractured by bullies of time.

Our generation now pays the toll
     For storing lost language too long.

Some day it may flow like our own blood,
That we may wear it like skin
That really belongs to us.

Copyright 1997 Vicki Henrichs

Web Gems

New Calendar Of Events Source

Richard Sockey, Events Coordinator for the American Indian Resource Center of Southeast Texas, tells of a new service provided by their organization. They are creating a database of scheduled events and public meetings for the local American Indian tribes and organizations. Please contact him with details of any related event to be posted at their website.

Richard Sockey
8710 Fondren Road, #103
Houston, TX 77074
Phone 713-988-2602 (call before fax)

What A Day For CCS!

Native American Heritage Day on November 27, 1999 at the Houston Museum of Natural Science was a roaring success. Post-Thanksgiving museum visitors were enormous in numbers and varied in nationality, age and interests. The hall on the main level buzzed with throngs of enthusiastic visitors eager to learn our Native crafts, play our Cherokee games, try Cherokee language phases, watch Native dancers with their exciting costumes, or simply relax with the Native flute concert and Gayle Ross' storytelling. Dedicated visitors to the language demonstrations were fascinated, as children and adults carefully tried their hands at the syllabary and copied souvenir phrases. Mike Breteler and his mother, plus Victor Carroll, Margaret Himes, Judith Bruni and Vicki Henrichs were among those assisting with the language segments. Mike remained busy translating given names into Cherokee. Joe Williams, Jim Gravino and Mark Bruni kept novices busy with butter bean games.

Cindy Linnenkohl, Barbra Callihan and Donna Allen were in a wild vortex of eager basket weavers, under the spectacular site of Charlie Strack's monumental eagle sculpture (which has grown in size lately). An abundance of visitors wanted to know more about Cherokees in general and our organization in particular. New members were paying dues on the spot!

During breaks from volunteer shifts and visits to other museum halls, we saw dozens of people of all ages, both genders, visitors and staff alike, engrossed in the baskets they started at the CCS corner. Next time someone has only negative comments about youth, tell them about groups of teen boys sitting around the museum weaving Cherokee baskets! (Imagine that in a gang war in the hood.) Other museum volunteers smiled over stories of young enthusiasts wanting to bag up and take home the Native corn they learned to grind. More plastic baggies, anyone?

Special thanks to Dawn Westerman, Terry Thompson, Nicole Munson and Patti Davis for their help in pre-constructing baskets for this event. Much help came from Cindy Linnenkohl, Barbra Callihan and Donna Allen of the Women's Shawl Society during the swirl of activity at the museum. The task of forming the base for the demonstration baskets is very time consuming and a little messy, but dozens of baskets were needed for this project.

All the active CCS members contributed enormously valuable energy and time. We thank each one and hope we didn't miss anyone in this list! Our sincere apologies if we did. CCS President Judith Bruni and Dr. Dorothy Lippert, Education Coordinator of the Hall of the Americas, did a superb job of planning and follow through. We had great practice for an encore next year and a solid warm-up for Red Nations Remembering in March!

Note to Houston area members: Maxed out over Millennium Madness? Want to learn basket weaving? The idea has been mentioned to dedicate a meeting to learning the craft. We can always use more busy hands to pre-construct baskets to teach others at community events. Let these CCS Board know you are interested: Judith Bruni, e-mail; Barbra "BJ" Callihan, phone 713-541-4170; or Cindy Linnenkohl, e-mail

Have Speakers Bureau, Will Travel

Part of the lifeblood of any organization is spreading the word in the community - who we are, what we do and why we make a difference. Deborah Scott and Barbra Callihan are setting up a CCS Speakers Bureau to visit additional schools, civic groups and other community sites. We will keep you posted on progress as it develops. In the meantime, let Barbra Callihan, 713-541-4170, know you are willing to help!

Saying "Yes" To CCS

Thanks to the ongoing efforts of Judith Bruni, CCS recently received a grant of $1,000 from IBM for use in such projects as planning and implementing our annual Red Nations Remembering. It is hoped that some of the funds also can help pay for displays at community fairs and events to help publicize CCS. Great job, Judith!

Membership Bulletin

Good news from CCS Membership Coordinator, Terry Thompson - he is on the mend after surgery #3, this time for hip joint replacement, and seeing noticeable progress! While at home Terry has worked on the CCS membership roster to correct many moons of mistakes and neglect. "I now have every scrap of paper regarding membership filed in a folder and entered into the computer program," says Terry. "I think we've got it straightened out now."

The rest of us get to help too!
Everyone, please check the address label on the snail mail panel of your newsletter to find your dues renewal date. It's time we all pay those dues and keep our memberships current. We need everyone as members, and our dues help keep us informed. Cindy Linnenkohl, our dedicated CCS Treasurer, e-mail, will gladly take your annual payment. It's still a bargain at $20 per year!

Support CCS

The purpose of the Cherokee Cultural Society of Houston is to build community, to preserve Cherokee heritage, to perpetuate the Cherokee culture, and to build the future of our people. Annual membership dues are $20.00 per person and include a hardcopy newsletter subscription. Thank you for your support of CCS! The Cherokee Messenger, a monthly publication of the Cherokee Cultural Society of Houston, welcomes news articles, family histories, poetry, and other items of interest concerning Cherokee culture. Inclusion is based on space available and is subject to editing.

Mail to:
The Cherokee Cultural Society of Houston
P.O. Box 23187
Houston, TX 77228-3187

or e-mail by the 5th of the month prior to publication the first of the following month.

Copyright © The Cherokee Cultural Society of Houston