Manataka® American Indian Council



Proudly Presents



December 2010







Manataka receives hundreds of letters each month. Space does not allow us to publish all letters but we make a concerted effort to print letters that are representative of a majority. Let us know if there is a topic you feel needs to be addressed.


This Blanket Is For You...

Hello Manataka,

First - wonderful story at   I enjoyed it very much. Thank you for sharing it!


I've never answered questions about a story before, so I hope I am doing this correctly. Please forgive any blunders or disrespectful statements - I'm not sure how to do this .......  I have a question about the story - I didn't notice this at first. In the beginning of the story - where is the son's mother? The father did a fine job, but the story does not mention the mother. A father teaches some things, a mother teaches other things. A child needs both.


The father (who becomes the grandfather) teaches service, sharing, hospitality, loving others and putting others before oneself. He shows the lodge's needs and the family's needs are more important than one's own desires. 


Unfortunately the woman did not learn from his example. When he became too ill to care for his family (which was not his job), she should have taken care of him without complaint but with love, respect and gratitude for his many years of service and care for the family. Everything about her was so "out of balance" - I don't know where to begin ...... the grandson was lucky to have the grandfather with her for a mother. Unfortunately, she influenced her husband also -  or, rather, she wore him down. The wife either makes a man stronger, or tears him down - it is important to choose well, because it is a partnership.


Even at the end - the grandfather still shared his blanket with a woman who treated him so badly (unless I misunderstood that).  The middle generation caved to modern ways of thinking, and tried to convince the grandson to take his "useless" grandfather away. The grandson saw (Cante Ista) whose thinking was skewed - and stood up to his mother. It is a shame, as mothers should be respected. But if elders are disrespected - everything is out of balance ..... In this story, the grandson finally needed to set matters straight. 


Not all things from the past must be left behind. Through listening and prayer we can know what is right and what no longer is useful to walk with. Balance is key, and I do firmly believe that the woman is the heart(h) of the home and was created that way. Trying to change the way the Great Mystery designed us is foolish.  with respect, Kim Wilson


This Blanket Is For You...

Dear Manataka,


What I got from this story is that the other half of the blanket was for her because he wanted to remind her one day this could be her situation she would be in. On the other hand he still gave her the other half perhaps in sharing so that it would keep her warm. T hanks for a wonderful story. Look forward to seeing you guys in January , never been to Manataka before. Very excited to have found you. Look forward to helping out in th  medical tent, I’ve already put in for my vacation days so I can come 2 days early to help set-up for the powwow. Sincerely, Debra Burtrain


The Blanket Story Brings Tears

Hello Manataka,


Every month I read the Grandfather stories, but only one other has made me cry as this one did. I know we are supposed to 'live softly' but with such an accurate description of so many people  - Takers - it is disheartening. I know I missed some point about the grandson returning half the blanket, unless it was to show the Grandfather regardless of his place in life at any moment he is still a Giver.  Thank you for sharing your stories. Many times I will forward them to others to spread the enrichment of your lessons and life enrichment. 



This Blanket Is For You...

Greetings Manataka,


Thank you for this wonderful story lesson. I hope to learn from this.  Here is my take so far.

This woman's behavior angers me. I see people like this too much. To her I would say, "You reap what you sew, bitch. You should be honored not disgusted at this offer. By choosing disgust instead of the offer of warmth, love from Father's giving and now passing you will be reminded forever of your petty ways. Ask yourself, is that blanket really half gone? Or will it constantly remind you of your husband's wonderful Father? Would you give half what your selfless Father gave you? Well? Sweet dreams and no wonder your parents didn't take the horses, they were glad to be rid of you.." Too bad his son didn't figure it out sooner, hmmm....sometimes all the teaching in the world doesn't prepare you for the harshness of human nature.  And some people will never change. Am I too angry at the way elders are treated? I cherish the wisdom and the life stories of those much wiser than I. I can never learn enough from them.
Humbly yours. ~Chris Ambrose


Eliminate the BIA?

Dear Manataka,


With the new US Congress looking to make cuts to save money, how about eliminating the BIA?
It would save $1.7Billion a year. We American Indians can manage ourselves, and our Trust Funds can be electronically deposited into real bank accounts.  Let's push for the elimination of the BIA, and we Indians deal with the US Govt through the Dept of the Interior.  Just a thought.  Newt Love


Waging Peace, Not War

Hello Manataka,


Having just returned from a Veteran’s Day program at which veterans read letters written by veterans and family members, I am deeply saddened to hear that our government has recently agreed to extend the deadline for the war in Afghanistan. Now we face another three years of “the horror of war,” as described by many veterans who have lived it.

It is time for us to remember the words of General Dwight David Eisenhower, one of our own past Presidents:

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children….This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from an iron-cross.”

We as Americans need to seriously consider what steps we now need to take to end the appalling human cost of war and begin the challenging journey of waging Peace. Many of our own veterans are calling upon us to do this. One of these veterans is a young man named Captain Paul Chappell, a graduate of West Point and an Iraq veteran who has written a book called The End of War, which I would ask every caring American to consider reading. Having experienced war first-hand, Captain Chappell is travelling across the United States calling upon Americans to join him in waging Peace.

As an alumna of The National Peace Academy, I, too, am asking each person reading this letter to join millions of Americans who have had enough of war and are now waging Peace, Peace in our hearts, Peace in our families, Peace in our schools, Peace in our Communities, Peace in our Country, Peace on Earth. As we approach this Holiday Season of “Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men,” may each of us remember all our troops and the millions of civilians who are hanging from the “iron cross” of war. May we join hands to support each other in waging Peace, as we watch with saddened hearts our Mother Earth being torn and marred by the greedy hands of those who only seem to know how to grab. In truth, “They know not what they do.” ~Daniel Kinney



French and Indian War?

Osiyo Manataka:


I am asking everyone I know to strongly object to Chris Mathews racist remarks on "Hardball". While speaking about the Republican party having to control "Tea Partiers", he used the "French and Indian War" as a metaphor, by saying that the gentlemanly French had to deal with the "Wild Indians" who were out in the countryside scalping everyone. I have emailed him twice, mentioning facts about the "American Holocaust", historical trauma, crime rates, etc. There has been no response. It is very important that this word go out to Indian country and that as many people as possible must write and object. You can find contact information for Chris Mathews at:


What is so disturbing about this, is that for any other racial/ethnic group, Mr. Mathews would at least have to apologize, if not face suspension or being fired. The difference of course is colonialism. The relationship between the Native and the European-American is a brutal system of colonialism. In postcolonial studies they talk about the "image of the inferior savage other" as being the psychology of colonialism. This is why the "Doctrine of Discovery" and "Manifest Destiny" are the foundation of US Indian law and European-American history. The European-American defines himself as superior through a belief in the inferiority of the savage other. This is why we have racist rulings from the Supreme Court. This is why our people suffer the highest violent crime rate in the country, with 70% of the perpetrators being European-American. This is why our women suffer the highest rate of rape, with 90% of the perpetrators being European-American. Natives are the only racial/ethnic group where most of the violent crime is perpetrated by a member of another racial/ethnic group. The cause is colonialism. This is Mr. Mathews contribution to it.


I am suggesting that Mr. Mathews could make amends by first apologizing in a very public manner. Then I would suggest that he could respectfully request to have Chief Oren Lyons and Robert A. Williams, Jr. on his show to discuss the current condition of Native people and how that is related to the "Doctrine of Discovery", and current activities in the UN in regard to the "Doctrine of Discovery". I would also very strongly ask that Mr. Mathews read the "Doctrine of Discovery", so the American people can see that an extremely racist doctrine is the basis of Indian law in the US today. Chief Oren Lyons is a traditional Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan and a member of the Onondaga Nation Council of Chiefs of the Six Nations of the Iroquois, and is a professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Chief Lyons has been working with the UN in regard to how the "Doctrine of Discovery" has been used against Native people in the US. Robert A. Williams, Jr. is an American Indian attorney who has argued cases before the Supreme Court, and he is also a professor at the University of Arizona. Mr. Williams authored the book, "Like a Loaded Weapon" which discusses how the "Doctrine of Discovery" was used as precedent for the Marshall Trilogy, which has been used in nearly every American Indian case through the 20th century and up until the present time. Robert A. Williams, Jr. is Lumbee.  Wado  ~Richard Wilson


Buy Silver and Food Now

Dear Manataka:


Will tomorrow be a tipping point?  We hope so and here is how you can make a difference now. Buy some silver. At least one ounce. Do you know a silver dime is worth $1.80 now? If you want to buy some you should while you can. Shortages are already starting. For twenty bucks you can get some dimes that will be money soon because the paper is going going going. Watch this video:

What else can you do? I have discovered that canning is easy and one can put up a lot of food this way. Get good organics and can them. The jars are still pretty cheap, and the initial start up is a good bit, but in the long run you can use them over and over again and get pounds of food stored NOW~! Between an extra freezer and doing some canning as well as bulk food storage in a seal-a-meal, people can prepare easily for long term now before these prices really hit hard and that they will do soon. Let us pray for a nation that has no idea what is about to hit it. They are addicted to the drugs TV, beer, football, and fluoride and suffer from mind control. God bless us and help us all. ~ JM Workman


The Real Story of Thanksgiving

Hello Manataka,


I am 54 years old and finally understanding the real story of Thanksgiving.  I now try to find a way to offer my most humble appreciation to honor the true history and decry the criminal acts against humanity that were put upon Native American Indians.  It is unbearable but healing to learn and honor the truth.

I live in Minneapolis and I am finding it difficult to learn of the truth in this area of what must of happened.   I find it to be a very cold and spiritually black area of the country.  I decided it must have to do with what happened here.   I did live in Atlanta for 12 years and found it to be a lovely spiritual place.

When I realized the base of people coming here from England are truly fundamentalist it is no surprise as you describe them that we are actually living with this same aberration of belief from very uninformed people still to this day. The Evangelical right wing..."Armageddonists"!  Yikes.

All I can do to try to honor Native Americans, as I understand it now, is what I have tried to do for a very long time...avoid religion, find spirituality from nature and respect nature as a loving and sharing person.  Just as in agreement from your quote spoken by a Native American from the Wampanoag..."today we work toward a better America, a more Indian America where people and nature once again are important."  I will look through your references to read and learn more.  Thank you very much for your well written and researched truth. ~Amy Lambert. Minneapolis, Minnesota



Thanks My Family is Safe

Hi Manataka,

Every thing you write make sense.  I like history a lot plus every time I celebrate a festivity, I like to know the reason why we celebrate. I'm not American, but back in the days my people were abused by colonist too and I don't think it is a reason to celebrate. I live here in America and after this article my Thanksgiving is gonna be different. Next time I'm gonna thank God that my family is safe no like those poor American Indians families that  got kill in there own land.  ~Cindy Lanney


Looking for the Spirit Bear

Good morning Manataka,

I am interested in getting more information on what I can do, who i should contact, to show my support for the spirit bear and its natural habitat. I would like to express my great concern about the oil company's attempt to move in-run thru the forest and I would like to remind whoever says that there shouldn't be a problem if there is a spill of the recent events with BP, just one of the many unfortunate and unnecessary effects of man on the earth and its other valuable living creatures. Thank you!  ~Eryn Johnson


The Custer Battle Flag

Dear Manataka,


The $5 million for selling the Custer flag should be donated to helping out Native Americans, particularly those who are in poverty with Caucasian diseases and freeze to death on reservations because they cannot afford to buy space heaters.  By doing this, it would be a minuscule contribution for all of the indigenous people in the United States that Custer murdered.  Don't you think?  Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument  Sothbeys ~ Donald L. Vasicek, Olympus Films, LLC

Tanning Deer Hides

Dear Manataka,


I really appreciate your guide to tanning deer hides.  I grew up watching my Grandfather tan hides with the brains but I didn't pay much attention to the entire process, I just know they all came out perfect.  Now that my sons and I have began hunting, we too are gracious and thankful to the animals that give their lives to the health and well being of our family and want to use every part of the animal.  I tell many people the same thing you wrote at the top of this page-about modern day "hunters" and their high tech supplies, lures, tools and practices.  That is NOT hunting, it is sickening.  I am proud of my four sons for their patience.  Many times we have walked out of the woods with what we walked in with, and they know that this is ok, and they know if we used scopes, tree stands, lure, baited and all the other things a lot of the proud hunters use these days, they know it would not be hunting, and it would eventually become cheapened and not special. I do so appreciate these instructions, they have brought back memories of my childhood which helps me remember what my Grandfather tried to get me to learn. ~Daniel Greene, Boone, North Carolina


Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson

Dear Manataka,


Albert Bender has written a withering article about Andrew Jackson.  It is close to harrowing. ~Joe Pickering Jr.


Nice Job Manataka

Happy Holidays Manataka,

Thanks for the great Native network as you do a very nice job at keeping us informed and we thank you. ~Chipa and Ruby Wolfe,

Rolling Thunder Enterprises


Teaching by Grandfather Robert Coke

Dear Manataka.


I think Elder Robert Coke was correct. It is more important to see, and the boy was learning that looks can deceive. ~Bryant J. Cochran, Jr., Deputy Assessor, Pulaski County, AR


Manataka Stories

Dear Editor,


I found your articles very well written. I know that your people suffered greatly with the arrival of the Europeans.   Sadly, what happened is very much apart of  human nature.  In the beginning the two groups needed each other. Some individuals really tired to understand each others culture.  There are many things in Indian culture that is both wise and true. In fact, many of the traditions where more Christ like than what the pilgrim's practiced.  Often times they (pilgrims) did not treat you with respect. Fear, mistrust, and group mentality  ran rapid. Some of  what happened was miss guided zeal. (as a Christian, I am understand the zeal of the Christians to change your faith. However, how it was done was not Christ like.  What happened in the name of religion was not excusable.  What happen to your people was tragic.)


Having that been said, I was impressed on how well your articles expressed both sides. I hope that you are able to look at this holiday and truly feel the essence of its meaning. That for a brief moment in time, two cultures where able to co-exist. To help each other survive.  


What to do with this holiday really is a struggle. Perhaps this will help. The purpose of studying history is to learn from it.  What good happened. What bad happened. What can we do to glean from the good. What lessons can we learn that will make us better humans?  How can one express ones faith in a manor that honors God (sorry- I know that you do not believe in my God, but to honor Him and be true to myself, I must express Him in that manor) yet respects other people.  How can we as humans,  see the value in others, in their culture. How can we learn to take the best other cultures have so that we can be better humans. Again, I am not meaning to tell you how to teach. But to encourage you and try to help you with your pain. Anyway's, Blessings ~ Vic


Crazy Coyote Hides

Hi Manataka,


Not long ago I ordered some hides from the Crazy Coyote link at your site - I wanted to share with your site what they look like now. Here are some pictures of paintings I did. Thank you for helping me to chose the best hides for the art project. Kim Kahl