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New Web Site:

During a retreat In March the Elder Council decided to install all new upgraded software and build an entirely new website from ground up -- over 2,640 web pages and nearly 10,000 printed pages.  The new website will be accessible by mobile devises and it will have a state-of-the-art shopping experience in the Manataka Trading Post and added security features. This task will take many weeks to complete but the result will enhance the Manataka experience for everyone.   In the meantime, the Smoke Signal will be small.


Volunteers needed to copy and paste web pages into WordPress.  Call 501-627-0555




Holiday Reprint


American Indian Christmas

By Floyd Looks for Buffalo Hand


Floyd Looks for Buffalo Hand

The holiday we call Christmas has evolved into the biggest celebration in the world. Roman Catholics and Protestants celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25. Many Orthodox Christians use the Julian calendar, which places Christmas around January 6.


Christmas was first added to the Roman Catholic Church calendar as a religious feast day in the fourth century A.D. But Christmas is not the only celebration held around this time of year. December 25 was a significant date for various early cultures. The ancient Babylonians believed the son of the queen of heaven was born on December 25. The Egyptians celebrated the birth of the son of the fertility goddess Isis on the same date, while ancient Arabs contended that the moon was born on December 24. The Romans celebrated Saturnalia, a feast named for Saturn, god of agriculture, on December 21.

Before European contact, the Indian tribes of North America did not celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, since they hadn't heard of him. However, many of the American Indian people of North America have been Christianized for several hundred years. Over this time, customs which were introduced to them by the missionaries, have become adapted to the native cultures, and are an integral part of their Christmas traditions today, just as they are in most American homes.  READ MORE...




In the Spirit of Our Ancestors
By Ruth Hopkins


What does it mean to be an American Indian? For some, the answer is simple: one is American Indian if they possess a specific degree of Indian blood. This standard definition originates in the federal government’s enactment of blood quantum law. Under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, the U.S. government used blood quantum, the degree of Indian blood a given individual possessed, to establish not only who was American Indian, but who was eligible for benefits under treaty law.


Since then, Tribes have modified rules of membership under their inherent powers as sovereign nations. While degree of blood required for enrollment by Tribe may vary, the majority of Tribes still adhere to some form of blood quantum law. READ MORE...






Spirit Hawk Eye: A Tribute to American Native Culture

By Toyacoyah Brown



Heidi Laughton has always had a fascination with world culture and has used this inspiration in many of her photography projects.  After spending time on projects in China and Kenya, Laughton is now turning her attention to Native American culture.  Her latest exhibit, “Spirit Hawk Eye: A Tribute to American Native Culture” features portraits of Native people from tribes in New Mexico, Arizona and California.


Laughton told The Navajo Times that she’s seen a lot of photojournalism stories about the issues facing Native American culture and she didn’t want to focus on that. Rather, she wanted to create something that was positive and celebrates the cultures.


Laughton’s background includes a successful career in creative services, commissioning and overseeing music video shoots, documentaries and web content, for world-renowned recording artists at Sony Music UK. She has worked as a professional photographer, shooting and writing for magazines, advertising campaigns and working for non-profits. Her advertising and editorial clients include such prestigious names as Fortune (Time Inc.), Enterprise Holdings, Forty Forty Advertising Agency, Cannonball Advertising, American Red Cross, Save The Children (China), Kisumu Medical and Educational Trust (Kenya), Keen Footwear, Israeli consulate, EMI music and Official Playstation Magazine. In 2008, she also curated and produced a three-day juried event of photographers from around the world “Fresh Photo Fair” on behalf of the Lucie Foundation and last year she was a judge at PX3, Paris Photo Prize.  READ MORE...






The Political Wit and Wisdom of Will Rogers

by Steve Russell


Will Rogers, the Paint Clan Cherokee cowboy turned entertainer turned political pundit, used to say he did not make jokes. “I just watch the government and report the facts.” Like any intelligent man, he could be viewed as a bundle of contradictions, but most of his contradictions came from wearing his heart on his sleeve.


From at least 1916, when he first performed before the reputedly dour and humorless president, Woodrow Wilson, nobody was safe from his barbs. Before that performance, his political comments had been topical humor pulled out of that day’s newspapers. Having the president in the audience, for Rogers, took topical comedy to another level, bordering on what he never felt comfortable with: personal attack.


Characteristically, he started with the truth: “I am kinder nervous here tonight.” (Writing years later, he admitted, “that is not an especially bright remark…but it was so apparent to the audience that I was speaking the truth that they laughed heartily at it.”)  READ MORE...



Holiday Reprint



American Indian Christmas Customs

© 1999-2003 by Maria Hubert. All rights reserved



Many of the AmerIndian peoples have been Christianized for several hundred years. Over this time customs which were introduced to them by the missionaries have become adapted and are an integral part of the traditions, especially around the Christian festivals of Easter and Christmas.


Many Tribes, including the Laguna Indians, who accepted Christianity some 400 years ago, have the custom of a dance on Christmas Eve, where gifts are offered at the Manger. There are many examples of representations of the Christmas Crib where the glad tidings are brought to braves in the fields by the great Thunderbird; or scenes with the wise men being replaced by the chiefs representing the great Nations.  READ MORE...



White Buffalo Born in Montana


A beautiful white bull bison was born in October 13, 2013 under a full moon in Montana.  The owner’s named the calf “Full Moon Rising”.  Genetically, the calf is 100 percent pure bison with no cattle genes.  Photo and information submitted by Tom Robertson, Jr.  

Read the White Buffalo Legends:



Holiday Reprint


Christmas Between Adobe and Kiva

by Kris Sommers

The first Indian-made nativities seem to have appeared in the late 1950's, at a time when the century-old European Crèche tradition slowly but surely went into temporary decline. Over the next decades interest and production quickened. Today, a number of Indian artisans consider nativity sets an integral part of their yearly program. The early impetus for the making of indigenous crèches may have come from the tourist industry and major collectors. Growing interest in popular art and crafts, and stronger emphasis put on local cultural expressions of faith by the Catholic Church also explain why the making of nativities by Indian artisans of the southwestern United States is considered by experts a new and promising phenomenon.  READ MORE...







Manataka members and subscribers to the SMOKE SIGNAL NEWS:



If you have not paid dues in 2013-2014, please go to:


MAIC needs your support now

Help be a part of building the Sacred Grounds at Manataka 

Please help Manataka Now!


Over the past 20 years, we seldom asked for help.  We need it now.






Hello Manataka,


My name is Kristin Szczepaniec and I recently joined Teach For America’s National Alliances Team working towards developing partnerships with Native groups and organizations. I am an enrolled Seneca from the Alleghany territory and I was a 2009 New Mexico corps member teaching middle school math on one of the Pueblos in the northwest corner of the state.  Teach For America is an organization working towards ending the educational opportunity gap that so many students today face, by placing teachers in either low income schools or schools that have a high need for teachers. When I joined TFA, the organization’s approach to partnering with native communities was less than ideal, but since then TFA has evolved, by launching the Native Alliance Initiative, in supporting the sovereignty of tribes, nations, and pueblos in determining the outcomes they want most for their students and the next generation.


I have had the wonderful opportunity to work with so many Native leaders, many of whom have been affiliated with the military. This year, as we attempt to fill part of the need to help get more Native teachers into classrooms serving Native students, we  recognize that Natives who have served in the military possess both the leadership skills needed to serve our students and the knowledge and awareness of our and their Native communities. I would love to learn more ways to reach out to your veterans who are interested in education in Indian Country. I would also love to jump on the phone and hear more about your organization if you have some time later this week. If it is easier, I could also just forward more information about our program? Let me know what works best for you!


Let me know if you have any questions, thank you for your time, and I really look forward to hearing from you.  Nyah-weh,


Kristin Szczepaniec

Director, National Alliances

1413 K St. NW

Washington, D.C. 20005w8th Floor

C: 716.440.6578


One day, all children in this nation will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education.






Natural Medicine Scholarships for Manataka Members
Dr. Edward Sullivan, DC ND BD PhD, President of the Institute of BioEnergetic Medicine recently announced that IBEM will offer a full scholarship to a member of Manataka each year and four part-time scholarships to Manataka members each year, beginning this 2014 for those individuals interested in pursuing a career in natural medicine (Traditional Naturopathy and BioEnergetic medicine with a strong emphasis on American Indian healing and spirituality).


For those interested, contact Lee Standing Bear Moore, Secretary of MAIC.  If you are not a member, join today. 

IBEM is located in Centennial, Colorado outside of Denver. IBEM is the first Doctoral program of Bio-Energetic Medicine (BD) in North America and is an accredited seminary of the Medicine Wheel Society of First Nations.  IBEM provides courses, certificates, and degrees in Traditional Naturopathy, Natural Medicine,  Auriculomedicine, Biofeedback, and Bioenergetic Medicine.  Dr. Sullivan is a new member of MAIC.

Volunteer Counseling Positions Open: 

Elder Robert Gray Hawk Coke announced that more professional volunteer counselors are needed for the Manataka's free online program helping hundreds of people with emotional, spiritual, family, marital and other issues. There are education, professional experience and licensure  requirements.   Email:


Elders Reaffirm MAIC Religious Status:

"The Manataka American Indian Council is by its nature, history and continuing practice a religious and spiritual institution," says a declaration unanimously signed by the Elder Council in March,2013.   The Elders proclaimed that Manataka is a sacred place of worship and a center for spiritual growth and communion.  Elders emphasized that MAIC is a religious organization from its inception and is becoming a source of inspiration and enlightenment for all mankind.  "The Affirmation of Religious Status" declaration was signed by all nine elders.


Manataka Sacred Grounds project:  

Planning is in full-swing to convert vacant lots on the east side of Manataka (Hot Springs) Mountain into memorial gardens.  Everyone is excited!





Manataka's Summer YOUTH Books


A Basic Native/Iroquois Reading List



Tribal Flags -- 20 New Flags - Find Yours Now


2013 Native American Indian Music Awards






"Many religions have been brought to this land. And the way my religion is, they teach me, and they taught me, and told me to respect all religions. And I still do that." -- Horace Axtell, Nez Perce


The Creator put on this Earth many different religions which represent different roads to walk to God. All religions are right and good if the path is the path to God. Should we be judging which road is better or worse than the other? When we accept each other's way we can stand in a circle, hold hands and listen to each other as we pray to God. Let us be more accepting of the religions of others.


Great Spirit - God, Grandfather, Grandmother, Lord - let me know peace.


Copyright of Coyhis Publishing and can also be found in the book, Meditations with Native American Elders: The Four Seasons at  Any republishing of part or all of their contents is prohibited.


Manataka is a sacred site that respects all religions.  We welcome and facilitate worship in all languages, in all manner of ceremony.  We are sometimes castigated by misguided Christians and Moslems who demand that we worship in their way. They allege we are disrespecting them if we do not.  Freedom of Spirit respects all forms of worship as there are many paths to the Creator.  Instead of constructing barriers to prayer, Manataka opens itself to the Freedom of Spirit.



Holiday Reprint



Christmas 1940

By Grandmother L. Cota Nupah Makah


There is something about Christmas that makes our hearts skip a beat and hold still for a second. It is seen in the fascinated gaze of a little child’s eyes when they see their first Christmas tree lights. It is in the wonder of surprise at the sight of first snow on a winter day that brings me joy, sadness, and tears of hope.


There is magic at this time of year all things just for one moment in time are possible.  The door is open and all we need to do is step in and find our answer to eternal love, hope, and peace.


I remember the time before Christmas and the anticipation a child can feel.  Even when we knew that there would be little under our brush pine tree we still held hope in our hearts.    We made ornaments from walnuts shells and tin foil that we carefully saved from the gum and cigarette wrappers others threw away. We strung pop corn and filled hand made paper cones with pop corn and hung them from the branches. During the day we would eat the pop corn from the cones until it was all gone. There were five candy canes on the tree, one for each of us that would be given out on Christmas day. A tin star cut from a coffee can lid, sadly bent and tarnished, topped the tree. These few hand made ornaments along with some old and carefully hung glass balls completed our decoration.   READ MORE...






Thomas Young:  One Man’s Love of Animals


“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” – Mahatma Gandhi


During my wanderings, I came across Queen Wilhelmina State Park near Mena. Arkansas. One of its attractions at that time was a small zoo and wildlife sanctuary operated by Thomas Young, a wildlife rehabilitator.


The zoo animals included a bear, a timber wolf cub, orphaned fawns, bobcats, wild turkeys, hawks, owls, raccoons – and a cougar named Sheena. Almost all of them had been injured at some point in time.


The side of a small unpainted wooden building on the property told the real story of this place. Large white lettering boldly announced that 12 bears, 5,000 hawks, 2,000 owls, 22 bald eagles, 18 golden eagles and thousands of small mammals had been released back into the wild by Young. The $4 entry fee to the zoo helped cover his expenses.  READ MORE...




New! American Indian Vietnam Veterans Flag


See 147 Authentic Tribal Flags





Cowlitz Tribe of SW Washington

Dear Manataka:

My spiritual leader is Grandfather Roy I Wilson, Spiritual Leader for Life of the Cowlitz Tribe of SW Washington state. I will tell you a short story. Grandfather is now 87. As a young man he had vivid detailed visions of a medicine wheel. His people were not very interested as he began to teach it, because most NW Natives believed medicine wheels to be cultural heritage of only the plains tribes. So Grandfather wrote the book Medicine Wheels and continued to teach whoever showed up to learn. This lead him to Seattle urban Indians, then eventually to creating more than 50 clans mostly in Washington, embraced by white people, mixed blood people, and many natives who had not been raised connected to their heritage. All wanted to learn. Then something more amazing happened. Someone found a very ancient medicine wheel on a mountaintop on private land and knew to take Grandfather there. He then took some Cowlitz People and some Medicine Wheel People up that mountain. That wheel shows medicine wheels to be in the cultural tradition of many many more tribes than Plains Tribes! This story is not widely known even by NW Coastal Tribes. I am ridiculously happy to have been around when this was found. Feeling it is a small piece in the healing of the broken Native History. May there be much more healing! Aho! Regards to you, Margo Bear Woman, Otter Clan, Roy I Wilson's Medicine Wheel Tribe 

~ Margo Mason. CEO at Bread & Butter Inc. Washington






Strawberry Moon Women's Gathering


You are invited to attend and participate in the Strawberry Moon in New Hampshire in June 2014.

The Strawberry Moon is a Women’s gathering and it is at this gathering that the women “step up” in tribal status.  All young girls who have received their Moon-time, but have not yet been honored as women would be honored as such during this gathering.  Grandmother Nupa Maka -






Old Agency Christmas Wacipi “In Honor of Our Veterans and Children”

December 20 - 22, 2013, 12:00 am
Cheyene-Eagle Butte High School Gym South Dakota


Grand Entries 7:00pm, Sat. 12:00pm & 7:00pm, Sunday 12:pm
Free Admission

Host Honor Guard – Dakota Kit Fox: Co Host Honor Guard – Yank Ion-McKay-Albert’s

Opens on Friday at 5:00pm

Cheyenne River Motel  605-961-8888  Harding Motel  605-964-2448

EYAPAHA: Virgil Taken, Alive, Little Eagle, SD

CO-EYAPAHA: Butch Felix, Sisseton, SD

ARENA DIRECTOR: Joe Lafferty, Iron Lightening SD

DRUM KEEPER: Young Bear, Eagle Butte, SD

FLAG BARRIER: Leon RedDog, Sans Arc Valley, SD


13th Annual New Years Eve Sobriety Powwow

December 31 - All Day
Tulsa Convention Center Oklahoma

Lorraine Bosin, 918-639-7999
Head Man: Michael Roberts Choctaw/Chickasaw
Head Lady: Geneva Horsechief-Hamilton Osage/Pawnee/Potawatomi/Blackfeet
MC: Mark Wilson Cherokee
Host Drums: Red Land Singers
In memory and honoring Niles Bosin -- Free to Public---Dana Tiger Legacy Kid's Art Contest---

Men’s Fancy 16 & older Winner Take All Sponsored by Sherrie Lathan

Straight 18 & older 1st 2nd & 3rd Place Sponsored by Drew Dreadfulwater

Traditional 16 & older Winner Take All Sponsored by John Scruggins & Jonna Burkett

All Categories Men’s Golden Age 55 & older 1st 2nd & 3rd Place Sponsored by Joseph Bohanan

Jr. Boys Straight 7-17 1st 2nd & 3rd Place Sponsored in Memory of John David Harris

Jingle Dress & Fancy Shawl Combined 16 & older Winner Take All Sponsored by Mary Hayes

Women’s Cloth 18 & older Winner Take All Sponsored by Anon-y-mous

All Categories Women’s Golden Age 55 & older 1st 2nd & 3rd Place Sponsored by Lorraine Bosin

Jr. Girls Cloth 7-17 1st 2nd & 3rd Place Sponsored by Margo Gray

Powwow Clown Contest Winner Take All Sponsored by Kristy & Wes Norris

Tiny Tots Sponsored by Kristy & Wes Norris