Manataka™ American Indian Council





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.  The opinions expressed below and all information provided is for informational purposes only. We make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of the opinions express below and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. Manataka does not necessarily endorse or support the opinions expressed below. 




State Recognized Tribes INCLUDED in Arts and Crafts Act

Hello Manataka,
I have written before regarding women drumming…..and I drum. Anyway, thanks for your good works!  I just wanted to clarify. I’m a member or a State recognized tribe and we fall under the same purview as does federal as it pertains to the Arts and Crafts Act. We have the same rights and responsibilities.  I actually head up that “department” for the tribe. I noticed on the musical page you just mention federally recognized, which can potentially confuse the public into thinking only a “federally recognized” Indian can vend. The BIA’s website is also a bit confusing as well, but it is Federal Law that state recognized tribes have the same rights in this area. Have a great week!  thanks, ~Jan Franz



Dear Editor,



Salmon Fishing?

Dear Manataka,


Found your sight a few weeks ago while looking for a tanned buck skin for a friend.


I then traveled to Idaho to the Stanley area, where I was told that the Salmon was running. Never seeing this I was excited. We went to the fish hatchery there and read how the decline of the Salmon was so bad and that they were trying to bring them back as they are on the endangered side of life.


They also said that they were in fact coming back due to the efforts of the Idaho fisheries and their hatchery program. Then when we went to the weir where they caught the salmon there were a bunch of Native Americans with modern fishing equipment ( snagging rods and reels) catching them from the weir. Now this is against the law for anyone else, and all the other folks were standing watching in disbelief. I then started taking notice of all the natives in new trucks with 15ft long lodge pole pine spears on the top with giant shark sized hooks attached.


Then remembered seeing the fish in the hatchery tanks with large chunks of flesh hanging loose and eyes knocked out and hanging. Of coarse as a person who cares about these things I started asking questions. I was told that it was the treaty. The native Americans are governed by their own tribe and allowed to fish how ever where ever they want and no limit. To say the least I was broken hearted. Since I was young I have always had a passion for the different tribes and the Indian way. But now I see that the world has taken them over as well. It can only be for money and greed. It was one thing when these treaties were written up when we ran around on horses and fished with bows and hand made items. But today we have 300 horse powered trucks and  modern equipment such as fiberglass rods and powerful reels. A computer to tell us exactly where the fish are as they try to get back to breeding grounds. No wonder they are having a hard time recuperating.


My question is where is the pride or the love of the people. There are Dams and such that we have to live with as we all use electricity now Native Americans too, so we can't put that blame on anyone. And many other trials these animals have to beat just to get to the place to be slaughtered before allowing to reproduce.


I have to say that all of this wildlife/fish problem is all of our problem, and if we are going to succeed, we need to all work together.

Thank you for your part.  I will keep doing mine.  ~ Jon



P.S.  Went and checked out the Smoke Signal News. Really nice. I really like it and plan to follow.  I thank you for your attention to the matter. I feel that the human race is all the same when it comes to evil, in that no matter who we may be there will always be those who tend to follow the wrong path such as greed. Seems to me that the proportions are about equal in all cultures.  Thank you again, looking forward to the Smoke Signal News.


Dear Editor:  


Here's a short story I wrote a few years back:


Women drumming....

By Lee DeRanger

2 April 2010 

The adults’ voices came from the other side of the blanket, hung as a curtain in the room. The other kids were sleeping…. lulled by the rhythm of the cards being dealt & the murmur of the grown-ups’ voices. Occasionally I would hear a chair scrape, see a shadow move against the blanket … someone putting another piece of wood in the stove or I would feel a rush of cold air along the floor as someone went outside to use the outhouse. I welcomed these breaks, as the cold air helped me to stay awake. I knew that if I could just keep my eyes open until they were sure we were all asleep…

My Dad and I were visiting from Toronto. We were somewhere in the north. This time we’d been traveling for a few days; I don’t know where we were, but it was much farther from home than North Bay. It could have been around Thunder Bay, Gogama, or even Timmins…it was about 1962….

A young woman’s voice: “They’re all out cold.” Followed by a couple of comments, some laughter; the whistling of a kettle on the wood stove & the smell of muskeg tea. Some more talk that I didn’t understand, then the word “church”. For a change, it wasn’t my Dad saying it. It was the voice of an older man. They talked a bit about having come in from the bush, now that things were changing.

I remember that this struck me as odd… this place looked like “bush” to me. I was used to places where there were no lights outside at night like there were in Toronto, places where there was no indoor plumbing. But for some reason, the lack of electricity was something that my young brain identified as “bush”.

Somehow, it was unsettling that these people talked of “bush” being a place they no longer lived.

The older woman’s voice joined her husbands’ in telling a story of a family that lived on the land, outside of the boundaries imposed by reserves & churches. I heard these types of stories again as I grew up and sometimes even today, I hear similar stories from people who heard some of them when they were growing up.


There were families who had “gone bush” and stayed that way for more than a generation in response to Government & Church policies. On March 31, 1960, Indians in Canada were allowed to vote. The 1960’s became a time of quiet change. People who had never lived where their existence was a matter of record slowly started to make an appearance. There were people whose births had never been recorded. Some of today’s “non-status Indians” are descended of these people. Some of them reported births & deaths, but the children were conveniently “Out on the land; I’ve just come in for flour, salt, sugar & lard.” The people we were visiting that night were about 60, old enough that their children would have been grown. They had decided to take the risk & come in from the bush.


As the subject turned back to “church” I paid more attention. This was a word that was associated with some good stories & some bad language, both of which I already found entertaining…


The older woman was talking of traditions when she mentioned the word “church”& she had an edge of steel to her voice that hadn’t been there a moment before. “My Grandmother said the priests started taking’ things away.” She continued telling her story to the flickering light of the kerosene lantern. I would have loved to have seen what her face looked like when her voice had that tone, but I was frozen in place, afraid to make a sound, lest she stop.

“Drums. They took the drums away from women. Said it was no good; that we should spend time doing’ other things. Like what they wanted us to.”

She spoke quietly of the things that her Grandparents had told her: that slowly they had seen people giving up the traditional aspects of laughter & prayer, becoming too solemn, doing only what the priests approved of. “It made their hearts sad… so they made up their minds to go.” They had taken their children & gone into the bush. I realized that this woman, with her simple English, had been born in the bush and had lived there most of her life. I had heard her speak both French & Anishnabe earlier. Maybe she knew I was awake & wanted to be sure that I understood.

This was about 1962 & she was about 60 years old. An educated guess would reasonably place her Grandparents birth sometime about 40 years prior to hers. Say, about 1860, before Confederation. Before the Indian Act. Before reserves.


Sometimes I hear people saying that women aren’t supposed to drum. That it’s not traditional. I’ve heard it in various areas of the country & it’s always reminded me of the steel in that old woman’s voice when she spoke of the priests stripping tradition from a people so long ago.

A few months ago, I shared this story with an Elder. The next day, she came & sat with me; She told me that she wanted me to write it down for others to read. She shared one of her stories & asked me to write it as well. (I will, and you can see it after she approves of it.) I was reluctant to write this one, but she said, “You’re old enough now. Speak up.” I promised her that I would.

So I’ll close with this thought:


Even though there was no “Dominion of Canada” at the time this story originates from, it was the same Church, right across the country. They had the same policies everywhere. While the priests were taking the drums away from the women in northern Ontario (so that the children wouldn’t learn) they were probably also in a community near you…


Hair Raising...


Hello Manataka,

I read your article on hair and it was wonderful.  I am not sure if I am doing the right thing by mailing you about this problem of mine.
I have been practicing spiritual practice for 7-8 years. Earlier less and now more of meditations.  I have been developing grey hair- some 8 years beck first less and now more and more.  I am only 33 right now and think almost 40% of my hair are grey. Every time I get a hair colour it increases dramatically.   Please help me know if it is a spiritual sign. Or health issue.  Would be very grateful Manataka. 
I am happy to hear from you. I guess I will evolve out of this condition with more understanding.  Thanks a lot for your time. I am a practitioner of "Pranic Healing" Therapy. And also practice meditations.  I am an artist and have recently got into research into the Sacred Geometry. With the study of theosophy and practice of healing I find myself at the doorstep of a world unseen but that which has meaning in every form and action. This is what you wrote in your article as practiced by the native Indians. I was deeply touched by the way hair care is so meaningful for them. I realized the tribal cultures are extremely rich and healthy, and we need to go back and relearn such wonderful lifestyle practices that fill one with self appreciation.  ~Geetika J C, India


Hello Geetika,

What you describe as a "problem" is not a problem at all.  It is your perception of the issue that is causing the problem not the fact that your hair is graying.  Hair graying is a natural occurrence most likely as the result of your genes or a diet deficiency.  Graying hair is held by many cultures to be a sign of wisdom normally achieved with age.  You cannot change who you are -- even with hair dye.  So, stop dying your hair.  Be proud of the hair you are given.  Do do allow vanity to cloud the issue. Wear your gray hair with distinction. ~Editor


Just read about the Real Story of Thanksgiving

Dear Manataka: 


So who beheaded Squanto? It seems you get all kinds of versions of this story. You are saying it was the barbarian Pilgrims.  I read elsewhere that it was Wampanoag.   Wish there were some clear evidence but as history moves on, it does not help does it.

Nathan Andersen, Shao Lon Bros, TW - 0983660644


Hello Nathan,

Thank you for your message.  Yes, it is confusing the way Eurocentric historians keep messing up the facts.  Consider this:    The Wampanoag did not perform beheadings.  Nor did they take scalps.  Both atrocities were imported. Those customs had been practiced in Europe for ages before they discovered this land.  The key in this case is to closely read the “footnotes” section by Larsen, then follow-up with reading those references from the actual chronicles.  Also read the book, “Lies My Teacher Taught Me”  It is a great book by one of America’s most famous historians.  There are dozens of books that do tell the truth, unfortunately, they are always on the tallest shelf and never used as text books.~Editor

Hello Manataka,


Kia ora, hello, my name is Ruby, from New Zealand, Aotearoa. I have recently come across your site and have been enjoying reading the articles. I decided to email you, whoever it is that is reading this email, because I am looking for answers or guidance on some certain things, and maybe you would be able to point me in the right direction? One article that I read was of particular interest, the one on Spirit Guides and Totems by Takatoka. This is because I have many dreams with animals, and sometimes it gets a little bit confusing and overwhelming, as I don't know why there are so many animals coming in my dreams. There are times when I dream of them every night. In my dreams I can talk to them (without words though, but I understand what they are saying and vice versa). There are many other things that I experience and dream of which I wish I could find guidance for. It is hard because the western culture does not understand these sort of things and while I feel like they are important, they would be disregarded as nothing by most people. People do not understand that all of life is sacred and lies seem to be honored above truth, and I am still young, yet the older people don't hold the wisdom or knowledge that I seek. So all I can do is trust in my own ability to understand what is coming through to me but it's not an easy thing to do when the culture does not support it. Does this make sense? Perhaps I am clutching at straws, but what else to do at this time... I need to find answers through whatever medium is available, even if it is an email to a person I do not know. Hoping that something will point me in the right direction, hoping for confirmation that the messages I receive are real and that I don't just have an "over active imagination". 


Please excuse me if you can't help me, and forgive me for bothering you. Just please understand I am looking for something that my people have not been able to help me with. It is like fumbling around for a match in the pitch black darkness. thank you and arohanui, much love. ~Ruby Pohutukawa Black, New Zealand



Ruby ora,What you are experiencing may or may not be your a spirit guide (angel).  However, we suspect that you are having Remembering experiences.  Eons ago (10,000 + years) humans could speak with all of nature without words.  Humans lost this ability through arrogance and listening instead to other "civilized" humans - not the Spirit of God.  However, there are many humans today who are remembering through the voices of their ancestors contained in their DNA. There are other explanations too.  You are not insane, but have a wonderful gift. May your blessing be strong. ~Editor