TURTLE> Turtle Tracks September Issue 92 Volume2

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  • Date: Tue, 30 Sep 2003 09:00:00 -0500

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Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2003 12:03:31 EDT
Subject: Turtle Tracks  September Issue 92  Volume2


Kim Nishimoto's Traditions

O'siyo! Greetings in Cherokee!

This months Nation is Oneida! We will talk about one of the more known crafts 
of the Oneida, Corn Husk Dolls!

Many people believe that the Corn Husk Doll became well known after the Western 
Nations such as Navajo, Hopi, Pueblos were taught to be farmers and were giving 
corn to raise on the lands provided for them.
Not true, for aslong as anyone can remember, the Nations along the East coast 
have been planting corn. Like all Nations, nothing was wasted after the crops 
were harvested. The cornstalks themselves were used for poles to support crops 
the next growing season. Shorter stalks were used as walking sticks or kindling 
for fires. The cobs were crafted into pipes or soaked in fat for firestarters. 
The Husks however were often used for making dolls!

There is a legend among the Oneida about why the Corn Husk Doll has no face. 
This is the text of Kim Cornelius Nishimoto telling the story of why Oneida 
corn husk dolls don't have faces, recorded July 7, 1998 by Michael Kline in 
Washington, D.C.

So, long ago when the Creator created everything on this earth, He created it 
with certain duties and responsibilities. The men were responsible for hunting 
and fishing and providing shelter for the families, and the women were 
responsible for working in the gardens and cooking the food and taking care of 
the children. And anyway, when the parents were out doing their 
responsibilities, the children were being left alone and getting into trouble. 
The boys might shoot their arrows into the woods and they'd go to find them and 
get lost. And, the girls were getting into trouble, or they might get too close 
to the fire and get burned. And so anyways, the parents were having a hard time 
doing their responsibilities and taking care of the children, so they went to 
the Creator and they asked the Creator for some help?if he would create 
something to help take care of the children. And so he created the cornhusk 
doll, and it was one of the most beautiful creations he ever created. She had a 
beautiful face and she had the power to walk and talk. And her responsibility 
was to take care of the children, so the parents could get their work done. OK, 
so, the corn husk doll did a really good job of taking care of the children. 
She taught them many things. She would teach the little boys how to hunt and 
the little girls how to cook. She'd take care of the babies. She loved them and 
told them many stories. One day, a rain storm came to the village. Grandfather 
Thunder came and he shook his head and rain drops would fall from his hair. 
Lightning would come from his eyes. Thunder would roar through his mouth. And 
she gathered all the children into the long house. Inside the long house, she 
told them stories.And when the Grandfather decided to move to another village, 
the corn husk doll took the children outside to play. And when she was outside, 
she found a pool of water. She looked in there, and she saw her reflection. And 
she saw that she was very beautiful. And so from that day on instead of 
watching the children, she would just look at her reflection in the water. She 
would gather flowers to put in her hair and sew seashells on her dress to make 
herself look more beautiful.Well, anyway, she was spending so much time looking 
at her reflection and she wasn?t watching the children. They were starting to 
get into trouble and get hurt and different things.So, the parents were getting 
upset, and they called to the Creator, and told the Creator that the corn husk 
doll wasn?t doing her responsibility of watching the children. And so, the 
Creator called the corn husk doll and he scolded her for not watching the 
children. And as a punishment, he took away her face and her power to walk and 
talk.So from then on, we make our corn husk dolls without faces. And that?s to 
remind us that we each have a duty and a responsibility that we?re supposed to 

This months crafts is on how to make a corn husk doll!

You will need the following supplies:

~several corn husks (3-4) that have been cleaned and dried
(best time to get these husks in the fall after the corn has been harvested and 
the stalks are left in the field or go to a Mexican specialty shop and get husk 
used for tamales)

~strong string or yarn <to get the string to match the corn husk, you can tea 
stain the string to the shade of beige you want)



~large bowl of warm water

~get your bowl of water and gently place the corn husk in it to soak for about 
5 mins.
   This will soften the husk to make them more pliable.
~go to the website provided below and follow the picture.
~to make a boy corn husk doll, omit the shawl part and tie the string around 
the waist. split the bundle of husk
   below the waist to form the legs and tie off at the 'ankle'.
~explore the links we have provided below and see how some corn husk= dolls 
were dressed. you may
   want to make clothes for your doll!

Wadv for taking the time for reading this article, see you next month!


Oneida Indian Nation - Culture & History

The Oneida Indian Tribe of Wisconsin

NativeTech: Instructions for Cornhusk Dolls

Kim Nishimoto's Transcript - Oneida Corn Husk Dolls

Cornhusk Doll



Coyotes, like the wolf, are family animals. They watch over and guard their 
young, protecting them at all costs. They use their cunning to avoid predators 
and other troubles by finding homes in places that are easy to defend. The 
expanding human population has been a long time threat to the coyote's 
survival, and yet they continue to grow in numbers.

The coyote is known as a very clever animal. They can get out of tight spots 
like traps and other hazards better than most other creatures. They are great 
at finding interesting ways of getting food too.

In many native traditions, coyote is known as the trickster. He uses his 
cunning and cleverness to teach us valuable lessons. Sometimes these lessons 
are hard to swallow, but most times they improve our lives and set us on a 
better journey.

Traditionally, coyote helps us face our problems and find ways to adjust our 
lives. He is persistent, so sometimes it might feel like we're being picked on. 
Other times we may find that what he's showing us is something we don't want to 
see about ourselves. But in the end, if we listen to the lessons coyote is 
trying to teach us, we will know what to do to make things better and live a 
happier life!

So if you're faced with a troubling situation, don't run away from it. It just 
means that Coyote, the clever trickster is in your life and will teach you 
something very valuable if you pay attention and work through it with him!!

NASA Science News

Some 13 billion years ago in a distant cluster of stars, a planet formed.
Remarkably it's still there, according to astronomers using the Hubble
Space Telescope. The confirmation of this ancient world means planets
formed very early in the history of our universe--only one or two billion
years after the Big Bang itself. Orbiting a pair of burned-out stars in
the crowded globular cluster "M4", the planet is too small to see from
Earth. Backyard sky watchers can, however, see the star cluster in which
it lives. Read today's story for sky maps and more information.

Ancient Planet -= http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2003/10jul_psrplanet.htm



The Oneida or Onyotaa:ka, "The People of the Standing Stone" have lived in 
their country for more than 10,000 years. They began as most= cultures do: 
gatherers and hunters. Further development led to the permanent settlements of 
villages. Now they could farm and not just merely hope on luck to get enough 
food as before. The people lived in longhouses made mostly of bark. They stood 
20 feet wide and a 100+ feet long.

The Oneida Nation started at the St. Lawrence River down to present day 
Pennsylvania. The Oneida, together with the Mohawk, Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga 
and later the Tuscaroga formed the Iroquois Confederacy.

This confederacy was to become the most famous National Government on the 
continent. Under the Great Law of Peace, the Iroquois Confederacy bound the 
nations of one blood treating each other as though family. Under the Great Law, 
members of each nation were divided into clans with the women deciding the 
leader of each clan.

The Oneida Nation had three clans: Bear, Turtle and Wolf.

The Great Law prevailed for some time. In the 1600s when the Europeans first 
began to contact these tribes, each nation sought peaceful co-existence as the 
Law demanded. Eventually, they would trade pelts and furs for brass kettles, 
spun cloth, iron tools, etc. . .

Then the American colonies began to rise up. The Oneida were the firstA0 allies 
of their cause. The other tribes sided with better supplied and equiped army of 
the British. The horrible winter at Valley Forge everyone reads about naught 
mention the 600 bushels of corn the Oneida carried there for them. Nor is told 
of the most courageous woman, Polly Cooper, who remained with Washington's 
frozen troops to teach them the proper usage of the corn and rationing.

In December 1777 the Continental Congress had= this to say of the Oneida: 
"Hearken to what we have to say to you in particular. . .It rejoices our hearts 
that we have no reason to reproach you in common with the rest of the Six 

  "We have experienced your love, strong as the oak, and your fidelity, 
unchangeable as truth. You have kept fast hold of the ancient covenant-chain, 
and preserved it free from rust and decay, and bright as silver. Like brave 
men, for glory you despised danger; you stood forth, in the cause of your 
friends, and ventured your lived in our battles. While the sun and moon 
continue to give light to the world, we shall love and respect you. As our 
trusted friends, we shall protect you; and shall at all times consider your 
welfare as our own".

The Oneida did suffer for backing the Americans. The other of the Six Nations 
continued attacks against the Oneida fortress and lands until they were forced 
out from their homes as refugees until 1784 when they finally returned home.

1794 saw a magnificent document: The Treaty of Canandaigua granting the Oneida 
special protection for their lands and continual recognition of their 
sovereignty. This treaty was different from those granted other nations. The 
treaty reads:

  "WHEREAS, in the late war between Great-Britain and the United States of 
America, a body of the Oneida and Tuscorora and the Stockbridge Indians, 
adhered faithfully to the United States, and assisted them with their warriors; 
and in consequence of this adherence and assistance, the Oneidas and 
Tuscororas, at an unfortunate period of the war, were driven from their homes, 
and their houses were burnt and their property destroyed: And as the United 
States in the time of their distress, acknowledged their obligations to these 
faithful friends, and promised to reward them.

The Flag of the Oneida Nation
The Oneida, or Onyota'a ka are one of the original five members of the Iroquois 
League, being situated in what today is upper New York State. The traditional 
lands of the Oneida were the second most easterly of the Iroquois, situated 
between the easternmost Mohawk and the Onondaga (ENAT, 168). Their name means 
either, the "People of the Boulder" or "People of the Standing Stone". This 
refers to a significant rock formation found within the lands of the Oneida.

Even in the glory days of the Iroquois League, long before there was ever 
United States, the symbol of the Oneida people was a great tree (ibid, 169). 
This continues right up to today. The tree is a white pine; this tree was 
selected by Deganawada, the Peacemaker ("The Oneida Indian Nation Seal", 
undated) because its needles stay green forever. The Peacemaker had a vision of 
the tribes coming together in peace under a "great tree". It is Deganawada and 
Hiawatha who are credited with uniting the Iroquois nations in the 16th century 
(ENAT, 104). The Peacemaker, according to legend, instructed the nations of the 
Iroquois to "bury their weapons of war under the sacred roots, and never 
unearth them again to use on each other" ("The Oneida Indian Nation Seal").

The seal of the Oneida Nation is red, appearingfrequently as a reddish-orange 
or even orange. The red color recalls the= blood spilled before the union of 
the five original nal nations. The trunk of the white pine is white and ends 
with four roots, the white represents purity while the four roots spread to the 
four directions of Mother Earth.

It bears the great tree of the Oneida in the center and pictured upon it are 
three clan totems, a wolf, bear and turtle. The tree is topped by an eagle with 
wings outstretched. The eagle is the national bird of the United States and the 
Iroquois. Its placement symbolizes that it is watching out for the Oneida and 
will scream out a warning of any impending danger. All totems appear in black. 
The clan totems are sheltered by the protection of the "Great Tree".

The green of the tree symbolizes that the Oneida's way of life, their 
government and the Oneida People shall prosper so long as they adhere to the 
Great Law (ibid.) that was brought to the Oneida and the other Iroquois nations 
by the Peacemaker from the Creator.

Below the eagle is "Hiawatha's Belt" (AIDD, plate 18), the wampum symbol of the 
creation of the Iroquois League around 1570. It appears in the original colors 
of the belt - white bearing the tree and links in bluish-purple or purple. The 
color purple represents peace ("The Oneida Indian Nation Seal", undated) These 
reflect the natural coloring of the shells from which the original "Hiawatha's 
Belt" of wampum was constructed.

By 1987 the Oneida were reduced to sharing a reservation with the Onondaga and 
having a small 32 acre unrecognized reservation for themselves. Despite the 
reduction of the Oneida to just 32 acres, they remain proud of their long 
history of cooperation with the United States. Since 1988, with the passage of 
the Native American Gaming Act, the Oneida and their Turning Stone Casino, 
which opened in 1993 (New York Times, Feb. 16, 1996, B6), have managed to 
repurchase some 3,500 acres. This is still a far cry from the nearly 270,000 
acres they ruled in the 1700s, but a major leap forward for the Oneida.

The Oneida and the sixth member of the Iroquois League, the Tuscarora who 
joined in 1722, were the only members to side with the United States in its 
fight for independence.

Today the Oneida continue to seek the restoration of lost lands and an 
improving way of life for their kinsmen. As part of their self awareness, the 
Oneida people use their seal on a white flag to represent themselves. This 
flag, manufactured by Americana Flag, while used by the Oneida nation has, as 
far as can be determined, has never been= formally adopted by the Oneida 

Haudenoshaunee, or Iroquois clothing consisted mostly of garments made of 
animal pelts which were added to and substituted by trade cloth after European 

In the winter, the men wore shirts, leggings and moccasins made from buckskin. 
The women wove grasses into skirts and covered them with fu= and wore leggings 

In the summer, the men usually wore a breach cloth made from deerskin while the 
women wore grass skirts. Children usually wore nothing in the warmer weather.

Once contact with Europeans took place, Iroquois dress changed considerably. 
Men wore shirts, pants or leggings made from trade cloth. Capes, sashes, kilts, 
as well as elaborate jewelry and feathers were worn on special occaisions. 
Women wore full dresses made from deerskin and trade cloth or a skirt and 
blouse. Furs and blankets were used in the wintertime as a protection from the 

About the Three Sisters

Longhouse photo taken by Maggie Sypniewski
in London, Ontario, Canada.

The Oneida people did not live in tepees as is the common misconception of 
Native Americans. Instead they lived in longhouses. These buildings could be 
between 30 and 300 feet long and housed many families. Int he roof were holes 
for the smoke from the fires inside to escape. Usually, the number of smoke 
holes also indicated the number of families living in the longhouse. The beds 
were in a bunkbed style and were covered with furs to make it more comfortable 
for the people to sleep on. The family's belongings were stored on shelves 
above the beds and the center aisle was used for socializing. In the winter, 
elders would tell stories to the children in the center aisle to help teach 

Corn Husk Dolls

The Oneidas didn't believe in putting faces on dolls. One story that gives a 
reason for this is of a beautiful woman who saw her reflection in a lake and 
realized how pretty she was. she became very vain and neglected her chores. She 
even refused to get married. This upset the Creator so much that he sent an owl 
to take the woman's face away. Since then, no corn husk dolls have had faces.


Iroquois Games

Played at many colleges and universities across the country,= Lacrosse was a 
game invented by the Iroquois people.

Called Ga-lahs by the Oneida, the original version of Lacrosse required great 
skill. A hard wooden ball was passed from player to player who carried a long 
stick with a basket-like head attached to it. Each player would catch the ball 
in the basket and try to carry it to the goal.

Today, Lacrosse is played on a standard playing field, but when the 
Haudenoshaunee played it, the playing field could be of any size. Sometimes it 
was the length of a village and could even go as far as several miles.

The Iroquois had many reasons for playing Lacrosse. Often it was for fun and to 
build stamina, but sometimes it would determine land boundaries between the six 
nation, settle disputes or prepare the young men for war.

It also had a spiritual purpose. For example, the Oneida Creation Story 
describes the Spirit World as a place where the residents lack sickness and 
death due to playing Lacrosse.

Oneida Indian Nation - Culture & History

Oneidas for Democracy

Treaties with Oneida Indians - 1834 to 1841

The Oneida Indians of Wisconsin

Oneida Action Newsletter

Constitution of the Iroquois Nations

Our Winged Ones

The Eastern Blue Bird

Identification Tips:

Length: 5.5 inches
Thin bill
Most often seen in open habitats: agricultural areas, wood edges, et al=

Southwestern United States birds are paler Adult male:

Bright blue upperparts
Orange-red throat, breast and sides

White belly and undertail coverts Female:

Blue wings and tail-duller than male
Gray crown and back
White eye ring
Brownish throat, breast and sides

White belly and undertail coverts Juvenile:

Blue wings and tail-duller than male
Gray crown and back
White eye ring
Spotted underparts Similar species:

The Eastern Bluebird is most likely to be confused with other bluebirds. Male 
Western Bluebirds have blue throats while male Easterns have orange-red ones. 
Male Mountain Bluebirds lack any reddish coloration on their underparts. 
Females are more difficult to separate. Both Western and Mountain Bluebirds 
have gray throats and gray bellies while the Eastern Bluebird has a brownish 
throat and white belly.

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