Audio-Visuals, Videos, Tapes, Computer

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The Native Americans based on Turner Publishing's acclaimed, and beautiful book by the same title. This in turn drew on artwork by Native artists comissioned and compiled for several of Turner TV Broadcasting's Native series. There's an overview history, profusely illustrated by modern Native artists and photos of museum items, supplemented by interviews with Native people which were used on some of the shows and are out-takes from the published book. Available in combined Mac and PC Windows format. $24.95 from The Edutainment Company's catalog, order # 135044. (800)338-3844, or order from their web page. You won't find it posted in thir catalog there; only their top-sellers are up so far, though you could still order it (phone ordering is easier). This is a must-have for every school and anyone with the slightest interest in Native people (and a CDROM player), given its price, the best deal around -- actually cheaper than the book (which you should also get!). There's also a videotape -- the 1993 Turner Native Americans PBS boradcasts, which AISES sells for $60, unaccountably describing it as the 1995 broadcast. Why they don't carry the CDROM (and junk the one below) I don't know. They don't carry the book, either. Reviewed by: Paula Giese

American Indian Encyclopedia CDROM, Facts-On-File, discontinued, 1994, available from AISES ((DOS PC format only) at $295. This is the worst deal I've seen for anything to do with CDROM's. It's not very good even if the cost was the 1/10th that th several other Indian CDROM's are, pretty standard price for CDROM's of all types. -- antique out of copyright books as references. Black and white photos from the 1800's to modern (about 1980) times. Poor visual quality on both pix and text, and only antique PC sound cards are supported, i.e. yours won't work. But if you could use the pix for your project, get 'em off the web image gateway set up by Prof. Troy Johnson of California State University; he got permish to use the discontinued product's images, and he's prepared and annotated them. If you wanna support AISES, buy some of the nice books they carry or just give 'em the money. Tell 'em to play lacrosse with their stock of these things Incomprehensibly, this is the only CDROM AISES carries in their book and videos catalog, when there are good ones (all reviewed here!) selling for one-tenth the price. This one isn't just much too expensive; it's also very bad. Reviewed by: Paula Giese

Timeliner Software, $79.95 with Native Americans datadisk ($19.95). Available on disk (not CDROM) for both Macs and PC's (and even old Apple II's), Mac version is by far the snazziest with the most features. The program includes several historical timelines you can add to or edit (create a powwows timeline! a timeline of events that affected only your tribe; recent events affecting your rez!). You can timeline a day, week, month, year, or eras. You can illustrate any happenings-in-time (kids' birthdays is always popular) with the main software. The Native datadisk has a variety of events important to non-(ndian historians -- which you'll want to add to and easily can. With the Mac version you can also import graphics (the program and datadisk supply many) drawn by students or scanned from books and photos.Timelines can be printed as big banners that run all around the classroom, or in pages, or in small snapshots for page publication. A whole bunch of other datadisks are available, many ideal for science: Dinos (that every little kid loves), science and technology, world events, women in history and many others. Great software (especially for Macs) and a good price. Available from Educational Resources (800)624-2926 for their catalog), See their web page catalog too. Every educator should be aware of ER, very wide selection for K - college software, good deals on educational software and some computer items, many specials if you get on their mailing list. Reviewed by: Paula Giese

The Indian Question, Objective Computing, $39.95, Only for PC's unfortunately. Over 10,000 pages of searchable text with keyword, date, and fulltext searching utilities. All 372 ratified treaties (and some of the unratified ones) are here, as is Felix Kappler's monumental 5-volume legal analysis, long out of print, still the foundation for researching Indian law. Several other good reference works for those interested in sovereignty, Indian law, etc. I keep hearing about projects to put all treaties on CDROM. Hey, it was done in 1994, and the guy's going broke not-selling them. (I keep telling him to put it on Mac compatible CDROM's). There are also more than 1,000 pix, including high-quality (i.e. competent digitization) old photos, maps, paintings, drawings from the 19th century. Myths are from the out-of-copyright 19th century sources, tend to be quaintly expressed by primitive early anthros. A complete illustrated book on Indian sign language with clear, simple illos. It ain't Iron Eyes Cody signing with that Hollywood flash, but if you want to learn Plains sign, here you are: the book he learned it from. But the complete treaties (and lawbook) are the thing here. Everyone who wants all the treaties (and has a PC with CDROM) get this. Available from EduCorp, the CDROM giant, (cat# WIN 1-50645). (800)843-9497. This is another vendor (CDROMS only) whose catalog you should get pronto. Visit their web site (whose URL is due to change soon, this one that they gave me sure doesn't work!) Just about anyone who would like all treaties for reference (and who has a PC CDROM) should get this. Reviewed by: Paula Giese

THE AMERICAN INDIAN: A MULTIMEDIA ENCYCLOPEDIA, CDROM for DOS PC's only. Facts on File, Inc.,c. 1993, available from AISES, $295.

This has to be AISES's worst deal, and is the worst deal going for Native American CDROM's, at 10 times the price of good ones. And this is a bad one. It was prepared perhaps too early in the technology of CDROM, (the FoF copyright date is 1993, so there is no excuse for all the obsolescence that makes this CDROM unworkable in most modern PC's.). It uses long obsolete, obscure authoring software that cannot recognize a drive greater than drive-letter G (which lets me out, my CDROM drive is H). Its sound support is for the earliest version of the Soundblaster card, which has not been in any PC's since 1989 or so. Therefore its sound and CDROM visuals drivers usually conflict with the SCSI driver for your PC's CDROM drive. Though it is said to work with "VGA or SVGA drivers" it conflicts with most modern SVGA (that's what's on your PC if you bought it or upgraded after 1992). The software drivers frequently conflict with all modern software (no one has been able to run this with Windows 95 and there are many problems trying to run it under Windows 3.1 or later; it conflicts with all modern memory managers and most modern video boards). The graphics used are mostly old photos, low resolution. Browsing is not easy because the authors of this disk didn't understand hypertext. A so-called "ethnohistorical consultant" does not appear to be Indian and either doesn't know much about Indian history or didn't write connections and contexts for the old docs included, a random assortment. Many of the visiuals are inadequately identified or not at all. On a laser printout pamphlet -- which contains no info about content -- there is a whole variety of info about all kinds of technical problems and conflicts mostly with no solutions except "contact the manufacturer" of your hardware. Of course they aren't going to be able to do anything about the conflicts which are caused by the use of primitive and conflicting long-obsolete authoring software, reliance on obsolete drivers for obsolete hardware, etc. At 10 times the price of 2 recent very good ones this would be a CDROM to avoid, even if it didn't have so many technical problems I haven't been able to get it working right yet, after trying it on 10 different PC's belonging to friends. For the outrageous price of this one, you could get all the others. And if you have a Mac, you can't use this one anyway. It is totally puzzling why AISES carries this disk in its catalog -- the only CDROM carried -- it should be dropped. Anyone asking to order it from the present catalog should be told it has ben dropped because the probability of its actually working on any PC made after 1989 is very close to 0. Plus of course the fact that its price is a major ripoff anmd its content (assuming you hae an antique you can run it on) is uninspiring, poorly organized, and of rather low general interest.

I found this thing several years ago, discounted to $9 by a CDROM mail order dealer who was getting rid of his stock. On the off-chance I had a defective, I contacted FoF recently for a new review copy. The new disk has all the same problems, and is now accompanied by an "Installation and troubleshooting guide" which basically explains why it is unlikely to work for you either, i.e. obsolete technology, made with technical incompetence. FoF should stop offering this thing, but whether they do or don't nobody should buy it -- even at $9, much lss $295. Reviewed by Paula Giese

500 Nations Microsoft. Kevin Costner narrates. Available from (catalog# 150135, PC) is $29.95, the mac is late because they're adding a lot of Quicktime Movies, sound, speech, and general pizzazz, so the price goes up to $39.95 (catalog# 150123, Mac). Available from The Edutainment Comapny, (800)338-3844, or see their web page. (Neither of their Indian CDROM's are on their web page.) Inferior to the Turner CDROM both as a reference and for its graphics; Turner used plenty of Indian artists, Costner-Microsoft doesnt have any. There are video-like live interviews (very short) of Native people. See review of the book on the Art Books Page here. Bottom line: the Turner ative Americans CDROM covers the same history, same materials, and does it better. using mostly Native artists, not so many old sepiatone photos, and better content coverage. Reviewed by: Paula Giese

A Second Look: This review appears in the June 13, 1995 issue of Computer Currents and might be available on the Internet at: Newmedia CDROM Reviews [PG Note: Server is always down, 1996]

This is Microsoft's most sobering CD-ROM to date. It's hard to hold your head high and hum a few bars of "The Star-Spangled Banner" when you learn the other side of the story of how the West (and East) was won. This CD-ROM title - like the 500 Nations project's eight-hour CBS special and huge coffee-table book - tells the tale of the Native Americans who were here long before the first waves of European immigrants hit these shores 370 years ago. Some of the stories here are familiar. The Wampanoag introducing the Pilgrims to their harvest celebration of Thanksgiving in the early 1600s. The 1774 impersonation of Mohawks by tea-dumping New England revolutionaries. Custer's Last Stand. The battle of Wounded Knee. The reservations.

Many of the stories and perspectives are new, such as creation stories, oral histories of various battles between whites and Native Americans, and the brutalities of the cultural assimilation of a century ago. But the storytelling is interactive: You click around for narrated slide shows of sepia-tinted century-old photos, video footage, and rendered computer re-creations of the way things were. Although you learn about the outrages inflicted against Native Americans, the nonlinear delivery of information creates the impression (illusion?) that your feelings aren't being manipulated by smooth production values. But even so, the stories are powerful: brutal land grabs, incarceration in concentration camp-like reservations, the force assimilation of Native American children into white boarding schools (which included burning their belongings and beating them if they used their own language). This is a powerful, shocking title, but the effect is diluted here and there. The oral history of the Nez Perce, Mohawk, and other tribes has a tremendous impact, yet they're introduced by the flat drawl of Kevin Costner. Why does the script commit the egregious political incorrectness of calling Native Americans "Indians" - to play better in Peoria? And why is it so difficult to find the computerized renditions of tribal villages, as promised in the introduction?

With the support of the TV series and 468-page Alfred Knopf book (which sells for about the same price as the disc), 500 Nations should do well. It's a good example of superior CD-ROM production, and earns its place in future editions of Jeopardy as being the first Windows 95 auto-playing CD-ROM. But if you can't stand Costner, you won't lose too much by getting the book instead. Reviewed by Morgan Frew, Computer Currents, June 13, 1995. Note: As of spring, 1996, the server on which this first appeared seems to be gone.


Wiping the Tears of 7 Generations, a video made of the first Bigfoot Memorial ride in the winter of 1990, when the Bigfoot Riders were formed. Find out more from one of the founders on Arvol Looking Horse's Pages here. See the ads about the film by Kifaru productions -- but it's all graphics, not a word of text (except incorporated within the graphics), so your browser must support that (probably does or you'd be having a hard time here). Kifaru sells its videos for the same price as AISES (and its on-line ordering mechanism doesn't work), so get it from AISES and the profits will support Indian students. Reviewed by: Paula Giese

Red Road to Sobriety, $40, Kifaru Productions. Another good one, prepared with a history of the effects alcohol has had (many cession treaties were signed only with its aid, the effects ae political not only personal), spiritual, and an overview of some good programs for Native people. Inspiring and interesting. Reviewed by: Paula Giese

The Peyote Road, $30, Kifaru. This is an award winning film, now a video, which examined a Supreme Court case about Native Religious freedom, for the intertribal Native American Church, which uses peyot as a ceremonial. The emphasis is on religious freedom, many tell of how the NA Church has helped them, and how peyote opened a road to spirituality for them. We also see harassments of the law, directed against these quiet, devout people. Reviewed by Paula Giese. Several of Kifaru's videos ar available from AISES.

Babies in Waiting, $29.95, Family Care Communications, Inc., Eden Prairie, MN 55347, 512944-5350. This videotape is necessary for Unit 4 of the AISES "Science of Alcohol Curriculum for American Indians" (SACAI) material. It shows fetal alcohol syndrome and how it affects the community. It is not available from AISES, even though it's required for the AISES SACAI curriculum, and must be purchased here.

Note: Find out is this a remake or retitling of the 1990 Circle of Life Fetal Alcohol Syndrome video made by Lynn Thunem and them specifically for Indian people at White Earth. Blandin Foundation financed it. There was a big premiere and state reps etc present for it at White Earth in Feb. 1990.

  • COLUMBUS DIDN'T DISCOVER US, 1992, 24 minutes color, grade 5+, In July, 1990, some 300 Native people participated in the 1st Continental Confrence of Indigenous Peoples in th highlands of Ecuador. Testimony on the effects of the "discovery" on the lives of the peoples as they speak of their struggles for tierra, paz y litertad -- land, peace, liberty. $19.95

  • A SKIRT FULL OF BUTTERFLIES, 1995, 15 minutes, color. In Zapotec (with English subtitles) and English, grade 4+. 5 women of southern Oxaca, Mexico tell what it's like to live in a community where cultural pride is of first importance; where women run the economy; where "fat is beautiful" and where female ancestors displayed imaginative courage in war in political resistance. $19.95

  • VIVA LA CAUSA! 500 YEARS OF CHICANO HISTORY, 1995, 60 minutes, color grades 5-12. Based on the book 500 Annos del Pueblo Chicano/ 500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures a compelling introduction to the history of Mexican-American people wqith Indian roots. Archival footage, narration and music have been added to photos used in the books. $50. Also available in a teacher's kit, with book, video, and 70-page curriculum guide. Guide divided into 12 themes, each synopsis of the corresponding vid section, and sample lesson plan motivating student discussions and activities. Video and curriculum kit were prepared by Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP), a Chicano group. $100.

  • WALKING WITH GRANDFATHER 1988, six 15-minute episodes, color, all grades. Stories about ordinary people who meet extraordinary challenges, magical little people, people learning to live in harmony with each other, people having their dreams come true. Need more info about this series. $200.


    Bullfrog specializes in environmental-related videos (with a few films that can be rented or puyrchased for showings to larger audiences). Their prices tend to be high. Their offerings tend to be quality-professionally made, which were sometimes TV science series, or prizewinners. They have a number of Native productions. Catalog (and orders) at 800-543-3764; Bullfrog Films, Box 149; Oley, PA 19547. They have a web catalog, but it's really an all-text gopher (cannot be ordered from), which the items below are described on.

  • SUN DAGGER, 4 versions -- 60 minute film( $850) or video ($295), and a 30-minute cut version film ($550) or video ($250) for limited-time classes.

  • KANEHSATAKE: 270 YEARS OF RESISTANCE: 120 minute vid, grades 10-adult. Oka, 1990, Mercier Burdge, Mohawk people. National Film Board of Canada, has won all sorts of doc film awards,

  • TAOS PUEBLO, 9 minutes, grades 2-8, $150 video.

  • MAYAN RAINFOREST FARMING, 29 minute vid, $49.

  • INUIT KIDS, 9 minutes, grades 2-8, 2 Inuit boys, vid, $245.

  • HAIDA GW'AII: THE QUEEN CHARLOTTE ISLANDS, 58 minutes video, $275

    Mystic Fire Videos

    Available from this web store, these videos range in price from about $25 - $30, and are 60 to 90 minutes. Good descriptions, with some screen shots, on their web pages for each.

    • Oren Lyons Onondaga (6 Nations) Faithkeeper, writer, and editor of Daybreak Magazine interviewed by former TV newsman Bill Moyers on Indian history and spirituality.

    • Paha Sapa: Struggle for the Sacred Black Hills Very timely now, because the U.S. is trying to force a multi-million-dollar settlement (which was announced 20 years ago during the AIM Wounded Knee occupation) on the Lakotas who have consistently refused it, citing the authority of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty: The Black Hills are not for sale! In an attempt to get around and split the people, the U.S. has offered a share of the proceeds to other tribes, including Dakotas who not only never signed the treaty, but if they visited the Black Hills at all, it was only scattered visiting: they lived in Minnesota (before the exiling of 1862). This video gives a good background on the current, urgent situation.

    • Raoni One small tribe of indigenes in the Brazillian Rain Forests tries to resist the power and might, military and police, as well as economic, of multinational corporations and governments intent on exploiting their forest home. Dramatic, timely, and gives a fine picture of who the real villains are, environmentally.

    • Kogi, I dunno about this one. These are supposedly the hidden survivors of a tribe extinct for 400 years, who live on a mountain, call themselves Elder Brothrs of humankind, and everyone downstairs Younger Bros. I'd like to see it, but a whiff of the phoney came across even the near-total filter of a brief web page description.

    • A Common DestinyThomas Banyacya, long-time travelling Hopi speaker, and Jewell Praying Wolf James, a descendant of Chief Seattle, say Get right with Mother Earth. If as the description seems to imply, this is just 2 guys making The Speech for over an hour, I think it would be a very boring vid. The type that has students falling off their chairs. Maybe it's very dramatic, but me, I don't think guys making long speeches is good video anbd it sure doesn't hold kids' attention. 60 minutes, $24.95.

    • Arawaks -- this Caribbean tribe has long been extinct, very soon wiped out by slavery and diseases. The filmmaker, an artist and poet, wandered around looking at artifacts and talking to people. The resulting vid has poetry, music, and dramnatic panning shots of still artifacts, drawings, painings, to recreate the artist's impression of the lives of this vanished folk -- the intellectual, artistic, and spiritual lives (which no one can actually know any more).

    • The Shadow CatcherEdward Curtis, whose life was spent in a huge project photograping Indians of the U.S. and Alaska in a project that destroyed his marriage, his health, and his finnaces. When the huge 20-volume project was done, no on wanted it. Anthros said he was an uneducated nobody, people in general weren't interested in Indians, libraries couldn't afford the cost. The negatives were thrown out, volumes moldered in trunks. In the 1970's, the priceless and irreplaceable work of this great artist was discovered through discovery of many of the copper printing plates. A narrated docudrama See review of Shadow Catcher book.

      ART OF NATIVE AMERICAN BEADWORK, Path of the Sun mages, 20 minute video, $19.95, available from The Mail Order Catalog, 800-695-2241

      A 20-minute how2 video on sewn beadwork (lazy woman stitching, rosettes), and blanket border stitching. Many closeups and spoken instructions. OK for schools if there is no access to Native craft teachers, and the kids are very acculturated, don't know how at all. Or maybe for totally non-indian folks. Reviewed by Paula Giese

      LAKOTA QUILLWORK VIDEO, H,. Jane Nauman, 30 minute video, $25 available from The Mail Order Catalog, 800-695-2241

      Footage of porcupine quill preparation, dying and embroidering by Alice Blue Legs (and family) of Pine Ridge Lakota reservation in SD. Some legends about quilling, women's quillwork societis, and some quill-work art historical examples. Very worthwhile and interesting vid since it's got much more content than the How2 (which you can't really learn from videotapes anway). Reviewed by Paula Giese

      BERTHA IRON BOY: POSITIVE -- LIFE WITH HIV, 1994, 8 mins, producer Mona Smith, for ITVS AIDS series. 612-225-9035, . Bertha Iron Boy, Lakota of Pine Ridge, rcalls how, HIV positive, pregn ant, addicted to drugs and alcohol, she faced the hardest decision of hr life. Refusing doctors' and social workers' pressures to abort, she redirected her life, educating herself about HIV, turning to the Creator for guidance. Iron Boy and her partner remember their anxiety when they learned their baby daughter contained her mother's HIV. Bertha credits her daughter with her return to Lakota culture and spirituality, and helping her to find a purpose in life. First-person, strong experience, award-winning Minnesota-based Native producer.

      CONTEMPORARY ART OF THE NAVAJO NATION, Dan Bigbee Jr., 1994, 26 minutes. Santa Fe, 505-473-3466. Navjo producer made this documentary to accompany an exhibition presented by the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art. Firve Navajo artists are interviewed: Christin McHorse, potter; Delbert Buck, woodcarver; Mamie Deschillie, cardboard cutouts and mud toys; Robin Wellito, woodcarver; Florence Riggs, weaver.

      KANATSIOHAREKE -- PLACE OF THE CLEAN POT, Producer Melanie Printup Hope, 518456-8360, 1994,29 mins, Tom Porter, Mohawk Faithkeeper, narrates a history beginning with the creation story and ending with the Mohawk people returning from Akwesasne reeservation to their traditional homeland in the Mohawk valley. Downplays the 1989-90 civil war over Akwesasne gambling gambling (which this faction -- anti-gambling-- lost) which actually led to the move.

      NATIVE TV, the video part of "This Path We Travel" National Museum of the American Indian's initial installation. Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie, 1994, 18 mins. Available through Sandra Hanley, NMAI-Smithsonian, 470 L'Enfant, Washington, DC 20560, 202-287-2525. Native humor laced with satiric ironical social-political overtones.

      NO PLACE TO CALL HOME, 1994, 7 mins., Reginald Taylor. Documentary video explores lives of the homeless and problms they face in the streets. Distributor: American Indian Center, Minneapolis, 612-522-4436

      PRAIRIE ISLAND, 6 minutes, 1994. Documentary on the pollution caused by the Northern States Power nuke next to the Dakota reservation there. Distributed by Upper Midwest American Indian Center, 612-522-4436.

      Note: videos distributed by Upper Midwest Indian Center were made by video students there. Price arrangements are not at this time clear. For example I was quoted the price of $100 for a 6-minute student-made video, which no one in their right mind would pay. They're not really set up to sell or rent.

      Sound Tapes

      The following sound tapes are available from The Mail Order Company, 800-695-2241.

      • American Indian Myths and Legends, cassette audiotape with selected readings by Erdoes and Ortiz from their justly famous myths collection (see YA review). tribal music and background sound effeects. This is quite good, but neithr of these guys is the storyteller Bruchac (see below) is. 90 minute tape, $10.95.

      • Keepers of the Earth,, double audio cassette. Abenaki storyteller Jospeh Bruchac reads stories extracted from the integrated native-centered science and environmental activities book. Seems to somewhat defeat the purpose of stories like that: kids learning to read. They don't style him a storyteller for nothing, it's good, sound effects, voice intonnations, Native musical background. $16.95 the set.

      • Reservation of Education, Robby Bee and the Boyz from th Rez. Powwow hip-hop, these guys are da greatest. "Land of the Wannabe Free," "Stand and be counted" and many more. These guys really move when they perform. They're great. Rap and hip-hop are not suited for expressing spiritual themes, it's anger that drives the beat and the moves, but a cooler and longer-lasting anger than in the Black variety of this music. And you'll hear no dissing of women from these men. $10.50

      • Electric Warrior: Oh my! The old folks -- Daddy Tom Bee and AIM leader-turned-movie-star Russell Means -- join the Boyz. Daddy Tom was an Indun rocker back when, when it was all going on: Wounded Knee. XIT was the band. Hey cassette tapes weren't invented then, CD's -- no. We played big platters, by a guy running round and round it with a sharp stick digging the grooves.That's what it means, kidz, diggin'it, often called in th' groove. Somebody does it too much they get bent out of shape from bending over the big platter and running with the sharp stick dug into it. Groovy, we usta call them people. Daddy Tom stayed with the music and has formed a recording company that represents many Indun artists of various musical backgrounds. Here the older and younger musical warriors sing "rap-ajo" political songs. Leonard Peltier's history featured, treaties, pigs, wups my younger days showing, PO-leece offisas killing people. Russ always has been a rapper (doesn't really rock though), good tape. $10.50

      • In the Spirit of Crazy Horse This you hear all the time at powwows from people's cars and small tape players of Security. It's songs for Leonard Peltier, and when it first came out, you supposedly got one phone call with him (though in fact he rarely was able to make them). Now of course he's been moved around twice to other prisons. The latest Parole board hearing is still stalled as I write this. Portion of the sales proceeds goes to his defense committee. $10

      • And they have several tapes by flutist Carlos Nakai, the Kiowa Gourd Dance songs by St. Paul educator Cornell Pewewardy,, medicine, Sun Dance and powwow songs. And there are some other spoken audiotapes too. Get their catalog.

      • OJIBWE MUSIC FROM MINNESOTA: A CENTURY OF SONG FOR VOICE AND DRUM, tape and 16-page booklet, Thomas Vennum, Jr. Minnesota Historical Society C-003, $9.95; MHS, 800-647-7827; Orders: Dept. 121, 345 Kellog Blvd, St. Paul, MN 55102.

        Venum's booklet is a paperbound reprint of OJIBWE MUSIC FROM MINNESOTA: CONTINUITY AND CHANGE, sponsored by the Minnesota Historical Society and State Arts Board. The booklet is a general intro to Indian music, focussing on Ojibwe. There's a brief discussion of the unique recordings and transcriptions of hundreds of songs collected in the early 20th century by ethnologist Frances Densmore, using early recording techniques. The tape contains some music over a century by various Minnesota Ojibwe singers, and a lot of music sung (and explained) at a 1988 competition powwow held in northern Minnesota. Vennum provids very brief translations (not transcriptions) of the meaningful words that form themes of the older songs, and points out that younger drum groups don't know thje language or the song meaningsd, often singing just "vocables". Most interesting is a comparison on a dream song by Kimiwun, recorded in 1910 by Densmore at Ponemah on the Red Lake rez, in contrast to its current version by the Ponemah singers. The booklet-tape combination is a fine intro to Native music -- a must-have for any school having a substantial Ojibwe population, but also suitable for non-Indian schools as providing something more for teachers and students than merely the sound of drums or flutes and incomprehensible words. Vennum's booklet places native music in two contexts: the earlier where it has many functions of Native people for themselves (Dream Songs, Mocassin Game Songs, Story Songs, Love Songs), and the later, where powwows have come to be commercial events highly influenced by completition dancing and the prize money. Not covered are medicine songs of the Midewiwin lodge, of which Densmore recorded hundreds in the primitive technology of the day, but also provided scored transcriptions, from which simple songs might be recovered when the wax cylinders are missing or unplayable. The tape-booklet combo is very highly recommended.

        The following cassette tapes are available from Oyate, 510-848-6700, see Symbols page for more info:

      • THE BOY WHO LIVED WITH BEARS, AND OTHER ROQUOIS STORIES, 1990, Joseph Bruchac telling stories of Rabbit, Buzzard, Turtle and Bear; complementary to Bruchac's storybook by the same name. $11

      • IROQUOIS STORIES, 1988, Joseph Bruchac telling traditional stories. $10

      • GRANDMOTHER STORIES, Ojibway. Three generations of Ojibwe women -- grandma, mother, daughter (Arey, Dunn, Humphrey), tell traditional women's stories, with granddaughter Annette Humphrey providing flute accompaniment. Complements Ann Dunn's book When Beaver Was Very Great. $10

      • ANTELOPE WOMAN and LESS THAN HALF, MORE THAN WHOLE. 1995, Kathleen Lacapa (Mohawk) and Michael Lacapa (Apache/Hopi/Tewa), one tape. The first story tells how apache were instructed to honor all things great and small; the second is a story for mixed-blood childre who, like the corn, are less than half, more than whole.$9

      • HOW RABBIT TRICKED OTTER AND OTHR CHEROKEE ANIMAL STORIES, Gayle Ross (Cheroke); stories complement Ross's book How Rabbit Tricked Otter and How Turtle's Back was Cracked, $11

      • THE GIFT OF THE GREAT SPIRIT, Tehanatorens (Ray Fadden), Mohawk. Lesson-stories told by this venerable, creative Akwesasne Mohawk elder, who in the 1940's began the revival of almost-dead Mohawk language and culture. $10.

        Oyate also carries a number of other audio tapes (and adds to the list in its catalog on supplements it regularoly issues). Some examples: most of John Trudell's tapes; a speech by AIM leader Dennis Banks; several tapes by Floyd Westerman; music tapes Buddy Red Bow; Inyuki; Elk Whistle Singers.


      These tapes-- which accompany thir books -- are available from Fulcrum Publishihng, 350 Indiana Suite 350; Golden, CO 80401; 800-992-2908

      • KEEPERS OF THE EARTH: Native American Stories, audiocassette, Abenaki storyteller Joseph Bruchac reads stories from this book, 2 cassettes, $16.95
      • KEEPERS OF THE EARTH, NATIVE AMERICAN ANIMAL STORIES Joseph Bruchac, reading stories from this book, 2 cassettes, $16.95
      • KEEPERS OF LIFE: NATIVE AMERICAN PLANT STORIES, Joseph Bruchac, 2 cassettes, $16.95
      • ALL ONE EARTH: SONGS FOR THE GENERATIONS, accompanies all of the "Kepers" series, songs affirming connection to the earth and each other, composed sung and played by "Keepers" series co-author Michael Caduto, cassette $9.95, CD $14.95

      • Recommended 1997 calendar (available in August, 1996), ideal for classrooms: NATIVE AMERICAN VISIONS, with 12 beautiful paintings by talented Ojibwe artist Sam English, each accompanied by a quote from historic and present-day Native leaders. Published in cooperation with American Indian Science and Engineering Society, $10.95


      Be aware that a language cannot actually be learned from tapes -- that live instructon in conversational style with Native speakers as teachers, and some immersion in a community where the language is spoken day to day are required. But from tapes you can get pronunciation practice, and the use of audiotapes is part of most school native language instruction.

      • AUDIO-FORUM WHOLE LANGUAGE CATALOG, Room G652, 96 Broad Street, Guilford, CT 06437; 800-243-1234 (directory assistance) Language instruction (of varying quality), music and storyreadings on cassette tape. Included are materials on Cherokee, Choctaw, Kiowa, Lakota, Lenape (Delaware), Mohawk, Navajo, Passamaquoddy, Tlingit and other tribes. The quality of instructional materials is extremely variable. Languages that are essentially dead -- such as those of the Eastern tribes -- are reconstrructed from old written materials; there are no native speakers and these languages are not spoken in any communities on a daily basis. For "living" languages like Lakota, evaluations should be done by competent Native speakers before the tapes are released for classroom use. I would be very grateful to receive such evaluations of any of the many Native language materials AF carries.

      • OJIBWE LANGUAGE COURSE MATERIALS, Indian Country Communications; Rt. 2, Box 2900-A; Hayward, WI 54843. 715-634-5226. Course materials were developed by Native speakers from several Ojibwe tribes, and experienced Native language teachers. They include: (1) Beginning Ojibwe vocabulary (60 minute tape, Ojibwe-English workbook), $22; developed by Ojibwe Mekana in Duluth, Minnesota, for tribal and city Native schools.(2) Intermediate vocabulary, 60-minute tape, translation book, $21. Ojibwe Mekana. (3) Advanced Vocabulary, 60 minute tape, booklet. Developed by Rosemary Christiansen and other experienced Native language teachers to carry on Ojibwe Mekana language instruction. Although each of these curriculum sets is called "vocabulary" the learner is introduced clearly and simply to sentences and grammar (parts of speech, formation of compounds which is one of the most complex and necessary features of Ojibwe language). Phonetic (not the marked-up anthro) spellings are used in the written materials. ICC also offers Coy Eklund's 275-page Ojibwe language book ($24) which is mostly a lot of useful everyday phrases, without systematic instruction. This book is made almost useless by lack of a tape with correct pronunciations to memorize.

        There are substantial discounts for bulk orders of 6 or more sets for school or program use. ICC is a native-owned and operated company. The instructional materials, originally developed for Native schools in Minnesota, are frequently used by older Anishnaabeg people who wish to expand their small (or non-existent) knowledge of their native language. They are well-planned for both classroom and individual self-instruction.

        Anishinaabe people are widespread north and south the the Great Lakes in the U.S. and Canada. Accent, pronunciation, vocabulary differences have devloped. The "Minnesota accent" might not sound authentic to Ojibwe peoples from Canada, for example. Where Ojibwe and Cree have lived close together for a long time, there has been some mingling of the languages (Cree has the same Algonquian roots), especially in cities like Winnipeg. Some tribes have and some haven't adopted anthropologists' orthographic characters -- which I am very much against because it messes up computers, makes all sorts of printing more difficult and expensive, and can't be used at all in computer databases. In general, dspite differnces in accent and vocabulary,l native speakers can understand and be understood all around the Great Lakes.

        I get many requests, generally from college or city-dwelling young adults with some Native heritage for language instruction materials. I would appreciate being informed by Native speakers who have some experience as language teachers where good ones in their own languages exist and how they can be ordered. Anyone who can evaluate any of the AF tape-booklets is invited to do so, email me your "reviw". Please ID your own tribe with such a review, and if you are evaluating someone else's language, explain how you happened to become a fluent native speaker in it (i.e. enrolled in one tribe but raised on a different rez, or parents from different tribes but one family fluent native-speakers). Tribes, band councils, and native schools who have developed such materials they are willing to sell to the general public ar invited to send me info -- I can partially evaluate instruction materials such as workbooks, but of course must rely on your own Native speakers for my assumption that language tapes will also be good.

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    Webmistress --Paula Giese. Text and graphics copyright 1996

    CREDITS: The eagle started life as a real golden eagle photographed as he was being released from the Minnesota Raptor Center, much worked over with graphics utilities for the iridescent abalone-shell wing effect.

    Last Updated: Sunday, May 12, 1996 - 6:01:06 AM