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BellaOnline's Native American Editor

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January 30 2008 Native American Newsletter


There is still snow on the mountains surrounding Washoe County, but the days are gradually getting longer and hopefully this week will be sunny and warm enough to catch up on some sight seeing. I have lived in Nevada for over 10 years now and can never get enough of checking out our area's rich heritage. Washoe county is teeming with Native American influences. It is a great place to go looking for petroglyphs, rock art, museums and other wonderful sights that ancestors of the past have handed down to us. As always, remember when you are sight seeing, looking for indications of the past, or just enjoying nature, to please leave it as you found it so others can enjoy it.

One great place to start is at the Spanish Springs Library, located on the Pyramid Highway on the way out to Pyramid Lake. This is a great destination for the entire family. It has a children's library, teen zone, community meeting rooms, a coffee bar, a game area where anyone can play board games, something for everybody. With distinct Native American designs the decor features petroglyph examples to be found in local caves and rocks and a unique carpet treatment showing a traditional Paiute basket weave pattern. They have a wealth of information, books and magazines on Native American culture and history.

Petroglyphs, ancient writing by Indigenous Peoples, usually give us a message or story of history or rituals and sometimes just daily occurrences in the life of the ancients who walked here before us. Sometimes, a petroglyph was made as a sign for other members of a tribe, showing where they can find water or some other important information. A few miles south of Gold Point, Nevada, is a petroglyph site at a place called 'Hanging Mesa'. These abstract images are from 2000 to 4000 years old and were probably scratched out by hunter/gatherer people. The mesa is above 7400 feet elevation, but, hey! if you are up to it, it is worth seeing and the views from up there are spectacular!

There is a lot of rock art sites in White Pine County, but all of them are very difficult to access even with high-clearance vehicles, and that would only get you up to a place where you have to hike the rest of the way. If you are energetic and determined, you can contact the archaeologist at the US Forest Service for information on locations and how to get there. It is strongly stated to "Take only photographs and leave nothing but footprints". These sites are easily destroyed by touching or applying anything to them. So, please, do not touch them in any manner, just enjoy the beauty of them and take a few pictures for your memory box.

Nevada's Native American historical traditions and sites are rich, some dating back to 10,000 years ago like the rock shelters located throughout the Great Basin and Mojave Desert. By preserving them we gain an understanding of the spirit of the ancestors and their messages.

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Around The Nation:

Carole Anne Heart, executive director of the Aberdeen Area Tribal Chairman's Health Board died Friday, Jan. 25, from cancer. Carole Anne was honored with a statement entered into the Congressional Record. She was an advocate for health care treaty rights for Native American Tribes. Carole Anne Heart was a Sicangu Lakota and was an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and the Yankton Sioux Tribe.

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Beginning next week, area colleges in Monroe County, New York, will conduct the first Native American Film Festival. This area was home to the Algonquin and Seneca tribes. The festival will run from February 4 to early April. The Rochester Area Native American Studies Consortium is responsible for this historical effort in portraying Native Americans in a truthful manner, unlike the stereotype characters of the Hollywood films in the past. The festival will be held on local area campuses. They plan on having several events each month and will screen films with discussions following.

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Recipe:

Indian Berry Soup

This healthy, delicious treat is similar to pudding. Use dried berries like Saskatoons (serviceberries) or currants if Saskatoons are not available. Soak about one and a half cup of berries in water till almost tender (just enough water to cover). Mix with three quarts of meat broth and let it boil till berries are really tender. Mix a little water into one fourth cup flour to make a thin paste, use this as a thickening, stirring the whole time you are adding it to the berries. Sweeten with sugar to taste and serve with Fry Bread (yup! again, Fry Bread - I love it!)

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If you have an event you would like posted or are looking for a favorite recipe, let me know and I will post it for you. Have a great week!




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