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October 31, 2013

This Day in the Maya Calendar: November 2013

Cholq'ij, the Maya sacred ceremonial calendar of 260 days—a cycle of 20 Day deities and 13 numbers—is the basis of the Maya spirituality that survives to this time, practiced daily among millions of Maya people, in thousands of communities. The interpretation of the days can vary from one Maya people to another. The interpretations given here are based on sustained conversations and participation over three decades with Maya Q'eqchi calendar priest Roderico Teni and daykeeping families in the area of Cobán, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala, by Jose Barreiro (Taíno), head of NMAI’s Office of Latin America, and his wife, Katsi Cook (Mohawk). Glyphs representing the Day lords appear throughout Maya Country; these were painted by Esteban Pop Caal (Q'eqchi Maya) of Cobán.

For more background to this series, please see Jose's introduction, "Living in the Practice." For further insight into the role of the Day lords in everyday life, please see the Maya Journal. For the complete year so far, please see the Maya calendar archive.

Illustrations: Esteban Pop Caal (Q'eqchi Maya), calendar glyphs. Cobán, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala; 2003. Paint on wood. Purchased from the artist. 26/2685. Photos by Ernest Amoroso, NMAI 

10 Kat  |  Saturday, November 30, 2013

262685_KatCorresponding with this day in the Gregorian calendar is 10 Kat. Kat is Spider, also Web and Fire; 10 is a high balance. On Kat the unity of the people is paramount, and knowledge is deepened. Kat is the network of the sacred heart, the family hearth. Today is a good day to pray for your family fireplace, the spirit of the fire that belongs in the home, the one that calls other spirits to ceremony and speaks for them. Kat is the net that hauls in the fish and the net that holds the ears of corn, a day that can bring the fruition of things and the untangling of complications. This is a good day to help free prisoners from captivity, to request vigor and power for the weak. —Jose Barreiro 

9 Aqbal  |  Friday, November 29, 2013

262685_Aqbal

Corresponding with this day in the Gregorian calendar is 9 Aqbal. Aqbal is the Dawn, also Bat; 9 is a triple rotor. Aqbal is clarity, the separation of darkness and light as the Sun disperses the fog and obscurity of night. This is a good day to ask for a peaceful and happy daybreak, a day to find hidden and lost things, a day to wash away tears of sadness. On Aqbal, the sacred fire is recognized and appreciated. Aqbal is a good day to clean the ashes (renew the heart) of a fireplace and to present a new baby to el Mundo. A potential bride or groom can be revealed on this day. Harvesting of corn can begin on this day. People born on Aqbal relate in the present and are a special link between past and future. They are early risers, good workers, tranquil and kind, strong before an enemy, good researchers and finders of hidden things, often called "the candle of the home." —J. B.  

8 Iq  |  Thursday, November 28, 2013

262685_IqCorresponding with this day in the Gregorian calendar is 8 Iq. Iq is Wind, also Moon; 8 is a double balance. Wind is powerful, violent, driven of itself, identity. A day of strong emotion, Iq is also a healing day. Good wind is nutritional for human minds; it is the mystic breath and vital inspiration of nature. On Iq, a breeze or wind that splits against your face is a blessing and a cleansing to purge your head and body of illness. Respiratory ills are prayed over on this day. This is a good day to appreciate all of Creation. The Day lord Iq is one of the four Yearbearers, or mams, a creator who helped finish the world and put breath (essence) in human beings. People born on Iq are inclined toward spiritual ways and can impulsively tap into cosmic sources. —J. B. 

7 Imox  |  Wednesday, November 27, 2013

262685_ImoxCorresponding with this day in the Gregorian calendar is 7 Imox. Imox is Lizard; 7 is a pivotal number. Imox is the very force of gravity and a good day to pray for creativity and for rain. Imox can open el Mundo to receive cosmic messages. Known as a "crazy" day, Imox requires much concentration and control. A day of high male intelligence, also impatience and agitation, Imox can be difficult. Grounded on its left side, left arm, this day is easily unbalanced and in need of clasping left and right hands. Imox can be good if held in the balance of the Heart of Sky and Heart of Earth; unattended, Imox can manifest imbalance, mental nervousness, and even death. People born on Imox are open and sincere, but indecisive—in need of ceremony to set the positive to override the negative. —J. B.  

6 Ajpu  | Tuesday, November 26, 2013

262685_AjpuCorresponding with this day in the Gregorian calendar is 6 Ajpu. Ajpu is Caracol, Spiral Shell; 6 is a middle, even number. Ajpu is the Sun, captain of time, a day of personal strength and for good to triumph over evil. Ajpu, who cares for boys and guides men, begins the men's cycle. This is a day to connect with the ancestors, who can reward and punish. Death is reachable and amenable; spirits can ask permission to enter el Mundo, the living world. Day of the warrior and blowgun hunter (cerbatanero), Ajpu is the strong blow of the dart that hits its target, a good day to pray for stealth or for a break in enemy lines. Ajpu is also a good day to start building on a house, a good day to make prayers for women and for success in lactation. —J. B. 

5 Kawoq  |  Monday, November 25, 2013 

262685_Kawoq

Corresponding with this day in the Gregorian calendar is 5 Kawoq. Kawoq is Turtle, also Sky Serpent; 5 is one hand. Kawoq is a high woman day—a day of duality in all of nature and a guardian of contentment. It is the day of woman and man, lightning and thunder, fecundity and imagination; a day of midwives; a day of prayer for unity within the home, strength within the family, renewed strength for convalescents, and the smoothing of all irritation. This is a good day to turn bad medicine back on itself. Kawoq attends to young women in pregnancy, labor, and delivery, and to full realization for all women; it is a day of their sash. Kawoq is also a good day to commemorate the Staff of Authority, a good day for the men of a family and community to pray for the coffers (good fortune) of the women and for the protection of the home. Good midwives, writers, and architects are born on this day. —J. B. 

4 Tijax  |  Sunday,  November 24, 2013

262685_TijaxCorresponding with this day in the Gregorian calendar is 4 Tijax. Tijax is Fish, also Obsidian; 4 is a balance. Tijax is a day of doctors, good to pray for surgeons and all medical practitioners; a day of sacrifice and liberation from suffering; a day of sharp, cutting objects, of knives and scalpels and scissors. Tijax is a safeguard for domestic animals against predators, a good day to pray for all animals that are sacrificed, both in ceremony and in everyday life. Tijax is a good day to use metal (a machete, scissors) to "open the sky"—to solicit rain, solicit life, split black clouds. Gossip, calumny, and sorcery, on money and sexual matters, can be overcome on this day; on a high-number day, disputes can turn public and become debilitating. Tijax is a good day for seasoned masters to fortify daykeeping trainees against ridicule by envious countrymen or evangelicos. It is not a good day to plant. —J. B.  

3 Noj  |  Saturday, November 23, 2013

262685_NojCorresponding with this day in the Gregorian calendar is 3 Noj. Noj is Woodpecker; 3 is a rotor. Noj is a woman's highest intelligence. Maya knowledge and wisdom live in this day—good science to support positive deeds, good projects, good business, a good home. On Noj good ideas are available through the intelligence connected to the movement of the earth. Boys born on this day have important female qualities and can be attentive to the knowledge of nature, which rules all. Girls born on this day can be clear leaders. This is a good day to hear advice and make decisions, a good day to feed the mind, recognize curiosity, and strengthen memory. Noj is one of the four Yearbearers. —J. B.  

2 Ajmac  |  Friday, November 22, 2013

6a01156f5f4ba1970b01a511a2ada0970c-200wiCorresponding with this day in the Gregorian calendar is 2 Ajmac. Ajmac is Bee, also Vulture; 2 is duality. On Ajmac ancestor spirits can detect and smooth the thread of time in our lives. Prudence, intelligence, ancient wisdom are in this day. This is a day to plead forgiveness for serious faults and to be judged. It is a day that demands moral rectitude, respect, and sincere analysis. On this day our faults (stains) must be faced and paid for; humble request for pity is encouraged. Ajmac is a propitious day for the women of a household to make peace with one another after conflict, to apologize for sharp words; it is a good day to pray for smooth relationships and the renewal of agreements among women. Hard luck can face those born on Ajmac. —J. B. 

1 Tz'ikin  | Thursday, November 21, 2013

262685_Tz'ikinCorresponding with this day in the Gregorian calendar is 1 Tz'ikin. Tz'ikin is Bird, best represented by the Hummingbird, also the Quetzal and Eagle; 1 is the beginning. Tz'ikin carries messages between the Heart of Earth and Heart of Sky. Cold, heat, light, air, cloud are its elements. Love, intuition, precognition are strong in those born on this day. Tz'ikin is a good day for humans to follow birds to the corn—to find good material luck. This is a good day to ask for revelation and intelligence, for vision, and for abundance; a good day to ask for collaboration in projects or for personal freedom. On this day, women have the privilege to ask for their husbands and sons to triple the family money. —J. B.  

13 I'x  | Wednesday, November 20, 2013 

262685_I'x

Corresponding with this day in the Gregorian calendar is 13 I'x. I'x is Jaguar; 13 is the highest turbulence. I'x is woman's energy day. This is a day to connect with your own land and to pray for its original owners; to pray for and appreciate your house; to pray for the finances to buy and sustain land; to ask for fertility in humans and animals; to request vigor and strength for reproductive organs, particularly female. I'x is a good day to pray to the mountains in favor of the land. It is a good day for a woman to request strength in her husband's commitment to matrimonial stability. People born on I'x have a close relationship to el Mundo and receive good access to precious metals. I'x is a good day for solitude and meditation. —J. B. 

12 Aj  |  Tuesday, November 19, 2013 

262685_AjCorresponding with this day in the Gregorian calendar is 12 Aj. Aj is Cane Reed; 12 is the highest balance. Aj begins the women's cycle, sentiments of family and home, the spinal cord. Aj is life and receives life. This is a day of resurgence and renewal, as in the reed and the corn; a day for the triumph of good over evil, life over death; a day of happiness, renewal of food, money, the heart of life. People born on this day renew their communities; they are sickly as children and sturdy as adults; they are especially lucky; they are good awakeners of their families and communities; they make good midwives. Aj is a good day to ask for clarity of destiny, a good day to pray for the protection of your life and of the newborn, a good day to pray for twins, a good day to pray for humanity. —J. B. 

11 Eh  |  Monday, November 18, 2013

262685_EhCorresponding with this day in the Gregorian calendar is 11 Eh. Eh is Bobcat, also the Path and the Tooth; 11 is high turbulence. Eh can orient individuals, groups, or communities to their destiny. Eh is the day to ask for protection from dangers and obstructions during travels—specifically, that on your road the attention of thieves or highway police or border inspectors will be deviated from your trajectory. Solitude is in Eh, light rain, kindness, alignment. People born on this day can be good counselors, spiritual guides with the gift of prayer to Ajaw (Creator) on the destiny of things. Also, good dentists are born on this day. Eh is one of the four pillars of the 20 days, a Yearbearer—a strong, especially sacred day. A prayer started in Batz can be carried by Eh through the full cycle of 20 days. —J. B. 

10 Batz  |  Sunday, November 17, 2013

262685_BatzCorresponding with this day in the Gregorian calendar is 10 Batz. Batz is Monkey; 10 is a high balance. Monkey braid, monkey fingers, monkey tail, Batz is the grasp of the monkey's hand so tight and braided the fist will not let go, even in death. Batz is a good day for beginnings, and for some Maya daykeepers, Batz begins the 20-day calendar. Batz is unity, a good day to tie things together, a good day for a marriage or to start a construction, a good day for initiation into the ways. Batz is the thread of time that rolls out from under the earth, weaving life until cut, weaving time into history. People born on Batz are calm and self-confident; they make good spiritual guides and leaders, and goodhearted architects. —J. B. 

9 Tzi  | Saturday, November 16, 2013

262685_TziCorresponding with this day in the Gregorian calendar is 9 Tzi. Tzi is the Canine, the guardian; 9 is a triple rotor. Dog, Wolf, Coyote, Tzi can be snarly, terrifying the unprepared with his bark and his bite. Tzi people are zealous to guard the sacredness of ceremony, to identify and punish "intruders," those not disciplined to participate. Benevolent to friends and fierce to enemies, Tzi is steady to reward or punish. Tzi will punish those who disrespect the Days and the spirit of the family. This is a good day to ask for mystic insight for leaders so that they can seek and discover hidden things, so that they can be just. Tzi has strong sexual energy, hard to restrain. When this energy is defined, people born on Tzi make loyal friends, husbands, and wives. —J. B. 

8 Toj  |  Friday, November 15, 2013

262685_TojCorresponding with this day in the Gregorian calendar is 8 Toj. Toj is the mystic Fish—the tear of jade and drops of rain, water falling; 8 is a double balance. Toj is a day of making even, a good day to pay spiritual and financial debts and to collect what you are owed. This is a day of evenness for a family, a good day for parents to pay the family's debt to el Mundo, good for the oldest son to appreciate the father and the father to appreciate the mountain. Illness can be deviated from the family by making a ceremonial offering on this day. —J. B.  

7 Anil  |  Thursday, November 14, 2013

262685_AnilCorresponding with this day in the Gregorian calendar is 7 Anil. Anil is the fertility in the seed, Anil is Rabbit; 7 is a pivotal number. Anil is red, white, yellow, black—the four colors of corn, the seed of life that is the unity of the world. Anil is renewal after death, regeneration of the earth. Anil people are four-directions people and can be good travelers. This is a day of coming back, a day to generate and appreciate abundance, a day of declaring love to create a new relationship, a day to announce the wish to do business, a day of finding lost things, a day to ask for help in overcoming shyness. —J. B. 

6 Kiej  |  Wednesday, November 13, 2013

262685_KiejCorresponding with this day in the Gregorian calendar is 6 Kiej. Kiej is the Deer; 6 is a middle, even number. Kiej is the four directions, four hoofs striking the earth at once, the quaternity of the cosmos linked to prayer, highest aviso to el Mundo—the living world. Kiej is the staff of authority, keen energy of a chief to detect danger, perception of the leader buck, his horns. Kiej is a good day to pray for mental and physical agility, a day of agile travelers and good communicators. It is a day also to ask for clarity before gossip and ill intentions. A major gift of nature, Kiej holds indefatigable energy. He is one of the four main carriers of time. —J. B. 

5 Kame  |  Tuesday, November 12, 2013 

262685_KameCorresponding with this day in the Gregorian calendar is 5 Kame. Kame is the Owl and the recognition of death; 5 is one hand. A day that recalls the night, tranquility, and silence, Kame is a good day to ask for the ancient and recent ancestors who have gone on, to thank them, and to remember them with purpose. This is an appropriate day to extend reconciliation, to feel and give forgiveness, to develop patience, to invoke against mortal illnesses, to access superior knowledge. Without fear, it is a good day to approach the spiritual dimension, "the enchantment." —J. B. 

4 Kan  |  Monday, November 11, 2013 

262685_Kan

Corresponding with this day in the Gregorian calendar is 4 Kan. Kan is the Snake; 4 is a balance. Kan is the ancient origin—Gucumatz, the Plumed Serpent. This is a day of strict and impartial justice, a day of definition and maturity, and a good day to offer respect and to thank the corn. On Kan, matters of justice, judges, and courts can be cleared up. This is a good day to pray that truth and justice are manifest in the Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth; a good day to put aside jealousies and request equilibrium in life and in the family. It is a day to ask for physical strength and patience, to contemplate our spiritual evolution, and to rekindle the internal fire. —J. B. 

3 Kat  |  Sunday, November 10, 2013

262685_KatCorresponding with this day in the Gregorian calendar is 3 Kat. Kat is Spider, also Web and Fire; 3 is a rotor. On Kat the unity of the people is paramount, and knowledge is deepened. Kat is the network of the sacred heart, the family hearth. Today is a good day to pray for your family fireplace, the spirit of the fire that belongs in the home, the one that calls other spirits to ceremony and speaks for them. Kat is the net that hauls in the fish and the net that holds the ears of corn, a day that can bring the fruition of things and the untangling of complications. This is a good day to help free prisoners from captivity, to request vigor and power for the weak. —J. B.  

2 Aqbal  |  Saturday, November 9, 2013

262685_Aqbal

Corresponding with this day in the Gregorian calendar is 2 Aqbal. Aqbal is the Dawn, also Bat; 2 is duality. Aqbal is clarity, the separation of darkness and light as the Sun disperses the fog and obscurity of night. This is a good day to ask for a peaceful and happy daybreak, a day to find hidden and lost things, a day to wash away tears of sadness. On Aqbal, the sacred fire is recognized and appreciated. Aqbal is a good day to clean the ashes (renew the heart) of a fireplace and to present a new baby to el Mundo. A potential bride or groom can be revealed on this day. Harvesting of corn can begin on this day. People born on Aqbal relate in the present and are a special link between past and future. They are early risers, good workers, tranquil and kind, strong before an enemy, good researchers and finders of hidden things, often called "the candle of the home." —J. B. 

1 Iq  |  Friday, November 8, 2013

262685_IqCorresponding with this day in the Gregorian calendar is 1 Iq. Iq is Wind, also Moon; 1 is the beginning. Wind is powerful, violent, driven of itself, identity. A day of strong emotion, Iq is also a healing day. Good wind is nutritional for human minds; it is the mystic breath and vital inspiration of nature. On Iq, a breeze or wind that splits against your face is a blessing and a cleansing to purge your head and body of illness. Respiratory ills are prayed over on this day. This is a good day to appreciate all of Creation. The Day lord Iq is one of the four Yearbearers, or mams, a creator who helped finish the world and put breath (essence) in human beings. People born on Iq are inclined toward spiritual ways and can impulsively tap into cosmic sources. —J. B. 

13 Imox  |  Thursday, November 7, 2013

262685_ImoxCorresponding with this day in the Gregorian calendar is 13 Imox. Imox is Lizard; 13 is the highest turbulence. Imox is the very force of gravity and a good day to pray for creativity and for rain. Imox can open el Mundo to receive cosmic messages. Known as a "crazy" day, Imox requires much concentration and control. A day of high male intelligence, also impatience and agitation, Imox can be difficult. Grounded on its left side, left arm, this day is easily unbalanced and in need of clasping left and right hands. Imox can be good if held in the balance of the Heart of Sky and Heart of Earth; unattended, Imox can manifest imbalance, mental nervousness, and even death. People born on Imox are open and sincere, but indecisive—in need of ceremony to set the positive to override the negative. —J. B. 

12 Ajpu  | Wednesday, November 6, 2013

262685_AjpuCorresponding with this day in the Gregorian calendar is 12 Ajpu. Ajpu is Caracol, Spiral Shell; 12 is the highest balance. Ajpu is the Sun, captain of time, a day of personal strength and for good to triumph over evil. Ajpu, who cares for boys and guides men, begins the men's cycle. This is a day to connect with the ancestors, who can reward and punish. Death is reachable and amenable; spirits can ask permission to enter el Mundo, the living world. Day of the warrior and blowgun hunter (cerbatanero), Ajpu is the strong blow of the dart that hits its target, a good day to pray for stealth or for a break in enemy lines. Ajpu is also a good day to start building on a house, a good day to make prayers for women and for success in lactation. —J. B. 

11 Kawoq  |  Tuesday, November 5, 2013 

262685_Kawoq

Corresponding with this day in the Gregorian calendar is 11 Kawoq. Kawoq is Turtle, also Sky Serpent; 11 is high turbulence. Kawoq is a high woman day—a day of duality in all of nature and a guardian of contentment. It is the day of woman and man, lightning and thunder, fecundity and imagination; a day of midwives; a day of prayer for unity within the home, strength within the family, renewed strength for convalescents, and the smoothing of all irritation. This is a good day to turn bad medicine back on itself. Kawoq attends to young women in pregnancy, labor, and delivery, and to full realization for all women; it is a day of their sash. Kawoq is also a good day to commemorate the Staff of Authority, a good day for the men of a family and community to pray for the coffers (good fortune) of the women and for the protection of the home. Good midwives, writers, and architects are born on this day. —J. B.  

10 Tijax  | Monday,  November 4, 2013

262685_TijaxCorresponding with this day in the Gregorian calendar is 10 Tijax. Tijax is Fish, also Obsidian; 10 is a high balance. Tijax is a day of doctors, good to pray for surgeons and all medical practitioners; a day of sacrifice and liberation from suffering; a day of sharp, cutting objects, of knives and scalpels and scissors. Tijax is a safeguard for domestic animals against predators, a good day to pray for all animals that are sacrificed, both in ceremony and in everyday life. Tijax is a good day to use metal (a machete, scissors) to "open the sky"—to solicit rain, solicit life, split black clouds. Gossip, calumny, and sorcery, on money and sexual matters, can be overcome on this day; on a high-number day, disputes can turn public and become debilitating. Tijax is a good day for seasoned masters to fortify daykeeping trainees against ridicule by envious countrymen or evangelicos. It is not a good day to plant. —J. B.  

9 Noj  |  Sunday, November 3, 2013

262685_NojCorresponding with this day in the Gregorian calendar is 9 Noj. Noj is Woodpecker; 9 is a triple rotor. Noj is a woman's highest intelligence. Maya knowledge and wisdom live in this day—good science to support positive deeds, good projects, good business, a good home. On Noj good ideas are available through the intelligence connected to the movement of the earth. Boys born on this day have important female qualities and can be attentive to the knowledge of nature, which rules all. Girls born on this day can be clear leaders. This is a good day to hear advice and make decisions, a good day to feed the mind, recognize curiosity, and strengthen memory. Noj is one of the four Yearbearers. —J. B. 

8 Ajmac  |  Saturday, November 2, 2013

262685_AjmacCorresponding with this day in the Gregorian calendar is 8 Ajmac. Ajmac is Bee, also Vulture; 8 is a double balance. On Ajmac ancestor spirits can detect and smooth the thread of time in our lives. Prudence, intelligence, ancient wisdom are in this day. This is a day to plead forgiveness for serious faults and to be judged. It is a day that demands moral rectitude, respect, and sincere analysis. On this day our faults (stains) must be faced and paid for; humble request for pity is encouraged. Ajmac is a propitious day for the women of a household to make peace with one another after conflict, to apologize for sharp words; it is a good day to pray for smooth relationships and the renewal of agreements among women. Hard luck can face those born on Ajmac. —J. B. 

7 Tz'ikin  |  Friday, November 1, 2013

262685_Tz'ikinCorresponding with this day in the Gregorian calendar is 7 Tz'ikin. Tz'ikin is Bird, best represented by the Hummingbird, also the Quetzal and Eagle; 7 is a pivotal number. Tz'ikin carries messages between the Heart of Earth and Heart of Sky. Cold, heat, light, air, cloud are its elements. Love, intuition, precognition are strong in those born on this day. Tz'ikin is a good day for humans to follow birds to the corn—to find good material luck. This is a good day to ask for revelation and intelligence, for vision, and for abundance; a good day to ask for collaboration in projects or for personal freedom. On this day, women have the privilege to ask for their husbands and sons to triple the family money. —J. B.  

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Darrin N. Old Coyote, Chairman of the Crow Nation

In the interview series Meet Native America, the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian invites tribal leaders, cultural figures, and other interesting and accomplished Native individuals to introduce themselves and say a little about their lives and work. Together, their responses illustrate the diversity of the indigenous communities of the Western Hemisphere, as well as their shared concerns, and offer insights beyond what’s in the news to the ideas and experiences of Native peoples today. —Dennis Zotigh, NMAI 

Please introduce yourself with your name and title. 

Darrin N. Old Coyote—I'm the 21st chairman of the Crow Nation. I am also a member of the Piegan clan and a child of the Ties in a Bundle and Whistling Water.

Chairman podium-a
DarrinN. Old Coyote, chairman of the Crow Nation. Photo by Cordell Stewart, courtesy of the Crow Nation.

Can you share with us your Native name, its English translation and/or nickname? 

My Crow name is Ishbilaxxe Itche, which translates as His Drum Is Good. 

What responsibilities do you have as a tribal chairman?

The duties of the chairman of the Executive Branch are mandated in the Constitution adopted in 2001 and approved by the U. S. Secretary of Interior, which states:

1. to appoint Cabinet members including a Comptroller who shall be bonded, Chief Executive Officer and other such Cabinet positions adopted by Tribal Ordinance, Resolution or Policy or who shall serve in subordinate positions to the Tribal Officials;

2. to appoint committee members to Executive Branch committees;

3. to delegate, at his prerogative, his authority, in writing, to the Vice-chairman when the Chairman is unavailable. . . .

These are a few of the duties, but not all.

How did your life experience prepare you to lead? 

The economic condition of the Crow is very poor. Jobs number few. There are vast resources that can be developed to improve economic conditions of the Crow. Also, growing up in need and further realizing there needs to be a voice for the young, as well as the older ones, and gaining experience working with young and older alike gave me a road map to seek ways to help the Crow people.

Who inspired you as a mentor?  

Growing up in the home of my grandmother and learning her principles of life and shared experiences by elder family members.

Are you a descendant of a historical leader? If so, who? 

I am a sixth generation descendant of Sits in the Middle of the Land, principal chief of the Crow and negotiator of the Fort Laramie Treaty, also the descendant of great warriors and leaders numbering many.

Where is the Crow Nation located?

The Crow Indian Reservation is located in southeast central Montana, bordering Montana and Wyoming. Our capital, Crow Agency, is on the reservation.

Where are the Crow people originally from? 

Oral history is that the Crow are descendants of the Hidatsa living in the Woodlands in or around the Great Lakes region.

What is a significant point in history from your people that you would like to share? 

My ancestor was the principal chief who negotiated the treaty with the United States known as the Fort Laramie Treaty. The Crow still live today within the geographical points designated by this forefather. 

Approximately how many members are in your nation?

Duly enrolled members of the Crow number 13,000-plus.

What are the criteria to become a member?

A person has to be of one-quarter quantum of Crow blood.

Is your language still spoken on your homelands? If so, what percentage of your people would you estimate to be fluent speakers?

Crow speakers number less than fifty percent. Of these, approximately seventy percent are fluent Crow speakers.

What economic enterprises does the Crow Nation own?

The Crow are joint partners in the development of their solid and fluid minerals. Big Metal Coal Co. LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cloud Peak Energy Inc., established for the purpose of developing and mining high-quality sub-bituminous coal on the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana. Big Metal and the Crow Tribe signed an Exploration Agreement and an Option to Lease Agreement on January 24, 2013,during a signing ceremony in Crow Agency. These agreements were approved by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and provide Big Metal the opportunity to explore and define up to 1.4 billion tons of in-place coal in the southwestern portion of the reservation and to potentially exercise rights to lease all or portions of this coal for mining, subject to additional regulatory approvals.

If Big Metal exercises its options to lease, mining on the reservation likely would be supported by the existing operations and rail load-out infrastructure at Cloud Peak Energy’s Spring Creek Mine, which is located in Montana just off the reservation to the east. High-quality, low-sulfur Crow coal could meet demand for electric generating stations in the U.S. or Asia, helping to provide a safe, reliable, and affordable source of energy and significant economic opportunity for the Crow.

ChairmanWarbonnet a
DarrinN. Old Coyote, chairman of the Crow Nation. Photo by Cordell Stewart, courtesy of the Crow Nation.

What annual events does the Crow Nation sponsor? 

The Great Crow Fair, called the Teepee Capitol of the World, is sponsored by the Crow and has been held for 95 years, with the 96th annual fair coming up in 2014. The Crow Native Days celebration has been held annually for the past thirteen years; it's an event with activities for all age groups.

What attractions are available for visitors on your land?

There are several things that appeal to many people. There is Little Big Horn Battle site, known as Custer Battlefield; the Yellowtail Dam on the Big Horn River; and the great Crow Fair, which attracts tourists from all over the world.

How is the Crow national government set up?

The government of the Crow is comprised of three branches—Judicial, Legislative, and Executive. The Judicial Branch is headed up by elected judges. The Legislative Branch is comprised of eighteen members, three from each designated district on the Crow Reservation. The Executive Branch is made of four officers—the chairman, vice-chairman, secretary, and vice-secretary. All members of each branch are members of the Crow and are elected to office, holding terms of four years.

Is there a functional, traditional entity of leadership in addition to your modern government system?

No. The past leaders, known as chiefs, were called baacheitche, meaning "good men with war honors." This leadership had to be earned through battle honors and war trophies. It cannot be handed down, and people cannot be born into leadership.  

How often are elected leaders chosen?

Present-day leadership is voted into office, and this happens every four years. The current leaders were voted into office in the year 2012. The next election for the four will be 2016.

How often does the council meet?

The General Council is comprised of all members of the Crow Nation. The Crow executive officers hold General Council meetings four times a year. There are many committees that hold regular meetings that also aid the four executive officers.

How does your community deal with the United States as a sovereign nation?

The Crow are allowed by treaty to enact business within the best interest of the tribe, subject to approval by Secretary of the Interior on major issues. Through diligently meeting with U.S. government leadership, major actions by the Crow have been approved and allowed by the U.S. government.

What message would you like to share with Crow youth? 

Respect yourself, do not indulge in mind-altering substances, learn your native language, which is the Crow language, and listen to your parents and elders and respect them.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Thank you for the opportunity to share my experience, principles, and values.

Thank you. 

To read other interviews in this series, click on the banner below.  

Meet-native-america

From left to right: Representative Ponka-We Victors (Tohono O’odham/Southern Ponca) taking the oath of office in the Kansas House of Representatives; photo courtesy of Kansas Rep. Scott Schwab. Bird Runningwater (Cheyenne/Mescalero Apache) at the Sundance Film Festival; photo courtesy of WireImage. Sergeant Debra Mooney (Choctaw) at the powwow in Al Taqaddum Air Force Base, Iraq, 2004; photo courtesy of Sgt. Debra Mooney. Councilman Jonathan Perry (Wampanoag) in traditional clothing; photo courtesy of Jonathan Perry. Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne/Hodulgee Muscogee) at Blackhorse et al. v. Pro Football, Inc., press conference, U.S. Patent and Trade Office, February 7, 2013; photo courtesy of Mary Phillips.

All images used with permission. 

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October 30, 2013

NMAI Launches Its New Native Film & Media Catalog in . . . 3 . . . 2 . . . 1. . . !

Atanarjuat
Title page from the new catalog for Atanarjuat/The Fast Runner, directed by Zacharias Kunuk. 

 
The NMAI Film and Video Center (FVC) is pleased to announce a new resource on the museum’s website. The past forty years have seen the rise of indigenous media worldwide. Film, video, and other media have become arenas both for creative expression and for the exploration of ideas. They have also been used to present the accomplishments of Native communities and people, and the issues they face. 

Marcelina
People page for media maker Marcelina Cardénas.

To make information about indigenous films more widely available, the museum has launched an online Film & Media Catalog—descriptions of more than 1,000 titles by and about indigenous peoples from North, Central, and South America, as well as the Pacific region and the Arctic Circle, all of which have been screened by the museum since 1995 through its Native American Film + Video Festival and other screening programs. The works presented in the catalog include a variety of genres, both fiction and nonfiction, short and feature-length works. The catalog also provides profiles of more than 300 filmmakers and others associated with the films, and key information about the field of Native American and indigenous film and media. With its focus on productions and filmmakers from throughout the Americas, the catalog provides information, whenever possible, in both English and Spanish. 

The catalog is divided into three sections: film descriptions (under the heading Titles); profiles of individual mediamakers (People), and Native media organizations (Organizations). Information in the Titles and People sections is searchable by tribe, country, and region. 

Eyre
People page for director and producer Chris Eyre.
Pages for individual films include a succinct description, production credits, awards (when available), languages heard in the film, and distributors. Pages for individual filmmakers and actors include biographical profiles and titles of associated films that the museum has shown, with links to additional information. Some profiles also include transcribed interviews. The Organizations section provides contact information and links to international resource lists for organizations active in four areas—Native film and media support, Native film festivals, Native youth media, and Native radio—and to information about film distributors who appear on the Titles pages. 

The Film & Media Catalog is the result of feedback received from users of the FVC’s retired site, Native Networks, and of its printed film and video catalogs, and has been realized through the expert guidance of Native Networks coordinator, Wendy Allen, and the management and development of the museum’s Web Office. Information in the catalog is dynamically generated from the NMAI’s Indigenous Media Online database, originally administered by information services specialist Millie Seubert, now the work of FVC’s database coordinator, Fatima Mahdi. 

We hope you’ll visit the Film & Media Catalog and let us know what you think! 

—Elizabeth Weatherford


Elizabeth Weatherford is the founding director of NMAI’s Film and Video Center and of its Native American Film + Video Festival and Native Cinema Showcase. Since 1979, she has advocated for the development of a strong hemispheric program at NMAI in Native American and Indigenous film by providing a broad range of screenings and by developing an in-depth commitment to providing information services to the public, filmmakers, programmers, and scholars. 

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October 24, 2013

Delores Pigsley, Chairman of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians of Oregon

In the interview series Meet Native America, the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian invites tribal leaders, cultural figures, and other interesting and accomplished Native individuals to introduce themselves and say a little about their lives and work. Together, their responses illustrate the diversity of the indigenous communities of the Western Hemisphere, as well as their shared concerns, and offer insights beyond what’s in the news to the ideas and experiences of Native peoples today. —Dennis Zotigh, NMAI 


D Pigsley for NMAI 4
Delores Pigsley, chairman of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians of Oregon. Photo courtesy of the Confederated Tribes.
Please introduce yourself with your name and title.

Delores Pigsley, tribal chairman, Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians of Oregon.

Can you share with us your Native name, its English translation and/or nickname? 

It's not a Native name, but I go by Dee. 

Approximately how many members are in the Confederated Tribes? 

We have about 4,900 tribal members.

What are the criteria to become a member? 

You must possess at least one-sixteenth Siletz blood. Originally it was one quarter, but that has changed over the years. 

Where is your community located?  

We are on the Oregon coast, three hours southwest of Portland. Our tribal headquarters is located six miles inland. Our casino resort is right on the beach, 30-plus miles from our headquarters and a one-hour drive from Salem, the state capital.

Where was your community originally from? 

We were many bands moved from Northern California, southern Oregon’s Rogue and Umpqua Valleys, Oregon’s Willamette Valley, and the entire Oregon coast—about 20 million acres of homelands territory in all.

The Coast/Siletz Reservation was reserved for over 30 bands and tribes to be a permanent home. Ten separate languages are representated in our confederation, and those languages are from five completely different language families. 

Are your languages still spoken on your homelands?  

Today we teach the Athabaskan language that a large number of members spoke. We have very few fluent speakers, but we teach our language on a regular basis in the community and the local school. We have a dictionary and many aids to learn the language.

How is your government set up? How often are elected leaders chosen? 

Elections are held annually in February. We have nine Tribal Council members. Three people are elected each year for a three-year term of office. Generally 12 or 13 people run for council seats in each election. 

After the general election, the Tribal Council elects officers for that year —a tribal chairman, vice chairman, secretary, and treasurer. Our constitution and ordinances are our laws. 

How often does the Tribal Council meet? 

The Tribal Council meets twice a month but can also call special meetings as the need arises. The General Council—all enrolled members of the Confederated Tribes 18 years old or older—meets four times a year, chaired by the Tribal Council chairman. Special general sessions can also be called as needed. 

What responsibilities do you have in your community?

I set the agenda for all Tribal Council meetings. I am the spokesperson for the tribe. I chair the Siletz Tribal Business Corporation. I have testified before Congress many times, as well as speaking before many organizations, tribal and non-tribal. I am responsible to our membership to follow all tribal and federal laws. I take my job very seriously. 

Is there a functional, traditional entity of leadership in addition to your modern government system? 

No, there is not. 

What is a significant point in history from your community that you would like to share? 

There were eight treaties entered into in our history. Seven treaties were ratified promising a permanent reservation. One was not ratified. We had a reservation of over a million acres, established by presidential order as called for in our treaties, that was overtaken illegally for settlement by non-Indians. In the early 1890s we were devastated by provisions of the Allotment Act

Our tribe was terminated in 1954, then restored by an Act of Congress on November 18, 1977. Most unfortunate is that only a 3,600-acre reservation was re-established, and very limited hunting, fishing and gathering rights are recognized, not our treaty rights. We have had to purchase very expensive land for housing and for economic development, land that we once owned and should still own. 

How did your life experience prepare you to lead? 

I had little preparation but was always interested in politics. Growing up after termination and experiencing being an Indian without any benefits was an issue for me. I could not get Indian preference to work for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, nor could I get services at an Indian Health facility. Education benefits were not available.

My dad served as tribal chairman prior to termination, as well as my sister; my brother was a tribal chairman just prior to restoration. So politics were always part of our family. When I was a child our whole family attended Tribal Council meetings.

Who inspired you as a mentor?

There are many! Forrest Gerard, Frank Ducheneaux, Mel Tonasket, Lucy Covington, Joe DeLaCruz, Joe Jay Pinkham, and Hiroto Zakogi were people I had great respect for in the early stages of my time on the Tribal Council. In the later times, I think of Ron Allen, Rick Hill, Wayne Ducheneaux, Kurt Luger, Pearl Baller, and many more too numerous to mention. 

Are you a descendant of a historical leader? 

Not in the sense of anyone who was known nationally.

What economic enterprises do the Confederated Tribes own? 

The largest enterprise is our Chinook Winds Casino Resort. It is a major attraction in the Northwest, located right on the beach in Lincoln City, Oregon. Our golf course is just a mile or so from the casino. We have the Logan Road RV Park next to casino property and a very large park, HeeHee Illahee RV Resort, in Salem, Oregon. 

We own office properties in Eugene, Portland, and Salem. Some are large complexes that include office space rented out to the general public. All of these places have tribal offices that provide tribal services to our membership. We own a restaurant in Depoe Bay, Oregon, and several other individual properties that are rented or leased. 

The tribe received property that was once part of Chemawa Indian School in Salem, and we are currently developing it with the Grand Ronde Tribe to be a business campus called Chemawa Station. We are part owners in USAeroteam in Ohio; they manufacture aircraft parts. The Siletz Gas/Mini-Mart is located in Siletz. The Siletz Community Clinic is also considered an enterprise. 

D Pigsley for NMAI 1a
Chairman Pigsley speaking about the economic contributions made to the State of Oregon and local communities by the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians. 2013 Oregon Governor's Conference on Tourism, Salem, Oregon. Photo courtesy of the Confederated Tribes. 


What annual events does your confederation sponsor?

The huge Nesika Illahee Pow-Wow takes place in August in Siletz, as well as our Restoration PowWow in November at the casino in Lincoln City.  Each year in September we “Run to the Rogue." It's a three-day, 240-mile relay from Siletz south to the Rogue River. We run or walk to honor our ancestors who were removed from that land.

In July of each year we sponsor a Culture Camp for all of our members. In addition we have the usual Easter Egg hunts and Christmas programs. In June and December we celebrate the solstice at our ceremonial dance house; many tribal members participate. We show our appreciation for veterans at a celebration at our charter school each November. 

There are many other activities that happen annually, such as gathering eels at Willamette Falls, salmon fishing at Euchre Creek Falls, and gathering huckleberries in the mountains. Other annual gatherings are for basketry material, pine nuts, roots, and shellfish.

What attractions are available for visitors on your land? 

The Chinook Winds Casino Resort is our biggest attraction, but we also have the most beautiful coastline in North America. The Siletz River is well known for steelhead fishing and for floating the river. Our weather is mild, so outdoor activities are very popular. 

Our Siletz Community Clinic serves many people. The nearby town of Toledo is known for art work. Newport, Oregon, is the largest city and seaport nearby, and it features an aquarium, the Hatfield Science Center, Yaquina Bay, and many other attractions for visitors.

How does your confederation deal with the United States as a sovereign nation? 

We are a tribal government, and having lost that status once by an Act of Congress, we vowed that it would never happen again. We take sovereignty seriously. We negotiate as a government and have several agreements in place to protect our status. 

We must constantly defend our rights in the State of Oregon as well as in the United States and with other tribes. We abide by our laws as well as the U.S. laws.

What message would you like to share with the youth of your community? 

To be good students, listen to parents and those you admire. Stay in school, don’t be a follower, don’t be a user. Ask for help when you need it and know that you can be anything you want to be. 

Is there anything else you would like to add? 

Thank you for the opportunity to talk about our tribe.

Thank you.  

 
To read other interviews in this series, click on the banner below. 

Meet-native-america

From left to right: Representative Ponka-We Victors (Tohono O’odham/Southern Ponca) taking the oath of office in the Kansas House of Representatives; photo courtesy of Kansas Rep. Scott Schwab. Bird Runningwater (Cheyenne/Mescalero Apache) at the Sundance Film Festival; photo courtesy of WireImage. Sergeant Debra Mooney (Choctaw) at the powwow in Al Taqaddum Air Force Base, Iraq, 2004; photo courtesy of Sgt. Debra Mooney. Councilman Jonathan Perry (Wampanoag) in traditional clothing; photo courtesy of Jonathan Perry. Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne/Hodulgee Muscogee) at Blackhorse et al. v. Pro Football, Inc., press conference, U.S. Patent and Trade Office, February 7, 2013; photo courtesy of Mary Phillips.

All images used with permission. 

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wow! very interesting! is awesome read about thiese tribes.
Thanks

I am fully impressed after reading your post.
Thanks,