Students launch Web site to lend insight about Native Americans
The Arizona Republic
Nov. 23, 2005

A link to Indian news, culture

Betty Reid

A group of urban Native American high school students launched a Web site that acts as an educational site for the public and a useful source to Valley Native Americans, especially parents., a link to Phoenix Union High School District's North High, launched in October. The Native American Youth Council of North High built the interactive site, which posts information about such council activities as fry bread sales, a car wash and out-of-district events such as local powwows or Native parades in Phoenix.

Of interest on the site is a "numbers system" written in the language of the Western Apache, Salt River-Maricopa, Cherokee, Navajo and Objibwe. The site also offers an "indigenous geography" of Phoenix that shows the location of ancient settlements of the Hohokam peoples, who built irrigation systems in the Gila River Valley from 350 B.C. to A.D. 1450.

"I believe this project will allow more people to gain an understanding of the importance of the land they walk upon each and everyday here in the Valley," North High senior Brian Bex said. The Navajo 17-year-old is the Webmaster of the youth council's site.

April Manywhisker, vice president of the North High's youth council, said she is incredulous about how many people don't know about Native tribes. People believe all tribes are the same, although each has a distinct culture, language and worship, she said.

The plan for the site is to collect information about all 400-plus of federally recognized tribes in the United States. will list contact information of each tribe on the site so that high school students and their parents are informed about tribal scholarships.

Cody Johnson, an aspiring fashion designer and a member of Tohono O'odham, plans to add video to the site. The 17-year-old junior at North High student envisions a project in which students speak their native language on the site.

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