Our kindergarten families have been involved in Pow Wow through homework these last few weeks. They have researched their tribe and dressed gingerbread-like cardboard cut-outs in their native garb. They have chosen a Native American name for their little one, read stories, much like they do in Knots on a Counting Rope. Many of the parents have sent in supplies or come in and helped glue, cut, sew costumes and make crafts to go with each costume.
Tonight the parents came in mass for dinner and then to help their child build a Native American home for the annual Pow Wow Make 'n' Take. The Seminoles built chickees. The Sioux and Nez Perce made tipis. Adobe huts came from the Hopi and igloos from the Inuits. Long houses were erected by the great Iroquis Nation and plank houses with totem poles for the Northwest Nootkas. The peaceful Lenape people made wigwams. Parents enjoyed the fun of doing something together as a family. The homes will be displayed for the rest of the week outside each classroom.
What was different this year is the fifth grade parents and students joining us for the fun. Each of the nine fifth grade classes had prepared a diorama depicting a Native American village - representing the same tribes as the Kindergarten classes. They were stationed throughout the bottom floor, prepared to tell about their tribes as their friends and family along with Kindergartners and their families listened carefully to each presentation. Each child was given a program that was stamped at each station. When the program was full, the children had an opportunity to see Chief Jumping Frog (Principal Susan Phillips) and trade their card in for a Native bracelet. As she tied each bracelet, she asked, "And what did you learn tonight?"
I remember standing with Dr. Stahlman - oh, so many moons ago - and dreaming about the possibility of a Kindergarten to fifth grade connection for our Chets Creek natives. She would be very proud to see that vision tonight as it has come into focus!