Ten years later a new school was built in our area and Chets Creek opened its doors with many Alimacani students and teachers. Susan Phillips was one of the Creeks first kindergarten teachers and she brought the Pow Wow tradition with her from Alimacani. She, of course, is now the Principal at Chets Creek and still uses her original native name, Chief Jumping Frog, named for the frogs that dominated her kinder classroom. During the years that she has led Chets Creek there has been quite a transformation in our Pow Wow ceremony. We have spent quite some time researching Native American tribes in hopes of presenting our children with an authentic picture of life back then. We have tried to recreate the clothing that the tribes might have worn then. Each of our eight kindergarten classes represents a different tribe from a different part of the country. We have chosen to learn about native dances, authentic songs and to celebrate native music. The unit now is one in which we celebrate diversity.
This morning the sun shone through the trees as eight tribes entered the Pow Wow arena. The tribes danced and sang as their families snapped away, catching each precious moment on film.
It really does take a village for us to pull off Pow Wow! As the tribes left the main event - the Pow Wow - they spent the rest of the day working their way through Centers manned by the Resource Team (PE, Music, Art...) that provide a culmination to this important appreciation of cultural differences. Take a tour of the centers. Children spent time in an authentic tepee with Peaceful Waters Media Specialist KK Cherney, each taking a turn with the talking stick to tell their friends what they are thankful for this Thanksgiving season. They visited a longhouse with Speech Therapist Moe Dygan listening to a real outdoors man talk about his hunting experiences and letting the children touch many of the artifacts before tasting a venison wrap. Then it was time for tapping out authentic tribal beats on drums with the Music teachers and going on a Native American scavenger hunt with the PE teachers. Watch out for the bears and buffalo! Using natural dyes to paint with one of the Art teachers and working with clay with another helped the children understand the crafts and art of native people. The children even participated in a Native American Bingo game to help synthesize their experiences with the different tribes. This is a well organized learning event for our youngest learners. I'll bet the children - and the teachers - sleep well tonight!
Update: Visiting with us at Pow Wow was a photographer, Kristina Broome, from our Duval County Communications Department. She has written a beautiful article for our county about the event that includes a Flickr photostream. The article and pictures form a wonderful overview of the event. Enjoy!