Sunday, November 22, 2015

Thankful Traditions

As I watched the colorful kindergartners dressed in Native American attire parade into Pow Wow with their tribes, I was overwhelmed with the rainbow of colors, happy faces and memories.   One of the things I have always loved about the Creek is the way tradition and family weave into the tapestry of a Creeker's life.
Chief Spotted Horse and Chief Jumping Frog
As I looked to the podium, there stood JJ Brown in her first year as our Chets Creek Vice Principal.  She has been a longtime kindergarten teacher at the Creek, so she has led many of her own tribes through the Pow Wow tradition and both of her own older girls. Today, however, she looked at Pow Wow through new eyes, those of an administrator, and took her place beside Chief Jumping Frog (Principal Susan Phillips) as Chief Spotted Horse.  JJ's mom, Beverly Jackson, retired teacher and guidance counselor stood quietly behind JJ.  Beverly was just named Chets Creek's Senior Volunteer of the Year. Not surprising, she worked with the Resource teachers today to provide one of the storytelling stations after the big Pow Wow event. When you work at Chets Creek, it's literally all about family and it's not unusual for generations of families to be involved.

Beverly Jackson, JJ's mom and CC Volunteer of the Year
Susan Phillips, Tanner Stahlman,  JJ Brown
Another example of continued family commitment was evident with the Stahlman family. Dr. Terri Stahlman, the founding principal of Chets, known as Chief Soaring Eagle to kindergartners, presided over the inaugural Chets Creek Pow Wow. Before she left Chets Creek, her son, Tanner, entered kindergarten at the Creek, celebrating his first Pow Wow with his mom as  part of the mighty Nootka tribe.  Today, Tanner who is employed in our Extended Day program while he attends college, was in full Native American garb, ready to welcome families to this 17th annual Pow Wow.  Wonder if he was thinking what so many of us were thinking - from a tiny Nootka to a full fledged Chief right before our eyes!

Chip Boyd honoring his father
And still another emotional family connection... JB Boyd was a beloved volunteer at Chets Creek from the moment the doors opened.  He stayed on even after his children left elementary school, which is not unusual.  JB could do anything and for years he was here every day working with KK Cherney in the Media Center.  Three years ago he lost his fight for life, but his hand is on so many of the things that we love about Chets Creek.  When KK dreamed about a full sized tepee in the middle of our kindergarten playground to represent all of the different original native homes that we studied, JB sewed all the pieces and rigged a design to make it come to life.  Chris Phillips, husband of current Principal Susan Phillips, designed the metal piece that intertwines all the pieces of rope and canvas for erecting the tepee.  On the morning of Pow Wow each year the tepee goes up and then comes down at the end of the day.  What happens inside that tepee is sheer "KK" magic.  JB also played the part of Chief Chets Creek for many years dancing through the kindergarten tribes at the Pow Wow celebration.  Today, his very talented son, Chip Boyd,who  is a professional dancer, flew in so he could help erect the tepee in his Dad's memory and then donned his Daddy's Native American costume.  He followed in his father's footsteps as he danced the steps that his father had once danced through this new generation of kinders. Brought tears to the eyes of so many as they realized the significance and history of that dance and dancer.
Chip Boyd dances in the footprints of his father, JB Boyd.
This entire tradition of honoring First Americans at Thanksgiving is so full of history. At Chets Creek we have tried to look authentically at that history.  Although our presentation may not be perfect, our effort to honor those First Americans that first inhabited our land is heartfelt... as are the memories that we offer our children through this process.   May the traditions continue through the generations... with deep thanksgiving...


Mrs. Constande said...

I enjoyed reading this post more than words can say. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Nikki Morris Hall said...

Thank you for the walk down memory lane❤️. Well done,as always, Dale Timmons! So many much love!