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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


November 3, 2001 - Issue 48


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 That Native-American Feeling


 by Scott Neinas Monroe Evening News - October 24, 2001

PETERSBURG - Using a hollowed-out gourd as a drinking glass, Drew Harris, a Milan Middle School fifth-grader, sipped a stew he made from scratch Tuesday.

It was part of a Native American experience that three fifth-grade classes had at a Summerfield Township farm.

"Indians had a much harder time than we do now," he said, still clutching a wood walking stick he found earlier.

Fifth-graders have been coming to the home of Margaret Nieman home for five years to learn firsthand about Native American traditions and culture. Tuesday they made their way through seven stations on the property off W. Albain Rd.. They shelled corn, planted seeds, searched for and identified vegetation and learned more about Native Americans.

Carolyn Wetzler, a fifth-grade teacher at Milan Middle School, began taking her students to the farm originally to learn about trees and leaves.

"Now it's more about science and culture," she said. "And it's grown."

There were 75 to 80 kids on the farm Tuesday as Lynne Kochmanski and Tonya Cornell, also teachers at the middle school, brought their classes.

Erik Gunderson, wearing a braided rope band around his head, and some dirty jeans, said his favorite part of the day was going out in the fields and looking for seeds.

"I thought it was pretty much all fun. It's stuff I never learned," he said, adding that the pants got dirty while he was picking a pumpkin. "Being out here is better than just looking at things in a book."

One of the stations was a 14-foot tall teepee, operated by Jim Farrar, a Mohawk and Native American activist. Mr. Farrar taught the kids about Native American culture "the right way" he said. He told the children that Native Americans respect their elders. Since they used an oral communication system instead of a written one, elder members of tribes are respected and cherished instead of just being visited once or twice a year.

"I tried to pass along some wisdom," he said. "There are values that can be learned from this culture."

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  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.


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