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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


October 19, 2002 - Issue 72


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Red Lake, Ponemah Elementary Students to be Showcased on Public Television

by Molly Miron, Staff Writer Bemidji Pioneer
a dreamcatcherRED LAKE,MN - The students from the two Red Lake Nation schools will be featured on the National Public Television program "Zoom," a show by and for children. The dates for airing the segments have not yet been set, but Red Lake and Ponemah children demonstrated last week the projects they will showcase.

Red Lake children made dream catchers as gifts for the youngsters at New York City's P.S. 234, the school damaged by the Sept. 11 attacks last year.

Their project and the Ponemah Elementary School drum and dance group will be featured on Zoom Into Action parts of a show.

The children's activities were part of local Zoom programming under a Zoom national grant awarded to Lakeland Public Television last year. Children in the Lakeland coverage area were featured introducing and closing the show, and in segments about community service. They also took part in the WhatZup interview questions.

One of the WhatZup questions was about favorite foods, said Ann Marie Ward, Lakeland Public Television educational consultant. She said children usually responded with standards like pizza, but one answer stood out as purely Minnesota.

"Only here did we hear 'My mom's hotdish,'" Ward said. "When were localizing a program, we really want to reflect the region."

She said Lakeland received the grant for this year's programming, too.

Traditional songs
The Ponemah students are imagining how children who have never been to a powwow will respond to their performance.

"They'll think it's cool," said Kari Dow, Ponemah seventh grader. "Kind of like, 'Like wow! Yeah, I want to do that.'"

"They'll think our outfits are pretty," said her classmate Sherrene Iceman.

About 25 students drum and sing traditional Ojibwe songs and dance girls' jingle dress fancy shawl and boys' grass dances. They earned the Minnesota State Drum and Dance Trophy last year.

"The drum and dance groups have been going on 10 years now," said Oriana Kingbird, dance advisor with Andrea Rosebear.

"They all have their own steps," said Rosebear. "We just show them how to do it and they learn on their own. Both Oriana and I are jingle dancers."

Wesley Cloud is one of the drum group advisors.

For good dreams
The Red Lake students have already received responses from the New York City youngsters. They sent Red Lake Elementary a group photo of them outside the school they attended while P.S. 234 was being repaired.

The older children said they saw the attacks on television and believed the New York children would need some help fending off their nightmares.

"Most of us are feeling a lot better here in New York City. Your thoughtfulness really helped," Rita Hirsch, a teacher at P.S.. 234, wrote in her thank-you note to Red Lake kindergartner Dannielle Sauvageau. First grader Sadie Kingbird have also received a letter from a girl at the New York school.

"The bad dreams get caught up in the net," fifth grader said Lewis Thunder, explained as he and his classmates crafted more dream catchers last week. The good dreams can slip through the little window in the center of the net, he said.

Thunder said he had thought of decorating a dream catcher with the red, white, yellow and black Medicine Wheel colors, but black beads could bring on bad dreams.

"You're supposed to give your first one away," said Red Lake Elementary Principal Jean Whitefeather. "That is one of the customs we shared with the children of New York."

Tina Stately, beading teacher, said her husband and daughter, Ed and Martina Isham collected the willow to make the dream catcher frames. The children of all the grades spent two days together in the cafeteria making the gifts. They then formed an assembly line to package them and box them up for mailing.

Whitefeather said Kris Nielsen, the speech clinician for the school, suggested the dream catcher project.

"The kids enjoyed it and it was a way to share without scaring our children about how bad it was," Whitefeather said.

Red Lake IR, MN MAP
Maps by Travel

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