American Indian village probably won't ever see a national grocery
chain, coffee shop, or fried chicken for that matter.
it's being built in downtown Helena by students of the Wakina Sky
Learning Circle and Center.
its third month of construction, local Indian students are as busy
as ever attending to all the details of the tiny scale-model village.
idea behind building the village comes from the Wakina Sky's new
curriculum plan for the 2003-04 school year. The village is expected
to be completed by June.
Sky is hoping that a local business or government agency will take
the village for a permanent or traveling display after June.
Joey Velasquez said he has enjoyed listening during their after-school
snacks about old Indian stories, legends, and how things were done
have learned a lot," said Velasquez, as he described many cultural
type of activities he's worked on this year.
the Wakina Sky students may hear the tales of old Indian days, plans
are for this Indian village to maintain the peace by upholding a
traditional way of Indian life both inside the village and in the
students' modern day classroom.
Helena grew into the bustling small town it is today, Indians from
all walks of life would travel through the valley.
times, different tribes bumped into each other and got into skirmishes,
like the Blackfeet and Crow Indians are said to have done somewhere
along Prickly Pear Creek.
like the days of Montana's invisible highways and cities, the Indian
village will be equipped with a head chief, war chief, medicine
man and woman, men's and women's societies, and four age-related
types of groups, said Tammara Rosenleaf, an academic support teacher.
was also equipped with a handmade buffalo jump, tepees, drums, and
plastic miniature horses and buffalo.
student took the time to write a small story describing the drawings
found on their tepees.
paintings on my tepee represent the sky, nature, mother earth, father
time, past, and Native Americans," said Velasquez.
addition to the village, students have been expected learn monthly
themes including humility, kindness and generosity, and honesty.
the month of March, students have worked on projects that include
making hand drums.
Ragged Robe, a local drummer and member of the White Clay tribe,
has volunteered his time to help the students learn the traditions,
lessons, and building.
Sky said it has received many donations from all walks of life.
got hides from some mountain men and women who said they lived out
by Basin, and quilts for students who are in leadership training
from a Missoula ministry," said Rosenleaf.
month, Curly Bear Wagner, a nationally known Blackfeet speaker,
will be coming to the Wakina Sky program to provide some cultural
lessons to the students.
addition, plans for the second Helena Indian Summer Art Market have
Shawn White Wolf can be reached at 447-4028 or email@example.com.