B-B fourth graders celebrate Haudenosaunee Day

By on November 26, 2018
Rick Merritt shares stories and activities around an indoor “campfire.”

Rick Merritt shares stories and activities around an indoor “campfire.”

On Thursday, November 8, the Byron-Bergen Elementary School fourth grade classes celebrated the Fourth Annual Haudenosaunee Day. This day came at the end of their English Language Arts (ELA) and Social Studies units based on the Iroquois people, history, and culture and included art and cultural themed activities and special guests.

In the morning, students joined Byron-Bergen High School music teacher Lawrence Tallman in the cafetorium for an interactive presentation of Native American music, stories, and dance. Tallman is descended from the Onondaga and Tuscarora tribes and studied Native American song and dance while traveling around the country with his grandfather who was a musician. The students joined him in several songs and dances including the Rabbit Dance and the Partridge Dance, historically used to teach counting to children.

In the afternoon, Byron-Bergen parent Michelle Caballero shared the story of the vain doll whose face was taken away by the Great Spirit. Caballero then showed the students how to make their own corn husk dolls. Caballero is a member of the Seneca Nation and enjoys having the opportunity to share her culture each year with the fourth grade students through this activity. Local Paleontologist/Geologist Richard Hamell taught the students about the history and uses of wampum and shared with them his collection of wampum and Native American artifacts. Finally, retired Byron-Bergen teacher Rick Merritt shared stories and legends around an indoor “campfire.” Each of the special guests has taken part in Haudenosaunee Day since its inception in 2014.

The following day, the fourth grade students closed out their study of Haudenosaunee culture by presenting projects created by the students to the other grade levels who visited their classrooms. Projects included longhouse dioramas, wampum, flags, and the history of the Three Sisters.

The goal of each annual Iroquois celebration is to help the fourth grade students develop an appreciation through understanding of the Haudenosaunee people.

Provided information and photos

Rich Hamell demonstrates wampum making.

Rich Hamell demonstrates wampum making.

Lawrence Tallman teaches students Native American songs and dances.

Lawrence Tallman teaches students Native American songs and dances.

Michelle Caballero teaches students how to make corn husk dolls.

Michelle Caballero teaches students how to make corn husk dolls.

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