Kidzeum Investigates Native Americans
By Beth Muselwhite
Students at Grenada Elementary School are grinding corn, tanning animal hides, and listening to ancient stories as they learn about Native American history in the Kidzeum. Beth Muselwhite, the Director of the Kidzeum, stated that the fall exhibit is designed to help K-3rd graders learn how the first people lived in the United States. Classes will participate in three visits for this exhibit to concentrate on three distinct Native American cultures - the Plains, the Seminoles, and the Northwest Coastal Indians.
During the first visit the children enter a large teepee set within the Plains Indian village inside the Kidzeum. Students are asked to imagine living 500 years, 1,000 years, 10,000 years, and even farther back to 15,000 years ago in the area we now know as the Plains Region! Within this village, the children are taught how to grind corn to make Plains Indians’ food. The students learn that the Plains Indians used every part of the buffalo for most of their needs. After tanning buffalo hides, the students get a “real feel” for how these Indians worked hard and wasted nothing! When asked which was a harder task, the students from Mrs. Cobb’s second and third grade multi-age class exclaimed, “Grinding corn was a lot harder than tanning those hides!”
For the second visit of this exhibit, the students will learn why the home of a Seminole was built on stilts. They will learn a shell and stick game that Seminole children would have played, will weave a basket in the traditional Seminole technique, and will learn a Seminole song to sing as they play instruments made from nature. Children will accompany the song by playing Seminole instruments of turtle shells and deer skin hand drums and shaking gourds filled with seeds.
The final three weeks of the exhibit will focus on the Northwest Coastal Indians, or the Haida Indians. Students will listen to an ancient Haida legend while sitting inside an enclosed wooden coastal house. The children will learn how to match animal tracks and furs of animals the Haida Indians would have hunted. They will also play a game using beaver teeth, just like the children in the Haida Indian village would have played.
Many thanks to Brother Michael Lee, Pastor at First Baptist Church, and his family for lending items from their Native American collection to be displayed in the Kidzeum. Thanks also to Dr. and Mrs. Chuck Haley for lending several Native American items from their Lakota Indian collection. The boys and girls at Grenada Elementary School have enjoyed experiencing authentic Native American pieces in the Kidzeum.
Students are grinding corn in the Kidzeum at Grenada Elementary School. The K-3 students at GES are learning about the Plains Indians for the first visit to the Kidzeum's fall exhibit titled, "Native Americans". The children will visit the Kidzeum two more times with their classes to enjoy more "hands-on" activities about the Seminoles and the Northwest Coastal Indians.