By Ms. Sonoe
The Extended Day children recently took a trip to Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, located in the beautiful town of Evanston. The museum offers an outstanding display of artifacts – a full size birchbark canoe, an eagle feather headdress, a tipi, a weaving, a button blanket and a vast collection of Katchina dolls and jewelry from all regions. This collection seeks to immerse and educate us on the experience of Native American history, culture and arts.
In the permanent exhibit, we journeyed through five major regions — Woodlands, Plains, Southwest, Northwest, and Arctic — with fascinating stories and discovered the art, costumes, tools of the tribes and the customs of the first peoples and their thriving cultures. On the second floor, there was a replica of a hunting lodge wigwam. We were very fortunate to step into it to experience the life style of the Woodlands tribal people. What is so great about this museum is that the children can physically touch and wear the authentic artifacts.
Finally, we ended our journey with a new activity called Ledger Art. It is a continuation of traditional pictorial art. Plains Indian artists recorded battles, heroic deeds, ceremonies and everyday customs as their way of life began passing into history. The children drew a picture of a significant or memorable event in their past, present or future to create their own unique ledger art.
It is a sophisticated museum that really demonstrates the breadth of Native American culture and presents a very enriched, hands-on and meaningful experience for everybody. Also this field trip was truly a wonderful introduction as we will study the Pilgrims and the Native Americans curriculum in November.