Native American awareness week educates local school chlildren
By Lailani Upham
PABLO — Native American awareness week was
proclaimed decades ago by President Gerald R. Ford on October 8, 1976,
in recognition of the role Natives, Eskimos, and Aleuts played in
Kallowat teaches students how to make a chokers. Margaret Sheridan and
Brian Kipp also helped instruct at this station. (Lailani Upham photo)
President Ford proclaimed: "The culture and
heritage of our Native Americans are unique. In renewing the spirit and
determined dedication of the past 200 years we should also join with
our Native Americans in rebuilding an awareness, understanding and
appreciation for their historical role and future participation in our
diverse American society. We should do so with the same spirit and
dedication which, fostered with reliance on Divine Providence and with
firm belief in individual liberty, kindled and made a reality of the
hopes for a new life for all who inhabited this land."
Ford added in the proclamation that Native
Americans have made notable contributions in education, law, medicine,
sports, art, the military, science and literature, therefore,
designating a whole week as, "Native American Awareness Week."
students keep close attention on Gigi Caye, Kootenai Culture Program
member, as she explains and demonstrates traditional hide tanning. Caye
tells what sort of items are made from the hides of animals. (Lailani
Thirty-five years later, Native American awareness
is alive and progressing in Indian Country across Montana and the U.S.
The People's Center has been hosting an annual
Native American Awareness event to educate schools across the
Reservation of the culture and traditions of the Salish, Kootenai and
Pend d'Oreille tribes for several years.
Elementary students work up an appetite playing a game of traditional
Northwest ball hosted through CSKT Tribal Health Fitness Ronan fitness
center. (Lailani Upham photo)
Over 1,000 students from grades kindergarten to
fifth grade passed through dozen of stations that were set up to give a
hands-on experience of native games, meat cutting and drying, arts and
crafts, and Salish and Kootenai language activities.
Students arrived from 9 am to 2 pm with a
30-minute rotation to give students as much familiarity as they could
in one day.
Mornings were set-aside for general sessions of
stories, presentations, and join-in activities.
Students of each team position themselves as wide-open receivers. (Lailani Upham photo)
The Peoples Center's vision is to bring people
together to promote a healthy way of life and create vision. The center
also strives to foster awareness, understanding and appreciation for
the Salish and Kootenai culture as passed down from generation to
generation. According to the Center, this means providing public
education through activities, celebrations, events and creating
opportunities of exchange between tribal elders, youth and the
community in hopes to dispel myths and stereotyping of Natives and
create an overall understanding between peoples.
Tribal elders guide the People's Center's
philosophy and existence in order to ensure a continuation of the
culture of the tribes on the Flathead Reservation.
at the dry meat station shared with students about taking care of the
game after a kill and the importance of not wasting animal parts,
including how to slice and then dry it out. The dry meat station was
manned by Bryce Finley, Mike Irvine Sr., Michael Irvine Jr, Pascal
Adams, Myrna Adams and Arleen Adams. (Lailani Upham photo)
The People's Center offers presentations, events,
museum tours and a gift shop. Hours of operation from October through
May is 9 am to 5 pm. For more information, call (406) 675-0160.