Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

October 6, 2011

Native American awareness week educates local school chlildren

By Lailani Upham

Leslie Kallowat teaches students how to make a chokers. Margaret Sheridan and Brian Kipp also helped instruct at this station. (Lailani Upham photo)
Leslie Kallowat teaches students how to make a chokers. Margaret Sheridan and Brian Kipp also helped instruct at this station. (Lailani Upham photo)
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 American society.

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."

Young 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 Upham photo)
Young 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 Upham photo)
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."

Thirty-five years later, Native American awareness is alive and progressing in Indian Country across Montana and the U.S. and Pablo.

Linderman 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)
Linderman 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)
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.

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.

Students of each team position themselves as wide-open receivers. (Lailani Upham photo)
Students of each team position themselves as wide-open receivers. (Lailani Upham photo)
Mornings were set-aside for general sessions of stories, presentations, and join-in activities.

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.

Instructors 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)
Instructors 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)
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.

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.

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