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Learning About Native Culture

Breton Downs Elementary second-grade student Lauren Eckert was “Leaping Moose” for the day. “I like mooses,” she said, explaining why she chose her Native American name.

Ben Marlow was “Slithering Silver Fish” and Aiden Adam was “Lightning Fast Cheetah.”

The students and their peers wore the feathered headdresses they fashioned, wove Native American talking sticks, drew pictures that resembled petroglyphs, listened to legends, and danced during a pow-wow to celebrate Native culture. They munched on popcorn, fry bread and other traditional treats.

Second grade teacher Lisa Eldersveld said the event ties in with the classes’ study of Native Americans, and it’s exciting for students to get a real taste of culture. They also visited the Grand Rapids Public Museum to see Native American artifacts, plus met with some local V.V. LaMauge makes a craftNative residents and watched some traditional dances.

The students know details about Michigan tribes, traditional housing, regalia, and ways of life. They’ve also learned about modern Native Americans.

“They are really interested in the first Americans,” said second grade teacher Lori Dood.

Student Ben Marlow said he’s impressed with Native American skills. “They had a ton of different things they could build by themselves,” he said.

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Breton Downs Elementary

Grand Rapids Public Museum

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio

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