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Central Square Intermediate Students Learn About Native American Culture

Students Emily Sobel, Nina Fico and Hunter Fuller check out one of the various handmade Native American items on display during a recent demonstration at the school. While students seized the opportunity to explore, Jacques talked about the history and traditions of his Clan.

Students Emily Sobel, Nina Fico and Hunter Fuller check out one of the various handmade Native American items on display during a recent demonstration at the school. While students seized the opportunity to explore, Jacques talked about the history and traditions of his Clan.

CENTRAL SQUARE – The faint scent of fresh cut wood loomed in the air as fourth grade students at CSI brought their studies on Native American culture to life with a very special visitor.

Alfred Jacques, a member of the Onondaga Turtle Clan and crafter of lacrosse sticks for more than 50 years, shows CSI students how to shave a block of wood in the correct shape for a wooden lacrosse stick on a traditional shaving horse.
Alfred Jacques, a member of the Onondaga Turtle Clan and crafter of lacrosse sticks for more than 50 years, shows CSI students how to shave a block of wood in the correct shape for a wooden lacrosse stick on a traditional shaving horse.

Alfred Jacques, a member of the Onondaga Turtle Clan, recently visited the school to share his culture with students and staff.

Jacques, who has been handcrafting lacrosse sticks for more than 50 years, brought his passion for the sport and his heritage to fourth graders in a hands-on demonstration.

Students marveled, as they watched Jacques shave a piece of wood down to the beginnings of a lacrosse stick on a traditional shaving horse. As he demonstrated this, he explained the cultural and religious significance that lacrosse holds in local Native American clans.

Students also had the opportunity to test out many of these traditional items, including a wampum belt, turtle rattle, cowhide netting and one of the first lacrosse sticks that Jacques made, finished in 1967.

Students Emily Sobel, Nina Fico and Hunter Fuller check out one of the various handmade Native American items on display during a recent demonstration at the school. While students seized the opportunity to explore, Jacques talked about the history and traditions of his Clan.
Students Emily Sobel, Nina Fico and Hunter Fuller check out one of the various handmade Native American items on display during a recent demonstration at the school. While students seized the opportunity to explore, Jacques talked about the history and traditions of his Clan.

He even introduced them to a childhood game of his Clan, called “snow snake” and told them how to create the game at home with everyday items.

Fourth grade classes have been learning about Native American history and culture leading up to his visit, so that each student would get the chance to have any lingering questions answered throughout the demonstration.

Jacques closed out his presentation by urging the audience to learn more about their own cultural ancestry, whatever it may be.