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Fourth Graders At Lura M. Sharp Explore Native American Culture

PULASKI -The auditorium at Lura M. Sharp Elementary School recently transformed into a Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) village as fourth graders got a firsthand glimpse into the lives of Native Americans.

Riley Ballou, a fourth grader at Lura M. Sharp Elementary School, offers his opinion as an Onondaga chief and member of the Council of Nations.
Riley Ballou, a fourth grader at Lura M. Sharp Elementary School, offers his opinion as an Onondaga chief and member of the Council of Nations.

For the students, who had just completed a unit on Native American studies, the Jan. 15 performance of “There Once was a Longhouse” reinforced the lessons they had learned in the classroom.

The demonstration included actors from the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse dressed in traditional Native American attire and featured the students as members of the five different Haudenosaunee nations.

Surrounded by scenery depicting a longhouse, students joined the actors in simulating life in an Iroquois village.

The fourth graders walked through the longhouse and gathered around five different “campfires” representing the Senecas, Cayugas, Onondagas, Oneidas and Mohawks.

Lura M. Sharp fourth graders Zachary Masuicca and Bailey Mowers explore the contents inside a “longhouse” during a recent presentation.
Lura M. Sharp fourth graders Zachary Masuicca and Bailey Mowers explore the contents inside a “longhouse” during a recent presentation.

The students chose chiefs and sent their representative to the Council of Nations, they participated in a festival of Thanksgiving, played a hunting game and listened to stories.

According to the acting company’s website, storytelling was a pivotal part of Native American culture and their stories instructed, entertained and empowered people.

“We honor this tradition through our presentation … and the goal of this experience is to allow students a unique glimpse into the life of the Haudenosaunee,” the website said.

That goal was met as the Pulaski fourth graders embraced the Native American way of life and learned about cultural differences. In addition to the social studies aspect, the presentation also included English Language Arts activities and encouraged critical thinking.

Fourth graders at Lura M. Sharp Elementary School embrace Native American culture as they simulate the lives of the Haudenosaunee during a recent presentation.
Fourth graders at Lura M. Sharp Elementary School embrace Native American culture as they simulate the lives of the Haudenosaunee during a recent presentation.