Leighton Elementary 4th Graders Open Haudenosaunee Museum

Leighton Elementary School fourth grader Lee-Anne Hosein, right, readies to show off the wampum belt she created as part of a recent academic unit on the Haudenosaunee people. All fourth-graders participated in a walk-through museum so their peers could view their projects.

OSWEGO – Fourth graders at Leighton Elementary recently opened a Haudenosaunee museum in their school’s all-purpose room for their peers to review all their Native American projects.

Leighton Elementary School fourth grader Lee-Anne Hosein, right, readies to show off the wampum belt she created as part of a recent academic unit on the Haudenosaunee people. All fourth-graders participated in a walk-through museum so their peers could view their projects.

During their Haudenosaunee academic unit, the students were tasked with the creation of longhouses, pouches the Native Americans would have used to collect wild foods, wampum belts, dreamcatchers, animal hides out of brown paper where they put symbols of items important to them and folktale books to capture/illustrate real Native American folklore.

Students also learned the Haudenosaunee people are from the following nations: Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk and Tuscarora.

Key facts students learned, according to teacher Jessica Leonard, include: Haudenosaunee means people of the longhouse, the preferred name instead of the Iroquois; they were thankful people and they used nature to survive.

The fourth-graders were encouraged to utilize as much nature as they could to create their projects. Andrea Gills said her favorite project was the dreamcatcher because she collected sticks from her yard and “we had so many parts from nature.”

Her peer, Lee-Anne Hosein, said she enjoyed making a wampum belt because it signified peace after all the bloodshed the Haudenosaunee people had experienced.

All Leighton grade levels were invited to tour the student-run museum, which Leonard said provided many young visitors with something to look forward to when they enter fourth grade.

Several works of art from Leighton’s now fifth and sixth graders were also on display. Leonard offered thanks to art teacher Michele Gorham for the collaboration during art time to create wampum belts.