These school outreach programs are very interactive. Students are asked to participate in activities as we explore Native American life in the Northeast before European contact and during early European influences. Below are a few pictures of some of the outfits (worn by Mark's granddaughter Olivia) the children are asked to pose in for their classmates, followed by an outline of the program.
Olivia wearing Huron armor.
Olivia wearing Mississippian clothing.
Olivia wearing Lenape/Delaware clothing.
The Woodland Indian Outreach Program is designed to engage students grades 3 - 5, for a two hour duration. The following is a general outline of the program:
1. Introduction to the Pre-Contact Woodland Peoples (tribes), local and regional (5 mins.).
2. The People, Clothing and Appearance: which includes bringing up 6 students to pose in different Native outfits from different Native communities including Lenape and Iroquois hide outfits, Ojibwa strap dress (and snowshoes, winter and Abenaki style bark dance hat), Mississippian natural fiber outfit, East Coast bark fiber outfit (with corn-husk and reed shoe), and Huron style bark and slot wood armor (with helmet). All outfits include examples and talks about decoration (dyes, paints, quillwork, fur embroidery, etc.) and jewelry of stone, bone, wood, shell, pearls, mica, copper, etc. We also briefly cover hide-tanning and harvesting natural fiber (35 mins.).
3. The Family: begins with the six children previously dressed in Woodland style clothes, who are asked about their respective communities (tribes) and family life. We discuss the importance of family, clan membership and extended families, marriage, names and nicknames, addressing each-other, home-life and property rights. Children are used in examples, sometimes with props, as we explore courting, family ties, and gift giving, among other important social customs and mannerisms (15 mins.).
4. The Home: starts with the different kinds of homes and structures the Woodland communities utilized, mainly "wigwams" and longhouses (or their variations). "Why did they live in that style of house? Who built the houses? Who owned the home? How long did they last? What was the house made of? Where did everything go on the inside?" are just some of the questions we explore and answer together. Selected students are invited to role play for their peers the gathering of materials to build a home, such as harvesting bark and making cattail mats. We also talk about the home layout: hearths, shelves, and beds including baby beds such as hammocks and infant carrying devices such as cradleboards, and other materials, tools, and utensils found in the home like dishes, pottery, baskets, etc. (20 mins.).
5. Getting and Processing Foods: explores food-getting strategies such as horticulture, gathering, and hunting. We discuss the gardens and their predominant importance in most the Woodlands, including crops, preparing fields, harvesting, gardening tools, etc. Children are invited to role play corn, squash, and beans, to teach their classmates the importance of growing these crops together. We explore the many gathered foods from the Northeast including fruits like blackberries, raspberries, cranberries, huckleberries, strawberries, and roots, mushrooms, nuts, wild rice, and tree foods like sassafras and maple sugar, as well as eggs, fish, crabs, and the like. Last of all, we discuss hunting, including how to make the bow and arrows (including flintknapping) and the kind of animals hunted and trapped in the Northeast. Students get to guess the animal furs and learn the animal names in Miami. Also included is the way the Woodland Peoples preserved foods by dehydration and smoking (25 mins.).
6. Social Gatherings and Entertainment: includes the subjects of toys, games, sports, recreation, music, dance, celebrations and feasts, as well as hosting feasts and manners as guests (10 mins.).