Monday, May 08, 2017

2017 getting ready for the summer season "Nuga"
I am always looking for new projects for my community and/or for my students here at St Augustine's Indian Mission.  I am excited about this summer, for me it really picks up and I get to meet so many people from so many places, it is a lot of fun.  We work on the Powwow grounds both here in Winnebago and at Macy.  This year I am speaking at the Dhegiha Language Preservation Conference in Quapaw Oklahoma, on teaching the Umoⁿhoⁿ language.  I am not a certified teacher nor am I a college graduate. I was just given the opportunity to teach Omaha to grades K thru 8 and I am blessed to do so.  My first group of kids are in K, 1st and 2nd, they are a blast and are like sponges soaking up the language.  They can count to twenty, know all the primary colors and have a handle on about thirty or so animals and several action verbs. This group here is my second group of Omaha students in grades 3rd, 4th & 5th I try to teach more culture as well as what the first group learned.  Who we are, where we come from our history and core values.  They are a lot of fun as well.  I have been trying to get more creative in my teaching approach I talk about animals like Kukusi zhinge thabthin so they think Pig little  three and who ever guesses firsts gets a small gift or something like goldfish snack to eat. I am working with dice right now trying to get them to know the numbers automatically instead by sequence like wi one, numba two, thabthin three etc.

My third group is from the 6th,7th & 8th grades, here are just a couple of them showing off their mushroom gathering skills.  We have an Outdoor Classroom and a small wooded area that we walked though and in twenty minutes they came up with quite a few of them.  I told them first we have to stand in the timber maybe say a prayer acknowledge the earth and all the living things around them.  Then I told them to walk slowly and look for the mushrooms, find one and there could always be another.  I told them the deer like them too so lets not take all of them leave the small ones and let them grow.  I try my best to teach this group the importance of their language that we only have about ten fluent speakers left.  I greet them in Omaha asking them how are they doing and they answer back in Omaha and ask me how am I doing.  They are the hardest to keep engaged I am always looking for new ways to reach out to them. We work on Tipi's and other art projects that are culturally significant.  We grew, harvested and braided Sweetgrass.
 Mushrooms picked right out back next to our Outdoor Classroom.