` Students at Havre Middle School learned about a diversity of cultures at the school’s Native American Culture Day on Friday.
The latter half of the day was divided into five blocks, with four 25-minute educational sessions and a 50-minute powwow, that all three grades rotated through.
Though the event was organized for middle school students, Superintendent Andy Carlson was there and picked up a thing or two.
“This is as much about educating adults as kids. It’s about understanding people,” Carlson said.
He ended up participating a little when, during the sixth grade’s powwow, middle school paraprofessional and powwow leader Daisy Sherman brought the superintendent out and gave him an Indian child’s name, “Eagle Boy.”
“When he grows up he will get his adult name,” Sherman said.
The 25-minute sessions were about many aspects of Native American culture and about a variety of cultures.
Daisy Sherman told students about her background with Assiniboine Cree and some Blackfeet traditions.
Loren Ukestine, a middle school custodian, told sixth-graders about his heritage in the Zuni tribe in New Mexico.
William Turcotte, a student teacher of social studies, geography and United States history at the middle school, taught a class on the Nakoda language of the Assiniboine people in this area.
Turcotte said that events like this were vital for keeping native cultures alive.
“It’s really important for people to recognize and respect our different cultures. This is the only way our native people will be able to differentiate ourselves,” Turcotte said.
This was the first year that the school occupied a half day with a school-wide rotation of activities about Native American cultures, and superintendent Carlson was proud of the effort.
“We have an entire sixth-grade class doing a round dance in the gym,” Carlson said. “Ten years ago that couldn’t have happened.”