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Bridging Cultures While Building a Teepee

Just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday, second-grade students at Guggenheim Elementary School in Port Washington were treated to an amazing experience by Teepee Ted and the Traveling Wilderness Museum, in which they received a hands-on lesson on Native American life and the early settlers of Long Island.

As part of Teepee Ted’s program, the entire second grade at Guggenheim collaborated on the construction of a life-size teepee on the school’s front lawn. Throughout the day, each class also had the opportunity to participate in a number of fun, hands-on activities that were part of the Native American lifestyle, including wearing animal skins, playing drums, examining buffalo bones and collecting water using a buffalo horn. One by one, classes gathered in the teepee to learn about Native American survival skills and engaged in a question-and-answer discussion with Teepee Ted. As a memento of the occasion, each child received a wish necklace made from wood, which they had the opportunity to decorate with Native American symbols they learned about that day. The program was made possible through donations by the Guggenheim HSA.

“This type of activity is a fantastic way to bring history and Native American culture to life and give our younger students a real sense of what it was like for them without some of the luxuries we enjoy today,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kathleen Mooney. “With Thanksgiving upon us and given that many of these same students are learning about the first Thanksgiving, it’s also very timely.”