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Watson second-graders explore Native American Suitcase



Published: Fri, December 16, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

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Neighbors | Sarah Foor .Whittenberger brought a few Native American games that were typically given to children to help them sharpen useful skills. Second-grader Jacob Corll tried out a game that helped young Indians learn to use a spear.

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Neighbors | Sarah Foor .Whittenberger explained some of the hunting tools that Eastern Woodland Indians used, including arrows with sharp stone tips. Whittenberger says that the Mahoning Valley Historical Society has a large collection of arrow tips collected from around our area.

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Neighbors | Sarah Foor .A representative from the Arms Family Museum of Youngstown, an extension of the Mahoning Valley Historical Society, visited Watson Elementary on Nov. 21 to teach a group of second-graders about the history of Native Americans in our area. Historical Society curator of education Rebecca Whittenberger (center) showed the second-graders a drawing of typical shelter for the Eastern Woodland Indians who inhabited the Mahoning Valley.

By SARAH FOOR

sfoor@vindy.com

The Arms Museum of Youngstown visited Watson Elementary to share its “Native American Suitcase” on Nov. 21.

Mahoning Valley Historical Society curator of education Rebecca Whittenberger taught the school’s second-graders about Eastern Woodland Indians who inhabited the Mahoning Valley. The students learned by exploring artifacts like stone tools and hunting implements, jewelry, clothes, games and food utensils.

“Because it was so many hundreds of years ago, the Native Americans who called this area home had to live naturally and survive on what was in the world around them,” Whittenberger explained.

Whittenberger expanded on some of the knowledge that the Watson second-graders already had about Native Americans.

Eastern Woodland Indians often lived in longhouses, which Whittenberger described as apartment buildings for the Native Americans of centuries ago.

Whittenberger explained how Indians hunted with bows and arrows and how they often created clothing with the skins and pelts of animals like deer, which were, and still are, plentiful in the Mahoning Valley.

“Eastern Woodland Indians loved to accessorize and often wore jewelry and feathers. Great hunters would wear bear claw necklaces to show their bravery, because hunting a bear required impressive skill. Every accessory had an important meaning,” Whittenberger said.

History came alive for the second-graders when they were invited to explore the items of the Native American suitcase at the close of the presentation.


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