By SARAH FOOR
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.