Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

November 19, 2012

Elementary students learn about Miami Nation

PERU — A seventh-generation Miami Indian twirled slowly around a classroom of third-graders Monday, showing off her traditional elk-skin dress adorned with colorful beads.

The students at Blair Pointe Upper Elementary School gasped when the woman momentarily donned a headdress made of a coyote pelt.

“It looks like the coyote is eating you,” several students shouted in unison.

Christine Bowyer smiled and assured the children she was perfectly fine.

The lesson was part of an all-day program Monday to teach third-graders at Blair Pointe about their county’s Native American heritage.

Students built their own tepees and made Native American jewelry with plastic beads and construction paper arrowheads.

Then, Bowyer showed the students real beads and arrowheads the Miami used.

She held two small beads that she said were carefully carved out of stone. Those stones and shells called Wampum were routinely used to make jewelry.

“They’re beautiful,” Bowyer said. “But it’s very labor intensive. It’s hard.”

She told the students that life for the Miami was not easy. Women often died in child birth and rarely lived past 25. Men were considered old if they lived to be 45, she said.

Their way of life was very different from today’s society.

The Miami respected the earth, she said. That’s something children and adults today could learn from.

“Our footprint on the earth is supposed to be light,” Bowyer said. “People today stomp on it. We are turning the earth into a dump.”

She said today’s society is so disposable and wasteful.

She showed the children how her ancestors used every single part of an animal to make food, tools and clothing.

“Nothing got thrown away,” she said.

They saw a knife made out of antlers and stone, clothing made out of animal hide and tools made from animal teeth.

Third-grader Braden Ream was amazed by the musical instruments Bowyer showed him. They were made out of a turtle’s shell and coyote’s paw.

“That’s the most coolest thing I’ve seen,” Braden said.

Ream also got a lesson on Miami County’s own Frances Slocum.

The Quaker girl was captured by a group of Indians in Pennsylvania in 1778 and was brought to Miami County to live as an Indian the rest of her life.

Braden recounted the story.

“Her brothers, they were ... they were ... what’s that word?” he said, as he tried to remember what he learned. “It starts with an ‘s.’ Oh, they were scalped.”

Third-grader Raeni Draving said she had no idea that Slocum’s burial site was in Miami County at the Mississinewa Reservoir.

“I want to see the grave,” she said.

Teacher Kim Cox said the students are always shocked to learn about all the connections Miami County has to Native Americans.

Cox, a Miami Indian herself, started this Native American Celebration Day four years ago.

She had wanted to take her class to the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis to see the Native American displays. The school didn’t have the money to fund the trip, though.

So she decided to bring the Native American culture to her classroom instead.

Having real Miami in class with her students is an asset, Cox said.

“For them to present all of their knowledge is great for the students,” she said.

Braden said it was a real learning experience for him. He joked that the only thing he knew about the Miami Indians before Monday was that they were Indians.

Bowyer said she is not surprised by that. Kids’ knowledge of Native American culture today is very limited.

“Most children have no idea that Indians still exist,” she said.

And when they do see Indians, it’s often a caricature of the culture. She said school mascots tend to portray Native Americans in a derogatory way.

She wants to show children what real Indians are like, she said.

“I love doing this,” she said. “I teach [the culture] to them as it was taught to me.”

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Two face attempted murder for Wednesday shooting Kokomo police arrested two men on attempted murder charges stemming from a Wednesday afternoon shooting in the area of South Union and Harrison streets. No one was injured. Officers converged on the area about 3:30 p.m. to numerous reports of shots f

    April 24, 2014

  • 2nd UPDATE: 1 found dead after apartment fire near Purdue

    Authorities say one person was found dead after a fire that badly burned an apartment building where many Purdue University students live near the campus.

    April 24, 2014

  • Art FOr the Sky Wallace School hosts Indiana’s first Art for the Sky project From the ground, the crowd gathered at Wallace School of Integrated Arts on Wednesday seemed like nothing more than people in colorful T-shirts standing in odd groups. But with "sky sight," the formation took on the large-scale image of a paint palet

    April 24, 2014 3 Photos

  • City acquires more right of way for Nickel Plate Trail extension The city of Kokomo acquired another piece of land for the construction of the Nickel Plate Trail in its quest to extend the trail from county line to county line. The city's Board of Public Works and Safety approved a recreational trail easement that

    April 24, 2014

  • County residents speak out against wind energy As debate continues over the construction of wind turbines in Howard County and its neighbors, residents are turning up the heat on officials in an effort to stop development in the southeast corner of the county. Concerned citizens spoke out during

    April 24, 2014

  • Driver in fatal hit and run on Center Road pleads guilty The driver of a truck involved in an August hit-and-run crash that killed a 13-year-old boy could get as much as seven years behind bars if a judge accepts his plea. Randall K. Rector, 58, pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of a crash resulting in d

    April 24, 2014

  • TUFF CURBS Locals upset over Markland curb plans Plans to eliminate left-hand turns along the city's busiest business corridor caused a major uproar Tuesday. Business owners, city officials and state legislators spent much of Tuesday and Wednesday on the phone protesting to Indiana Department of Tr

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police reports Howard County Arrests Tuesday, 4:34 p.m., police arrested Alisha Whitt, 27, 500 block of South Washington Street, at that residence, on a parole violation. Tuesday, 6:21 p.m., police arrested a 15-year-old male in the 400 block of West Sycamore Stree

    April 24, 2014

  • Eastern to move forward with $2M renovation to jr./sr. high school GREENTOWN -- Renovations at Eastern Sr./Jr. High will continue this summer after the board of education on Tuesday approved spending another $2 million on the final stage of upgrades. There will be no net impact on taxes, which has been a priority fo

    April 24, 2014

  • Volunteers still helping tornado victims Back in March, volunteers set out to inform tornado-ravaged neighborhoods there is still help out there. The small group of volunteers, part of the Long Term Recovery Team, took to the streets of the worst areas hit by the Nov. 17 tornadoes, passing

    April 24, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
US Proposes Pay-for-priority Internet Standards Wife Mourns Chicago Doctor Killed in Afghanistan FDA Proposes Regulations on E-cigarettes Kerry Warns Russia of Expensive New Sanctions Mideast Peace Talks Stall on Hamas Deal Cody Walker Remembers His Late Brother Paul Grieving South Korea Puts Up Yellow Ribbons Raw: Kerry Brings His Dog to Work Raw: Girls Survive Car Crash Into Their Bedroom Three U.S. Doctors Killed by Afghan Security Yankees' Pineda Suspended 10 Games for Pine Tar Colleagues Mourn Death of Doctors in Afghanistan Ukraine Launches Operation Against Insurgents Obama Reassures Japan on China Raw: Car Crashes Into San Antonio Pool Time Magazine Announces Top Influencers List Raw: Angry Relatives Confront SKorea Officials Bigger Riders Means Bigger Horses Out West Yankees Pineda Ejected for Pine Tar Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries