Since the beginning of the school year, our second grade classes have been immersed in their Long-Ago Lenape Study, in which they dive deeply into the cultural traditions and practices of the indigenous people of this region.
For this study, each class has had frequent discussions, comparing long-ago Lenape life with our own, examining authentic artifacts, and doing daily readings, writing assignments, and craft projects. Examples of their work are on display, including handmade medicine pouches, featuring embroidered simulations of porcupine quillwork, a scale model village, and even a full-sized wigwam.
Yesterday, the second graders left their usual classroom groupings and joined together with other classes as members of the Turtle, Wolf, and Turkey clans. These groups moved from classroom to classroom for storytelling, Lenape games (a "dice" game with bicolor wooden disks and the moccasin game), and a craft project (making wooden necklaces depicting Mee-sing-haw-lee-kun, the guardian spirit of animals and game).
The morning culminated with a festive meal of venison bean stew, sapan (cornmeal mush), and squash fry bread, incorporating the "three sisters" grown in Lenape gardens (corn, beans, and squash). The stew and sapan were well-known to the children who'd heard about them often in the beloved read-aloud book Dickon Among the Lenapes by M.R. Harrington, a mainstay of the GFS Long-Ago Lenape Study. Although not all of the students are typically adventurous eaters, many went back for seconds and even thirds.