Native American and Crooked Tree teachers visit Lighthouse School
On March 24th, four distinctly different Crooked Tree Arts Center
members arrived on Beaver Island to inspire the students at B.I.L.S.
(Beaver Island Lighthouse School). They showed up at the airport,
where students were waiting for them: Vivi Woodcock, who would
teach drawing, Aleta Walton, drama, Sjoran Fitzpatrick, pottery,
and Nancy Payne, photography. Each student chose the two classes
they were most interested in for the next three days. Then the
drama class created and performed a play, called Greater Tuna.
All the participants were ecstatic about it and found it quite
The photography class filled a bulletin board with pictures demonstrating
their talent. Now many of the kids are sending in their pictures
to numerous contests around the U.S. The pottery class could make
anything they wished. As a reminder of their creativity the students
got to take home their work. The drawing class did more than just
draw, and their paintings and artwork were impressive. Almost
every student found some way to express him or herself through
art, which was the goal of the Crooked Tree staff.
The Band of Ottawa Indians came to B.I.L.S. March 27th, the day
after Crooked Tree left. Seven members of the Ottawa tribe flew
over to teach the students about the Anishnabe life. Dan Chingwa
showed how to make traditional beadwork, starting with a loom.
From there a traditional dance was performed and explained by
Winnay Wimgwase, Eva Oldman, and Steve Oldman. Lunch consisted
of fry bread and taco toppings, a great treat. Then the well-known
author Simon Otto read some of his stories about Native American
theology to give everybody his perspective. Later, Yvonne Keshik
discussed the Ottawa's opinions on personal accountability. The
last person to speak was Joe Mitchell, an expert on the language
and culture of his tribe. All of the students learned a lot about
the Ottawa way of life, and their points seemed to have an impact
on all who were willing to listen.
Jason Westenbroek (student at B.I.L.S.)
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