Friday, November 16, 2007

American Indian Heritage Education Day

The presentation and exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of History today was excellent! I ended up being able to take only Mary and Katie. When Emily woke up this morning she was spouting forth great gobs of nasal stuff, and I figured that no one would appreciate having her around. But, it was important to me that we didn't miss this, as this week we had already postponed a nature walk and missed Mary's piano class and soccer practice. So, Grandma saved us by coming over and watching the two little ones.

We started with a "Dance and Drum Exhibition". Who knew that NC has the largest population of Native Peoples east of the Mississippi?

The pictures are slightly blurry as my batteries were going dead and I didn't want to use the flash too much.

Everyone came out for the opening.

This is a grass stomping dance. This dance was done my teenage boys to flatten the grasses for meetings or gatherings.

This little boy was just awesome.

This woman was dancing a 'healing' dance. The emcee commented that historically the dress was made from buckskin and deer hooves, but now they make it with cloth and metal. The metal on the skirt are tin from the tops of chewing tobacco - flattened and then rolled up and individually sewn onto the skirt. The skirt, alone, weighs more than 25 pounds.

After the presentation we walked around and looked at some of the exhibits and talked with several of the artists. Mary was very interested in all the different styles of clay pot making. She learned that it can take 5-6 weeks to see a pot completed. The Cherokees use wooden paddles to imprint the clay pots, with different stylings representing different meanings.

The intricate bead work was so precise. Hundreds and thousands of hours in individual pieces of clothing. One artist quipped that I should just think about the time it would take if they still had to make their beads or use shells and quills.

We were also able to see the Lost Colony Exhibit as part of the day. I had already planned to take the girls as a follow-up to our trip this past September, so this was bonus that we could do it all at once.
The entrance to this exhibit was made to look like the wharfs of London, where the colonists would have picked up some last minute food for travel.
Mmmm, fresh lobster...

The next part of the exhibit did not allow photos. This area was set aside for prints and maps that John Smith made of his travels. Not only in the Americas, but also the Caribbean. I never realized how many pictures he did of animals, fish, birds and vegetation. These pictures introduced people of England to bananas, Frigate Birds, Grouper, Loggerhead Turtles...and the list goes on and on. I've already called my mom to tell her that we have to go back to this exhibit when I can enjoy it without being hurried.

Next was a model of a native village, or representation of what one around Roanoke Island would have looked.

Dinner anyone?

We missed the corn grinding, boo. But did enjoy the peace and quiet of it being later in the day and most of the school groups had already left.

The next room covered information about the Elizabethan Era and the Lost Colony Theater.

A chance to play dress-up.
Aren't those costumes exquisite? These pieces are now even more treasured. These are the costumes that are worn in the outdoor drama - The Lost Colony. On September 11 (yes, apparently a very bad day) of this year part of the theater on Roanoke Island burned - including the costume shop. With it costumes that were designed and made as far back as the 1930s. These costumes had just been loaned to the museum for this exhibit and were saved because of that.
What???? Stop trying to take my picture.

On the way out we also stopped to watch a man work on the dugout canoe. Well, he was putting out the embers for the day. But, did take some time to explain the process to Mary. We are thinking that we have some good logs in the backyard to try to make a miniature.

It was a really good afternoon.



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A family of six living and learning. You might catch us outside in the mud or working on crafts. We always seem to be on the go, come on and join us.