Commack Road Students Take Thought-Provoking Indian ‘Journey’

Commack Road Students Take Thought-Provoking Indian ‘Journey’

Fourth-graders at Commack Road participated in an interactive in-school social studies field trip on Jan. 8 called “Journeys into American Indian Territory.” Guest instructors for the day included anthropologist Robert Vetter and Cheyenne Elk Clan member Richie Cornacchio.

The immersive event began with an assembly that introduced the students to stereotypes and truths about Native Americans, both from the past and in the present. The students recognized the importance of educating present-day Indians about their language and religion, in order to keep their culture a prominent part of their lives.

The students participated in four different activities throughout the day. In one, Vetter led a workshop that described the government that was developed by local Indian groups. The students participated by creating rules and identifying characteristics of strong leaders.

The school’s STEAM room was transformed into a museum where the students observed artifacts used in daily Indian life – including jewelry, clothing and tools – which were explained and demonstrated. The students were also able to walk through a miniature longhouse that was constructed by the presenters.

The other two activities were created by the school’s fourth-grade teachers. During “Story Time,” the students listened to Indian legends and discussed how they could relate to their current lives, while in the “Game Room,” students participated in an activity described in the book “The Sign of the Beaver,” using modern-day materials but brainstorming about what items may have been used 400 years ago.

The day ended with a sing-along in the auditorium, with students and teachers listening to a song created by Cornacchio as well as singing an inspirational Indian song.

“The ‘Journeys’ program was an interesting and exciting opportunity for us to learn more about Indian life,” said Principal James Cameron.