As we pause to gather with family and friends later this week for Thanksgiving, the Office of Institutional Equity, Justice, and Belonging (OIEJB) has appreciated the continuing revelation offered by this article about the origins of Thanksgiving. Our curricular and extracurricular engagement with Indigenous American cultures and our celebrations of Native American Heritage Month have included—as appropriate by division and age—truth-telling about the difficult history of America’s interactions and mythologies about our nation’s first inhabitants.
On Thurs., Nov. 10, Jeremy Wright—who is an SSFS alum, professional artist, and member of the SSFS facilities team—joined Upper School students Chandler Grier, Sasha “Lex” Weismuller, and Gillian Stingley for assembly presentations in the Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools.
Jeremy–an accomplished musician, sculptor, and painter, began all three assemblies playing a wooden flute that he made. Following a moment of silence and a land acknowledgment, Chandler introduced Sasha, who talked to MS and US about life on and off Indian Reservations and how she has maintained her connections to Indigenous culture as a boarding student at SSFS. Sasha’s LS presentation focused on the jewelry she makes, and was followed up on with a jewelry-making activity in LS on Grandfriend’s Day (more below).
Jeremy followed Sasha’s presentations in all three divisions by playing another song before talking about the music and artwork that he makes, and they both answered questions from the audience.
Jewelry Making in Lower School
On Fri., Nov. 18, in coordination with Grandfriends Day, Upper School students joined Sasha to support jewelry making as a follow-up activity to the Native American Heritage Month LS assembly. Sasha was joined by a group of Upper School students who helped our youngest learners with stringing and coloring beads.
US Readers in LS
As we continued celebrating Native American Heritage Month, Upper School students Julia May, Kairava Buchwald, and Assistant Director of OIEJB Hayes Davis joined LS PK, 2nd grade, and 5th grade classrooms to read to students from books specially selected for their intersection with the month-long focus on native cultures.