The Anoka-Hennepin Indian Education program hosted its third annual winter event for families Jan. 28 at the Educational Service Center in Anoka.
The afternoon event started with a potluck lunch and continued with a Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission presentation, flute making, hoop dancing and a magic show.
“The winter event for our Anoka-Hennepin Indian Education Program is pretty important for our students and our families because it’s a way to share cultural knowledge and cultural teachings and maybe some things that our students might not be exposed to,” said Mindy Meyers, Indian Education adviser. “Living in the suburban setting, it’s kind of hard to find cultural teachers … because a lot of those people are living in Minneapolis or urban areas or they’re up north on the reservation, so this is a way to bring those teachings to our students and families.”
Paula Maday represented the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, teaching families about harvesting and Ojibwe culture. Maday leads students through a birch bark harvest demonstration and provides paper with which they can create baskets.
“I hope that they learn why harvesting is so important to the Ojibwe people,” she said.
In the room next door, Kevin Locke helped students make flutes and learn to play them.
To introduce them to the instrument, Locke played and sang a courtship song about lovers separated by a river who use a mirror to communicate.
Locke is also a well-known hoop dancer, but Lumhe Sampson led that session across the hallway.
“This hoop represents our world,” he told children eager to pick up hoops themselves and start dancing.
Sampson used the hoops to tell stories throughout the afternoon.
Reuben Fast Horse, the Lakota Magic Man, put on a show for families.
“He does it bilingually, so he’s incorporating the culture and more mainstream activities being a magician,” Meyers said.
The Anoka-Hennepin Indian Education program serves more than 300 students.