SALEMBURG — Students and teachers at Salemburg Elementary School this week enjoyed learning about traditions of the Coharie Tribe and Native Americans from all over.
Wanda Ammons, a representative of the Coharie Tribe, made a presentation to fifth-grade students during a special presentation. She was joined by other members of the tribe, who talked about ritual dances.
Bernita Faison, fifth-grade teacher, said the students learned a lot through their projects and went the extra mile to learn about Native Americans. The name of the unit was called “Clues to a Culture.”Ammons enjoyed the displays made by the students.
“Most of the times when we go into the schools, this is all the kids get to experience,” Ammons said referring to their presentation. “We would wish and love to see every school do what this school did today.”
Many students were awed as the dancers walked in with their colorful clothing, but the presenters taught the students that it’s not a costume and noted that what they were wearing had cultural and spiritual significance.
“They are not make-believe,” Ammons said. “They really are Native Americans.”
A lot of students thought that Native Americans sing by patting their hands over their mouths to chant or sing. But during the lesson, the students learned that’s just what they see on television. Another lesson involved 13 squares on a turtle’s back and it’s relationship to 13 full moons.
“We use everything,” she said while discussing the importance of having a relationship with nature. “Don’t just go out and take an animal’s life.”
After the presentation, Ammons mentioned how November is Native American Heritage Month and the importance of learning about the culture.
“I would love to know that every school is doing that,” she said.
Ammons is currently working to produce a tribal day at the community center to invite all schools in Sampson County.
“It just means a lot to me,” Ammons said. “I enjoy what I do.”
Student Summer Tyndall was one of many students who enjoyed the presentation. For her project, she researched the Choctaw, a tribe of Native Americans originally from the Southeastern region of the country.
“They gave America it’s oldest sport,,” she said while referring to stickball.
The students researched groups such as Apache, Cherokee, Blackfoot and Navajo. Principal Gerald Johnson said he was proud of the students’ work.
“You can see it in their projects,” Johnson said. “They did a fantastic job.”
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.