The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, February 16, 2007


Erica Molvig's third-grade class lines up before entering the teepee that Native American specialist Dan Cripps set up in the exercise room at the Carlisle School. (Photo by Cynthia Sorn)

Guest speaker helps third graders learn about Native Americans

Dan Cripps, a Native American specialist, brought his teepee and teaching to the Carlisle School third graders on February 2. His interactive presentation is called "Native American Perspectives," which complements the third grade curriculum studies of Native Americans.

As Erica Molvig's third grade students entered the exercise room they were greeted by a huge white teepee. Cripps separated the group, boys on the right, girls on the left. Explaining that boys and men were important as hunters, he instructed the girls to show "quiet respect" as the boys filtered into the teepee. The girls followed and all sat in a circle in the huge enclosure. Cripps, explaining that Native Americans were erroneously given the name "Indians" by Christopher Columbus during his quest for India, was impressed the students could easily name many tribes.

Inside the teepee, the students sit enthralled as Dan Cripps explains Native American customs. (Photo by Cynthia Sorn)

He displayed a deer antler, asking the students what they could see. At first the students saw just an antler, but after miming different ways it could be used the students could see a spoon, a cutting tool, a pipe, hide scraper and other tools. The students were fascinated by a buffalo skin pouch which held "toys;" a doll for girls and a plain stick for boys. The stick, he explained, was more interesting than the doll. When the kids looked skeptical, he said the stick was used to practice hunting. Boys would try to launch the stick through a webbed hoop. After they had mastered the target, they would roll the hoop, shooting through the center. The next phase would be to throw the hoop in the air, aiming again for the center. The kids agreed the stick was the more exciting toy. The presentation was brought to the school by the Carlisle School Association.

2007 The Carlisle Mosquito