What school and grades do you teach?
K-12 Indian Education Director at Klamath-Trinity Joint Unified School District
What are some of your hobbies outside of the classroom?
Beading, Basketry, Regalia Making, Herbal Remedies
How many lessons from Lessons of Our Land have you used in your classroom?
How has your experience been with using the curriculum?
The students are very excited to use the workbooks and lessons about the history and culture of our local tribes. They want to talk and talk about the different topics in the lessons. It is hard to allocate enough time for the lessons.
Tell us about your favorite classroom experience using Lessons of Our Land:
I was making acorn soup with the 1st graders. The students had cracked and ground the acorns. They acorns had been leached and I took a portable stove into the classroom to cook the soup with the students. Each student got to come up to the table in front of the class and help stir the soup. They were eagerly anticipating eating it, and asked me if it was going to be really good. Knowing that acorns are more of an acquired taste I didn't want to mislead them and told them that they would have to wait and see, that some people like it and others don't. After the soup was ready I put it into cups for them to try. One of the students tasted it and said, "It tastes like candy!" I was so happy that this little kid loved the soup so much, I was just beaming. As I reached in the bag to get another cup, I noticed that the cups had something kind of gritty on them. It was then that I realized that some sugar had spilled onto the cups, and that what gave the acorns a "taste like candy".
What are some of the challenges and rewards you have encountered while using Lessons of Our Land?
Challenges: One of the challenges is to get every teacher in the district to implement the curriculum in its entirety. Some of them are resistant to change, and don't feel comfortable teaching topics they are unfamiliar with. They may be fearful that there are people in the community that will criticize them for teaching something wrong.
Rewards: It has been very rewarding going with busloads of students to go gather acorns, and helping to teaching them the process of making acorn soup from beginning to end.
The students are really excited about it, and it makes my heart feel good to know that we are reviving a tradition of our ancestors. The students love gathering medicinal herbs and making them into herbal salves and teas. Watching students prepare basket materials, and learn about the art of basketry has also been very rewarding. We are helping to raise a generation of students that are reclaiming the ways of our ancestors, and that is something I am very proud of.
We want to thank Margo for her continuing engagement with the Lessons of Our Land curriculum. Keep up the great work, Margo! We are proud of you and the work you are doing at Klamath-Trinity!