The Wild Heritage program was developed to meet the needs of local schools in learning about and celebrating our common human heritage during Heritage Day events. In 1997, the Montana legislature designated the fourth Friday in September American Indian Heritage Day. Now many schools celebrate a Heritage Day in September and October. This program complements heritage day by laying a groundwork of understanding for our common ancestral human heritage. This program is not an Indian Education for All program and is not intended to take the place of Indian Education for All.
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The setup consists of four outdoor stations, with one or two adult volunteers at each station. Each station houses an activity relating to a different aspect of human material culture: hunting, fire, fiber arts and containers. Each station can take up to ten students at a time. We will move indoors in inclement weather.
Our program starts with a quick morning training session for faculty or parent chaperones to run one of four activity stations. Then we gather with the students and staff for an opening circle, story, and introduction to each station. The students are divided into even groups and sent to activity stations, and allowed to rotate through so that everyone gets a hands-on experience of each activity. After station rotations, we gather for a closing circle and reflect on what we learned.
This program can be run as either a full-day or half-day session, with one class, or with multiple classes rotating through.
Fire by friction:
Our ancestors learned to spark fire by rubbing sticks together, and changed human history forever. Cooking, light, warmth, and ecological management have been part of our skillsets ever since.
Have you ever gone camping and forgot the rope? Human ancestors couldn’t go to the hardware store to buy this necessity. Learn to make it from native plants!
Containers let us transport water, keep precious objects, and cook. Making containers was a revolution! Try your hand at either an unfired clay pinch pot, a leather pouch or a rawhide bottle.
Using tools to hunt let us effectively feed our families. Practice shooting a bow, and try out the most ancient ranged tool, the atlatl.
*Participation in the Hunting Tools Station is dependent on a student’s ability to demonstrate safety on the range.