Native American Games Bring History to Life at Dutch Broadway
Fifth-graders at Dutch Broadway participated in the school’s fifth annual Native American Games on Nov. 16, reflecting their current classroom study of Native Americans.
As part of the event, students were divided by class into one of five chosen tribes selected from New York State’s rich Native American history and signed up to compete in six different relay-style games.
The games began with each of the five tribes, Cayuga, Mohawk, Montauk, Oneida and Seneca, parading down the hallway from their classrooms to the “reservation” in the gymnasium. At the pow-wow, chosen tribal chiefs sat around a mock fire circle to the sound of Native American drums played by music teachers Gary Citro and Neil Kittelsen, followed by a reading of the “Legend of Fire” by Principal Amy Buchanan.
Among the sporting games evoking Native American traditions – the result of more than six weeks of preparation and historical research – were lacrosse, shinny (hockey), a mock spear-throwing game called “Chunkey” and the modern “Rez-ball” Native American-style version of basketball. The students also built wigwams using hula hoops.
The five tribes created decorated “sleds” for the Iditarod Trail Sled race, with the sled designs judged by the administration and art department and the marks added to the tribes’ overall scores.
“It was truly exciting for a lot of kids to be part of a team,” said physical education teacher Deb Bennett. “Not only did everyone have a terrific time, but what the students learned in the classroom was brought to life at the ‘reservation.’”
A “Golden Tomahawk” was awarded to the tribe with the most points, with Mrs. Melissa O’Brien and Mrs. Kelly Stylarek’s Mohawks coming out on top. The award will be displayed in their classroom for the remainder of the year.
The games were thoroughly integrated with Dutch Broadway’s curriculum across all areas, touching on social studies, English language arts (readings on Native American myths and culture), art and music (creating the banners, signs and sleds and singing traditional songs) and physical education (the sports themselves).
“This was a multifaceted event. We were able to hit all aspects of the curriculum, and the students really enjoyed it,” Mrs. O’Brien said. “Their enthusiasm never faltered, which made it all worthwhile.”
- Dutch Broadway School students on the “Cayuga” tribe are pictured with their Iditarod Trail Sled.
2. Dutch Broadway School students on the “Seneca” tribe wore purple for the competition.
3. Dutch Broadway School fifth-grade teachers are pictured with physical education teachers Glenn Saenz (back row, left) and Deb Bennett (back row, third left).
4. Dutch Broadway School’s fifth-graders in Melissa O’Brien (back row, seventh left)and Kelly Stylarek’s class were awarded the Golden Tomahawk.