Oneida Indian Nation Homelands (May 3, 2022) – In a cooperative effort to bring Haudenosaunee culture to life for younger generations, the Oneida Indian Nation has partnered with Colgate University’s Longyear Museum of Anthropology and Picker Art Gallery to produce large outdoor reading stations, known as a story walk.
These reading stations will use one of the Oneida Indian Nation’s language-learning children’s books, “The Legend of How the Bear Lost Its Tail.” The story walk aims to promote reading and physical activity among young children. Each page of the book has been transformed into a temporary sign that serves as a ‘stop and read’ station to encourage children to continue reading as they walk to the next station.
The Story Walk was installed at Brookfield Central School in Madison County on April 22. The school’s fifth, fourth and second graders will be able to read the story and learn to pronounce several Onyota’a:ká (Oneida) words by completing the story. To walk. Although it was designed for elementary school students, the stations will also be accessible to visitors.
“Unique collaborative partnerships like this have made Haudenosaunee and Oneida culture easily accessible to everyone in our region,” said Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter. “We are pleased that Colgate University is bringing this Story Walk program to local Madison County schools, which will introduce an important area of our culture – legends and storytelling – to a new generation.”
“We are grateful that the Oneida Indian Nation has given us the opportunity to share this story with students at Brookfield Elementary,” said Njeri Jennings, assistant educator for Colgate University Museums. “This project not only helps us expand our outreach efforts, but also allows us to introduce the culture of the Oneida Indian Nation to young students in the area.”
“The Legend of How the Bear Lost Its Tail”
is part of a series of books for learning and preserving the Oneida language produced in collaboration with Madison-Oneida BOCES. Through this partnership, the Oneida Indian Nation was able to make learning materials about Oneida culture and heritage available to the entire community.
The Story Walk will then be installed at the Shako: Cultural Center in time for the Colgate University Teacher Advisory Council’s visit to the facility on May 11. The Council, a group of pre-service and continuing education teachers and educators from the region, will visit Shako: Cultural Center to better understand how the history and culture of the Oneida Indian Nation can be centered in the P-12 curriculum. . The visit will correspond to the one-year project on the decolonization of education for teacher candidates.
This Story Walk project is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Science (IMLS) as part of the Museum Association of New York (MANY) Capacity Building Project. For two years, Colgate University Museums (Longyear Museum of Anthropology & Picker Art Gallery) and the Colgate University Teacher Preparation Program have worked to expand the way we tell stories and educate.
Programs like this provide an opportunity to incorporate various educational resources into lesson plans that will benefit children of all ages.
The Oneida Indian Nation, Colgate University and Madison County are eager to offer the History Walk to elementary schools who wish to participate in this project.