From sign making to policy making, second graders have been community minded activists this week. Our week began with a walk to a historical marker on Ridge Road, about a five-minute walk from school.
The marker explains that this area (where our school is located and where many of us live) was once the site of a Potawatomi village, until the people were removed in 1835. As we begin a new Inquiry Study of the history and present day culture of Indegienous Americans, this visit and our subsequent unpacking of the language on the marker, gave us a lot to think about.
The children immediately noticed the injustice of what was described on the marker and felt that it was “sad” and “unfair” and felt that those who removed the Native People did not have “empathy” for them.
We next began to learn about the Potawatomi people and what life would have been like here before removal. We learned that the environment, with its abundance of natural resources and access to trading along the lakes and rivers, provided a good life for the Potawatomi people, and we considered, through a thought experiment, what it would mean to try to live life in a new, unfamiliar environment.
We also learned that cities, schools, or organizations have begun to recognize that that they are on Native land, through Land Acknowledgement Statements, a formal statement used at events, meetings, and gatherings, which recognizes and respects the Indigenous people of the area and their traditions.
Last Friday, together with Ms. Beaudoin’s eighth graders, we made a presentation to Tom Suffredin, a member of the Evanston city council, to propose that Evasnton consider creating a Land Acknowledgement Statement, too. Both classes shared their experiences visiting the marker and each class told what it had learned about the Potawatomi people and Land Acknowledgement. It was remarkable to watch these two classes share their knowledge, concerns, insights and further questions with a local lawmaker and each other!
After the 2nd grader’s presentation to Alderman Suffredin, we listened to the eighth graders’ remarks.
Meanwhile, closer to home, we are also planning a Land Acknowledgment for Baker. In an assembly in the new year, the two classes will share with our Baker community all that we have learned, and we will introduce a Statement to be used on important occasions at our school!
In other news….. Our community minded students continued to work on their Environmental Activism Project: Pollinator Pledge Yard Signs.
Our cool logo was a creative collaboration of the whole class! While all the signs have the same message, each child added unique elements. Collectively, children chose the shape and color scheme as well as the design elements.
Reflecting on our work with our first batch of completed signs!
We hope you have a lovely weekend.
Jane and Moria