On November 15, students of Shawano High participated in an event that celebrated Native American Culture. Some students wore moccasins to school along with other students from different schools, cities and even states.
President of the Culture Club, McKaylin Peters, was one of the students that participated in the event and brought it to SCHS.
“We don’t really do much for Native American Heritage month,” Peters explained. “So this year we decided to do more like this event, and the enrichment that we’re doing at the end of the month.”
The Culture Club planned to do more events to expand the knowledge of the Native American culture. They offered enhancement periods on bead making, traditional Native American foods and craft making.
Contrary to popular belief, this event was not just something that only the Native American students can participate in. Students of all ethnicities were encouraged to join.
“We’re encouraging everyone to wear their moccasins,” Peters said. “So like dress moccasins you would get at the store or if they happen to own a pair of moccasins for any reason.”
One of the reasons that the school decided to do this event was to celebrate the Native American culture. It also gave the opportunity to the Native American students to create their own moccasins.
“Not many people know what actual moccasins look like,” Peters said. “A group of us made our own moccasins that were old-style. So they’ll see moccasins that look like what our ancestors wore.”
Ms. Melonie Reopelle is the Title VI teacher at SCHS. Title VI is intended for Native American students to utilize extra help for classes when needed.
“We’re trying to bring more Native American culture into our district,” Ms. Reopelle said. “Being that we’re are surrounded by three reservations and Native Americans are our minority in this area.”
This event was adopted by SCHS for many reasons. One of the reasons was to educate students from different cultures about the Native American heritage and why it is so important in our community.
“We’re hoping that people understand more and want to learn more,” Ms. Reopelle explained. “Not believe some of the stereotypes that are out there.”
Ms. Reopelle hopes to continue to do this event in the future and add on a few new activities for it. However, this month they have done more than they have in the past.
“We’re planning on some more moccasin making classes,” Ms. Reopelle said. “We decorated the window in the library. We worked with the Shawano Boys and Girls Club two nights in a row with different kids, and we did corn husk dolls. That was pretty fun, and the kids really got into it.”
This event helps raise awareness and create more pride for the students at SCHS to celebrate different cultures.
“I think it’s important because it brings culture into the building,” junior Jadyn Peters, one of the students that made moccasins said. “It’s really helping us branch out.”
Through this experience, people that are not typically exposed to Native American culture get a chance to see what moccasins look like. This also helps to raise awareness that the school should be more accepting towards other cultures.
“If I were just to wear my moccasins on a random day, I think I’d be judged,” McKaylin Peters commented. “This day we finally get to wear our moccasins and not be judged and people will think it’s cool.”
There are many events to look forward to to celebrate the Native American culture at SCHS in time to come.