Much to our happiness, "Santa Fe Days" occurred quite coincidentally right on schedule with our study of Native Americans. This festival is a place for many different Native American tribes to gather, dance, sell their CDs and art (of MANY different types!!), and sell produce and seeds/beans that are unique to their specific area/tribe. The boys were able to see this fascinating group of people firsthand. I was so glad we were able to go and teach the boys about appreciations for a different culture...and our appreciation for everything their culture adds to our world.
The boys love looking through the books from the library about the different types of dress, headdresses, etc...but they were excited to see it up close and personal (especially on children around their ages.) We were privileged to watch the different types of dance they performed and hear music from quite a few instruments....drums, flutes, bells, etc. T and E even got to practice a little music on their own.
We walked around and looked at bows and arrows, knives (made from coyote jaws and buffalo ribs), amazing paintings, the most colorful jewelry I've ever seen, and more...all made by the hands of these Native American men and women. The boys got to watch a couple people in the midst of their work and even helped make a couple things.
This lady made a belt at last year's Santa Fe Days with the help of every child who stopped at her table. It was over 100 kids. She let the 3 oldest boys pick out 8 beads each, and then she used those beads to make the next 3 rows on her belt. Pretty cool!
J and T colored paper tepees while I made a mental note to search for the cut-out pattern online :) J got to grind some corn, and T and I (or well, really just me....and more truthfully, the man "helping" us :) ) made a dream catcher to take home.
We ended our time at Santa Fe Days watching a World Championship Hoop Dancer. This guy had TALENT, to say the least. I had no idea you could do some of the things he did with hula hoops. I'm not sure if they were even as big as the classic hula hoops. He picked them up with his feet, threw them around and they came right back to him, and he even portrayed different animals using the hoops and his body...all while dancing with bells on his ankles. It was so fun to watch.
Even S enjoyed the festival :)
Oh yeah, and he played a flute-type instrument for us, too. Like I said, man had talent!
As a side note, with the study of a different culture comes the realization that there are lost people in the world who have not put their faith in Christ. People have many different beliefs about where they came from, what to do in times of trouble, etc., and I want to be careful not to put too much focus on the "fascination" of this beautiful group of people. God gave these individuals their gifts and talents, and while they might believe that dream catchers actually "catch" bad dreams (and different arrows hung around the house or wooden figures can bring peace and protection for your home), we have to be careful to explain to OUR children what the Bible says, what we believe, and WHY we believe it. One thing that hit home in my heart was the fact that Native Americans are so intentional in sharing their traditions and beliefs that have been passed down through their families to their own children. That is not some kind of "rumor" we hear about this group of people. We saw it in action today with numerous generations represented and stories told of grandparents and great-grandparents who had passed down various traditions and skills. What we have, as believers, is much more than "traditions" and folk tales. We have the truth, based on both Scripture and historical evidence...let's learn what we can about different cultures, take inspiration from them, and teach our children the truth of the Gospel so they can possibly go into these cultures one day and tell them OUR story :)