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Front Page » December 14, 2004 » Lifestyle » A Lesson in Native American History
Published 4,451 days ago

A Lesson in Native American History

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Staff Writer

Andrea Worthen shows the students Native American dance.

Andrea Worthen visited area schools recently to teach them about the culture and heritage of the Native American people in recognition of November, Native American month. Her presentation included a segment that explained the various kinds of dress and the meaning of the decorations, a slide presentation, a video presentation, several articles of handwork and she performed a dance for the students.

Worthen is a Ferron resident and she is the daughter of Ralph and Loretta Worthen. During Andrea's time at Brigham Young University, she was a member of the dance troupe that toured and performed at minority multi-cultural events around the United States. She has received her bachelors degree, her masters degree, and will receive her juris doctorate in law in December.

Andrea's slide presentation was of a powwow. She told the students that a powwow is a meeting, celebration and dance competition in which many people from many tribes participate. The dancers were dressed in very brightly colored and varied costume. The contestants compete is different categories of dance.

The video that Andrea presented was recently on the Hallmark Hall of Fame. It told the Native American story of the origin of the Big Dipper. Along with the story of the beginning of the Big Dipper, this story, as well as all of the Native American stories, told many moral values that children should learn. These stories are passed from generation to generation.

Andrea explained that the stories which are passed on tell young people how to live their lives. Included in these lessons is a healthy respect for the earth and all it contains. Young people must learn to respect each other, the earth, the animals and themselves. They also learn that there is a spirit in everything and that is also to be respected.

On display, for the students to look at and ask questions about, were many items that Andrea has collected or been given. There were two special Navajo dresses, family photos, maize, an eagle feather fan, silver and turquoise jewelry and books. Andrea answered the questions the students had and she also tested the students knowledge of Native American.

Andrea played a trivia game with the students that tested their knowledge. The students learned that 25 of the 50 states are named using Native American people or words. They also learned that there are seven Native American reservations in Utah, the Navajo is the most populace tribe in America, and that the largest concentration of Native American people per capita is in New York City.

In conclusion, Andrea requested the students to remember the respect that they learned in the video. She asked them to respect each other, their families and to learn more about other cultures than their own.

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