Principal - Crayola Supplement - September/October 2016 - 3

Champion Creatively Alive Children

of differences. "Our students realized
that when functional objects became
embellished, it represented special
significance those objects had in
the daily lives of ancestors," Vaisa
explained. "Today, kids turn on a
faucet to get water. Looking at the
vessels each of the cultures used to
gather water-the Pueblos, Spanish
colonists, and Yankee traders or Anglo
settlers, they began to appreciate what
life was like hundreds of years ago and
who lived on this land before us."
One of Vaisa's favorite crosscurricular art explorations is the
Pueblo storytelling dolls. "The art
forms of pottery and storytelling
are both honored with these dolls.
As students handcrafted their own
versions ... they gain a deeper
appreciation of their own and
classmates' heritage," Vaisa said.

and rancher artists, students engaged
in hands-on art experiences, and saw
and heard performances that they
had never been exposed to before.
Baker described a scene from his
schoolwide assembly that moved him
deeply: "As the traditional music and
dance began, students were asked to
close their eyes to connect with the
spiritual energy. They all did it-and
we all felt something powerful. The
past came toward us and brought
students to a collectively respectful
place. Days after the event, students
both from the reservation and the
rancher communities commented on
how special it felt to be together in this
schoolwide celebration of respect."
Baker offers advice to principals
interested in using the arts to build a
sense of personal identity and respect
for others' cultural narratives:

Santo Niño
Regional Catholic School,
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Reversing
Stereotypes
Consider how the objectives of this
project can be adapted to your
school. Educators in Seligman,
Arizona, wanted an innovative,
uplifting approach to combat the
misunderstandings that have been
prevalent in their community for
generations. For hundreds of years,
the people who lived in this area
had dismissed, disliked, distrusted,
or disrupted the lives of others who
lived near them. Seligman Elementary
School principal Jeff Baker and his
creative leadership team of teacher
leaders considered how the arts could
instill a sense of pride and respect
for both the Native American and
ranching cultures their students came
from. They found that immersing
students in the traditional visual art,
dance, music, and storytelling of
their elders helped dispel myths and
reverse stereotypes.
"When we approached the objective
through art, it enabled our students
to feel good about where they came
from, connect with who they are,
become curious about and respectful
of others' traditions," Baker explained.
With the help of the Hualapai tribe
www.naesp.org

n

n

Students at Santo Niño Regional
Catholic School explore the traditional
art of storytelling dolls.

n

Vansville
Elementary School,
Beltsville, Maryland

n

Be patient. It takes time and
tenacity to puncture the myths
about others. Art helps to paint a
more meaningful picture of who
these "different and too often
distrusted people" really are.
Establish trust with the community.
You'll need to find out how each
community protects certain
traditions and what would or
wouldn't be appropriate to share in
school. Elders take very seriously the
transmission of traditions to the next
generation, so ask for their guidance
and don't overstep boundaries.
Be authentic. Each culture has
a rich set of traditions that need
to be researched and respected.
For example, when students
made storytelling necklaces and
handcrafted animal beads, they were
mindful of the attitude differences
various tribes on the reservation
have toward animal species. Some
tribes view bison as the symbol of
strength; for other tribes strength
is symbolized by the hawk. Some
students did not create owl or snake
beads out of respect for what those
creatures mean to their tribes.
Provide a balance. Be inclusive of all
cultures represented in your school.

Principal Special Supplement n September/October 2016

3


http://www.naesp.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Principal - Crayola Supplement - September/October 2016

Contents
Principal - Crayola Supplement - September/October 2016 - Cover1
Principal - Crayola Supplement - September/October 2016 - Cover2
Principal - Crayola Supplement - September/October 2016 - Contents
Principal - Crayola Supplement - September/October 2016 - 2
Principal - Crayola Supplement - September/October 2016 - 3
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Principal - Crayola Supplement - September/October 2016 - Cover3
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