Friday, October 8, 2010

Day #21/175 Days

We headed south today to the coast for a program put on every October by the Damariscotta River Association. It is about the Native American culture found in Maine. David Moses Bridges was our instructor. He is a member of the Pasamaquoddy Tribe.


He was  very knowledgeable and, more importantly, enjoyed sharing that knowledge with us.

He had brought a birch bark canoe he had made using traditional skills. It had no nails or screws in it and used no adhesive. It was made from one large piece of birch bark. It only weighed 55 pounds but could carry up to 700 pounds.


A close up of the details. 

Soon after we headed down to the village that was being built near the water. During the course of the program they have a number of schools and homeschoolers who come through. At the village, they teach the children how the Native Americans had lived and they participate in finding food and helping to build a wigwam. The frames are up, but the children help make grass mats to shingle them.


The kids are heading down to the village carrying bundles of hay to be made into mats for the wigwam construction.


Our first view of the village. It’s hidden by some trees so you walk around a bend and there it is in front of you. It was so very cool.


A partially finished wigwam. Every year they do this program and construct these since the winter elements destroy them. These would have been summer homes for the tribes living near the coast.   

After the kids had spent some time exploring and helping to build the wigwam, we headed back to the main instruction area.

David talked about etchings done on birch bark and showed us some examples that he has made.


Then the children were all given a small 1x1 square of birch bark and allowed to make their own etchings. David had even made some stencils that they could use to create their designs.


Lego-Man is contemplating what he’s going to make.

They sketched out their design in pencil or pen first. Then the bark had to soak for about five minutes in a bucket of water to soften. Once it is softened they could scrape their design out.  Here is Lego-Man’s finished etching:


All the kids seem to have had a great time. I could easily see us going back next year or even going back for another of their programs. 

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