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Exploring Oneida Culture through our food systems

Updated: Apr 23


Today, I had the privilege of sharing the rich cultural heritage of the Oneida people through hands-on presentations featuring the story of the corn husk doll. As I reflect on the experience, I am reminded of the importance of preserving traditions and passing down ancestral knowledge to future generations.

The presentations took place at Howard Elementary School in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where I had the opportunity to engage with eager young minds from various grade levels. From fourth graders to first graders, each group brought their own curiosity and enthusiasm to learn about the history and traditions of the Oneida Nation.

One of the key aspects of the presentation was discussing the Oneida people's journey to Wisconsin, highlighting the challenges they faced during their removal and resettlement.

By sharing this history, I aimed to foster empathy and understanding among the students, encouraging them to recognize and respect the experiences of Indigenous communities.

Furthermore, I delved into the significance of food systems within the Oneida culture, shedding light on traditional food preparation methods and the importance of sustainability. Through interactive discussions, students gained insights into the holistic approach to food that has sustained the Oneida people for generations.

In addition to discussing food systems, I also showcased various forms of artwork deeply rooted in Oneida tradition. From raised beadwork to intricate basket making, each art form carries its own story and symbolism, serving as a testament to the creativity and resilience of the Oneida people.

As the day came to a close, I left Howard Elementary School feeling grateful for the opportunity to share my culture and traditions with the next generation. Through moments of learning and creativity, I hope to have sparked a sense of curiosity and appreciation for Indigenous cultures that enrich our world.

In closing, I extend my gratitude to the students, teachers, and staff of Howard Elementary School for welcoming me into their community and embracing the spirit of cultural exchange. May this experience serve as a stepping stone towards greater understanding, respect, and unity among all peoples. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Planting Seeds of Knowledge (SEEDS) grant program for making these presentations a reality. This initiative, funded by the Wisconsin Arts Board's "Wisconsin Regranting Program" and the Oneida Nation Arts Program (ONAP), has been instrumental in supporting our efforts. If you're interested in learning more about the SEEDS grant program, feel free to reach out to me at starrmerrie@gmail.com (please include "SEEDS grant" in the subject line).


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