Cleaning the fibers from soap root plants to create traditional brushes and traditional beading were just two of the activities students enjoyed on Native American Education Day at the Mendocino County Museum.
“History brings us into the present, and today, you get to hang out with history at the museum,” explained Alison Glassey, Mendocino County Museum director,as students gathered on the patio of the museum. “History is not just about artifacts: Native American history and culture are a living and vibrant thing,” she added.
Over 120 students filled the halls, galleries and classrooms of the museum to participate in activities related to “Woven Worlds”, an exhibit that is the first permanent display of Native American history in Mendocino County. The exhibit also focuses on contemporary life. Instructors from local tribes taught traditional activities and cultural practices.
Wailaki has not been spoken for over 50 years, but students at Round Valley High School introduced themselves to the group at the museum in Wailaki before the activities started. “We consider the language sleeping and we are now re-awakening the language,” said one student. “I can learn how my ancestors thought about their world, and learn to describe my world using my own language. We can help bring our culture back one word at a time, and you can do it too.”