Monday, October 25, 2010

On Sunday, October 24, The Aldridge Botanical Gardens in Hoover, AL presented in partnership with the Moundville Archaeological Park , "Whispers from the Past: A Native American Experience" During the event, visitors got to experience traditional Native American culture through a number of activities provided. The Anthro-Teach team was present to offer an anthropological perspective on Native American cultural history.

Both students and faculty members provided presentations in three different sessions. Many of the visitors in these sessions were educators from local schools. The information presented was along with suggestions of ways that it could be incorporated into the K-12 classroom curriculum.

The topic of the first session was Native American ethnobotany. In this section the presenters were Dr. Loretta Cormier, Courtney Andrews, and Ashley Wilson. Here the presenters discussed different ways that Native Americans from the Southeastern U.S. identified and used plants in their everyday lives. The main focus of this section was the use of plants for food and medicinal purposes.

The topic of the second session was Native American archaeology. In this section Dr. Sharyn Jones, Mallory Messersmith, and Brandon Grisaffi discussed different aspects of Native American culture that have been discovered through archaeological research. The presenters provided information about different methods that archaeologists use to study material remains of past cultures, physical examples of different types of Native American artifacts, and information about what can be learned from the study of them.

In the third session the presenters Dave Cunningham, Anna McCown, and Chauntelle Sharp were able to recruit audience members to participate in demonstrations of Native American music and dance. Along with this they included information about the cultural and social contexts involved in the performances.

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