Between Earth and Sky

The cycle of life, East (birth), South (youth), West (adulthood) and North (time of being an elder) are recognized by western culture of four directions.  Native Americans recognize seven.  These four, and Earth and Sky.  And the seventh is the direction within us all, where it helps us recognize right from wrong and maintain the balance by choosing to live in a good way.

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These are not the exact words, but it is from the book Between Earth & Sky by Joseph Bruchac.  A beautiful book by the way.

I think these are good goals. Good words.  Words to keep in mind as we go live our days.

Native Americans : Southeast Tribes

While we took a little over a month to study the Eastern Woodland Tribes we gave just a week or so, to the Southeast Tribes.  We were finishing our year, our energy was gearing towards the holidays and other things.  We thought it would be good to focus a little less in this area, also seeming that there wasn’t a lot of material for us to study.  As it happened with the tribes from California.  There were a lot less resources.  But it was OK.

We did the activities from the book series we’ve studied from the other tribes.

Most of the reading we did was from the book series we have really enjoyed reading and learning from, the First Nations of North America.

The more we study and learn, the more we realize how hard it was and must have been for the Native Americans, back then.  When they lived in their lands, in their homes, and they were forced to leave and move to an unknown territory, with no space, or foods.  Take for example the terrible Trail of Tears.  Oh my goodness.

How hard.  Why? How?  Many questions arose in our daily conversations.  Are native americans still mad at white people? Should they have their land back? Why did the Europeans just come and take over?  What if Squanto wouldn’t have helped them survive? What would the story be like?  Why did Europeans take man as slaves? Is that fair or even possible? How could they? How come the government would ask Native Americans to sign papers (to give up their land) when they didn’t even speak (or read!) the same language? How would we feel if people would come to us now and made us move to another town, without our belongings?  What would native americans do if they had a chance to rewind time… how far would they go to? What would they do different?  This keeps coming up in their concerns.  So interesting to hear and talk about this all.

So many questions.  So many discussions. So much playing.  Knowledge sharing, trying to discuss at their own level.  How much understanding and learning we’ve done.  It’s amazing, and so much fun to be able to do this together.  Though I think we are ready to get into a little “happier theme”, we know this is real history, and real lives.  But we are thinking we’d like a change.  We’ll see what we come up with next.

Here are the books we used for the Southeast Tribes unit:

If you have any other resources, please add them in the comment section in case someone would like to use them.  Thanks!

(Sorry I have no pictures of this unit… not sure why.)

Native Americans : Northeast Woodland Tribes : birch bark canoes (part 2)

We made birch bark canoes.

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You know, the small kind.

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Just like the baskets we made earlier (that I posted about few days ago), we made the template on regular paper first, to make sure we liked the design and the size.

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We then traced it on the birch bark, cut it with scissors, and then started sewing.  This required a lot more sewing than the basket, and we had to be really careful so not to break the bark when folding it.

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We added a small twig on the top of the canoe, on the edge, so it would keep a little better… also because that’s how some of their canoes looked in the photos.

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They were (also) tiny, and they turned out so cute!  We made quite a few, and lots of them are on the day-to0day playing Lucas and Siena do.

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I think I’ll make a few more of these too.. they looks so cute!

 

 

Native Americans + Pilgrims

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Around Thanksgiving time we focused our studies of Native Americans their relationship with the Europeans and the Pilgrims.

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We read how the pilgrims came in the Mayflower, and how hard it was for them to settle and get started in their lives here in the New World.

We also learned about their homes and how they started their settlements.

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And how the kids learned in schools.  

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And how they turned fabrics into beautiful quilts.  And how the names of the patterns came to be, and how they are similar to what they are actually called, are still very much the same today.

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For me it’s been a great way to celebrate the holidays, learning a little bit more about how they came to be, and a great timing for our unit I think.

celebrating

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As it has become, the tradition is to get together with our friends on Christmas Eve, and celebrate with a special meal, as I did growing up in Chile. Together, in family, with our dear friends.

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This year, even more special than ever, with the cutest little one in our arms.  And she can’t make this aunt happier with her beautiful smile.  A special gift indeed.

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And a morning, full.

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Full of surprises.

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Full of playing.

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Full of traditions.

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Full of handmades.

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Full of smiles and fun moments.

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And this photo to remember later, that we did pretty good on the cleaning part.  Just a handful of bags for the garbage.  A grocery bag full of recycling.  And a whole bunch of fabric bags and boxes we will reuse and use them again, many more times in the future.  Ahhhhh… it feels good to waste less.  It feels really good.

We had a beautiful, slow Christmas. Together as a family.  I love seeing the faces of these three lovely people I live with, open their presents.  Those presents we’ve been hiding for a while.  Those we’ve been making for a while.  Those we thought and figured out how to make for that special someone.  How beautiful it is to share with those we love.  This time, it was again, just wonderful.

Hoping your holidays were beautiful too.

 

 

christmastime at home

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I love Christmastime.  It is my favorite holiday for sure.  And I love it that we can be home, and be together.  It is just perfect.

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I love the lights, the tree, the decorations, the candles, the making, the gatherings, the celebrations.  Even the darkness… yes!  It makes the light (and the lights!) even that much more special.

DSC_0173-small DSC_0174-smallThe making, the elfing, the secrets, the learning, the thinking, the believing.  All of it, it’s so special at this time.

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The wishing, the making (yes, lots of types of making!), the stories, the traditions.

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So much fun.  So much fun.

good + happy words

These words I like and they make me smile.

* live * love * stars * hugs * music *

* smile * read * knit * dolphins *

* snow * cook * walk * listen * learn * tea * travels *

* red leaves * beautiful * simple * handmade *

* river * garden * sheep * Taj Mahal *

* fabric * moon * light * adventures *

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* quilt * autumn * chocolate * sew *

* wind * whales * rain * peace * road trip *

* breathe * delight * candles * water * create *

* winter * silence * creek * mountains *

* gentle * talk * kind * hand spin *

* book * new pens * paper * friends *

* fire * cozy * beluga * thankful *

* twinkling lights * wool * slippers *

What words make you smile?