Native American Culture "Catches the Dreams" of Youth at UNESCO Summer Academy of Learning in eastern Europe
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The goals of the workshop included brining cultural awareness and understanding of Native American traditions. To teach a craft that would be new to many students, increasing imagination, creative problem solving and strengthening fine motor skills in the making of the Dream Catcher for younger and older participants. Also we wanted to promote student having an active role in their own learning and to spark an interest in students to be curious to, own their own, learn more about Native Americans, their history and traditions.
The student had the opportunity to learn more about the Native American cultures through worksheets and discussion. We then opened up to importance of symbols of the Native American culture and more specifically, the symbolism behind the craft of Dream Catchers. An example of this would be the hoop, or circle. Some Native Americans of North America hold the hoop in the highest esteem, because it symbolized strength and unity. Many symbols started around the hoop, and one of these symbols is the Dream Catcher.
Students had the opportunity to explore a wide range of art material for creating their Dream Catchers and it even took their creativity one step further using the natural resources around them. When we discussed the meaning behind the Dream Catcher and how it works, student drew personal meaning to them and expressed it in their design. The traditional dream catcher was intended to protect the sleeping individual, while letting positive dreams through. The positive dreams would slip through the hole in the center of the dream catcher, and glide down the feathers to the sleeping person below. The not so positive dreams would get caught up in the web, and expire when the first rays of the sun struck them.
Students created Dream Catchers of all different sizes and hung them in an outdoor gallery for all to enjoy. The area around the Dream Catchers became a place where people gathered to sit, talk and maybe even think about their dreams.
The World Genesis Foundation is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization that was founded on November 30, 1999 and is dedicated to a vision and mission to "leave no child without hope for the future." Headquartered in Santa Fe, NM USA, the foundation supports activities worldwide to create educational, scientific and cultural opportunities for youth with a special focus in areas of the world where these opportunities are limited or do not exist.
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