Students conducted research to study all aspects of Kumeyaay history. Through online research, reading books, and visiting Kumeyaay land, museums, and cultural centers, the third graders discovered that Kumeyaay used all the resources that nature had to offer. Without sewing machines, stores to buy food, or modern medicine, each person in the Kumeyaay tribe had a role to play. From hunters and gatherers, to medicine men and chiefs, the Kumeyaay found a way to help one another survive.
But our project didn’t end with studying the Kumeyaay’s past. Students wanted to know more! They still had so many questions about what Kumeyaay and Native Californians’ lives are like now. Do they still wear skirts made of yucca and willow bark? Do they live off the land and eat shawii (acorn mush)? We were determined to find out!
With all these unanswered questions, we seized an opportunity to visit a Native Californian Charter School located in Valley Center. Students wrote down their burning questions and prepared interviews to find out what living as a Native Californian is like now. We were graciously welcomed by All Tribes Charter School, where guest speakers taught us about bird songs and traditions that have carried on through history. Next, students interviewed 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students. To many of their surprise, they learned that while Native Californians have carried on many of their traditions, their lives are very similar to ours!