November is Native American Heritage Month in Oklahoma and the Colcord schools celebrated it the week beginning November 4.
On Monday, Rob Matney, the after-school program director, had Janelle Adair come in and show the students how to play Cherokee marbles.
Adair shared that Cherokee marbles had been played since “before contact”, meaning before the Europeans came to North America.
Today the game is played with billiard balls, where earlier it was played with rounded and polished rocks.
It is similar to croquet, though you toss your ball, instead of a hit with a mallet.
Your ball is moved through a series of four little pits in the ground and once through all four, you become poison and can toss your ball to hit another player’s ball, knocking them out of the game.
The winner is the last person to have a ball.
The kids enjoyed learning a new game as well as learning about Cherokee history.
On Thursday, the elementary classes were in the Earp Arena to watch Native American dancing and singing.
Wade Blevin (Cherokee-Irish) was the speaker, singer and drummer joined by David Binder (speaking and dancing) and Ahyoka Youngdon (speaker and shell-dancer), wearing shells made from box turtle shells.
Blevin’s wife, Peggy and 5 year old daughter Brailynn, also joined in as dancers.
Other dancers were Yvonne Matthews (Seneca-Cayuga) and Mahayla Matthews (Seneca-Cayuga-Delaware-Cherokee-Creek).
The kids were taught the Stomp Dance, the Robin Dance, the Alligator Dance (Seminole) and the Duck Dance (Cherokee).
For each of the dances, some students were picked to join the dance and in the last dance, The Robin Dance, all the students were invited to join in.
Interestingly, all Native American dances go counter-clockwise in honor of the direction the Earth, moon and planets circle the sun.
They knew that before the Europeans figured that out hundreds of years later.
The students learned that Oklahoma has more Indian tribe governments (39) in the state than any other state in the Union, who were moved here from all states east of the Mississippi around 1840.
Colcord is proud of its Native American heritage, not only celebrated in the schools, but have two acclaimed Indian rodeos in their state of the art, $70,000 re-furbished rodeo facility, during the summer.