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SCHOOL SPOTLIGHT: Grand View Hosts Native American Culture Festival | New

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Grand View School hosted the Native American Song and Food Festival on Nov. 17, and students and their families — some wearing Native American regalia — learned more about Native cultures.

Glenda Sellers, Grand View’s family engagement coordinator and director of 21st Century Community Learning Centers, said one of the festival’s goals was to highlight Native American Heritage Month. She said they had been hosting the festival since around 2017, but hadn’t attended the event for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We want to maintain our culture,” Sellers said. “We want to make sure our kids know who they are, where they’re from, and have a sense of belonging because of our Native American population at this school.”

The event featured Cherokee-related song, dance, and food offered to students and their families.

The school’s Cherokee language and culture class sang several songs in Cherokee, including “I’ll Fly Away” and “Amazing Grace”. Sellers said other groups participated, such as the Cherokee Baptist Choir, Cherokee Adult Choir and Medicine Eagle Dance Troupe.

Vendors said there were several different tribes in attendance, as well as a few ambassadors from the Cherokee Nation.

“It lets everyone know that we’re proud of our culture. We’re proud of who we are and want everyone to see the things we can do,” Sellers said.

Pork, crawfish, kanuchi and other traditional foods were featured to help showcase another aspect of Native American culture. Several Cherokee National Treasures also showed off their skills through basket weaving, traditional weapons and matchmaking.

“It’s always an honor for our national treasures to show off their skills to young people. They got to go to their tables and touch the displays, and get hands-on experiences with the culture,” Sellers said.

The vendor said she hopes the students who attended will try to keep Native American culture and language alive.

“I hope they learn how to carry on the culture as they get older, teach it to younger students and children,” Sellers said.

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