Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Telling the stories of Renton

Renton is reclaiming it's historical roots and passing the stories onto the children of our community. Today at Hazelwood Elementary, storyteller Roger Fernandes helped the the third, fourth and fifth grade students who are studying a "story path" in school about Native American Indians indigenous to the area, to glimpse the life of the Coast Salish Indians through interactive story and drum.

Roger Fernandes, who is a member of the Klallum tribe, is well versed in the legend and lore of the first people of this land we call Renton. These were not the tribes of totem poles and masks, which are to be found miles north of here, but the peoples of the Duwammish. Roger was part of program sponsored by the Renton History Museum, 4Culture, Sam's Club and the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe to help school children understand the local native culture. Fourth grade teacher Lynn Maybee shared that last year when trying to help the children fulfill the CBS (classroom based assessment) curriculum and answer the question of "How did the environment effect the lifestyle, tradition and beliefs of the Native Indians?", there were obvious gaps in the school materials. This year, through the introduction of this new program, a greater depth of understanding and appreciation of the subject had been achieved.

Stories impart not only the feel of a people, but share morals and messages. Roger is a master of the art.

There is always more than one way to teach - and getting your audience on their feet helps engage them at all levels.

If you are a teacher or interested parent, please feel free to call the museum and see if this program could be applicable to your kid's school. The Renton History Museum is a little, local gem that never gets the full attention it deserves, as far as I am concerned. Letting kids get involved with culture leaves its helpful mark on their young psyches for years to come.

Valentine's Day Party for museum volunteers

If you are looking for a great outlet for your volunteer time, the Renton History Museum is a great place to donate. Greeters, docents and other positions are available. It is both a great opportunity to share what you know and to become a part of a huge local learning curve - all at the same time. They really treat you well.

Renton History Museum
235 Mill Ave. South
Renton, WA 98057
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