SANDPOINT — Hopi means peace, therefore the Hopi were a peaceful tribe of Native Americans.
This is one of many facts recited by Selle Valley Carden School fifth-graders Trent Peck and Grace Meekings, who became experts on the Hopi as they studied the tribe for the school's Traditions of History event on June 6.
"The women wore cotton dresses and they would never cut their hair," Trent continued.
Also, while they were a peaceful people, the children were not allowed to play with the "dolls," which were actually religious symbols of the tribe, or one of the child's parents would be sacrificed, the young duo said.
As each of Selle Valley's older students learned about a different tribe, Paige Rief about the Pawnee Tribe for her Traditions of History project. The Pawnee were a war tribe, Paige said — exactly the opposite of the peaceful Hopi. They also sacrificed tribal members, though not exactly as the Hopi did. The Pawnee sacrificed regularly to their gods as part of their religion. Addisyn Wengard was a wealth of information about the Comanche Tribe as well. She even brought her Appaloosa horse, Rocky, who was painted up as a war horse as part of the exhibit. Addisyn said she learned the Comanche were the first tribe to use horses.
Each of the youngsters who studied a Native American territory were tasked with learning what the different tribes in that territory wore, what they ate, how and what they hunted, their beliefs and more, said Selle Valley teacher Stacy Rief.
"They learned so much and it was just fun," Rief said.
Many of the Selle Valley students move on to Forrest Bird Charter School for middle school, Rief said. Each year, the charter school hosts a World's Fair event, where the students research and present different areas of history to the community.
"We thought this would be a good way to prep them," Rief said.
While the older students learned about Native Americans, the younger kindergarten and first-grade students learned about the Oregon Trail and what it was like for kids. The second- and third-graders focused on the Lewis and Clark expedition.
The kids researched events of the past, made items to show the significance of the events, and even dressed the part. Second-grader Anders Mellander was dressed as former U.S. President Thomas Jefferson as he detailed the events leading up to the Lewis and Clark expedition, explaining how the duo ended up at Camp Wood in Illinois, which was the starting point for the expedition.
"And then, on May 14, 1804, they leave Camp Wood and the expedition begins," Anders said excitedly.
Mary Malone can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee.