Robins celebrates Native American Heritage Month with cultural displays

  • Published
  • By Amanda Creel
  • 78 ABW/PA
Members of the Robins community spent Nov. 8 learning to appreciate the Native American culture as both Robins Elementary and the courtyard between Bldg. 300 and 301 transformed into a cultural center.

Both adults and children in the Robins community had the opportunity to enjoy demonstrations of survival skills, traditional dancing and even an opportunity to identify some of their own archeological treasures during the day's festivities.

Scott Jones with Media Prehistoria spent the morning showing Robins Elementary students from third to sixth grade some of the many primitive skills used by different tribes to survive

The young students were intrigued. Greg Kingsley, 9, said he was amazed at how fast Mr. Jones started a fire using friction and that he couldn't believe how far he was able to shoot the arrows using a bow. Mack Taylor, 12, was equally excited about shooting the bow and arrow. He was lucky enough to be chosen to go and retrieve the arrows with one of his classmates, Tyler Little, 12.

"I expected them to be heavier. I can't believe how far they went seeing as they were just plain sticks," Mack said.

"My favorite part was when he shot the atlatl (spear-throwing device) and how they caught the food," said Caleigh Free, 10. She added she learned a lot about how hard they worked for everything they had.

After spending the morning with the elementary school students, members of the observation committee and Mr. Jones packed up and took their cultural display to the courtyard between Bldgs. 300 and 301 to share with members of the Team Robins workforce.

For some of the adult members of the community, the event brought an opportunity to reminisce about their younger days when they trolled through Middle Georgia in search of lost artifacts such as pieces of pottery, tools and spear points.

Randall McKinney, a C-130 Hercules sheet metal mechanic, said he and his brothers have been hunting for Native American artifacts for years and he appreciates the opportunity to learn about some of the artifacts he's collected over the years from local experts.

As some members of the Robins workforce spent their lunch breaks examining artifacts, others enjoyed the opportunity to see a presentation by the Mandaree Dancers of many traditional Native American dancing styles.

Lester Howell, an aircraft sheet metal mechanic, said after seeing the dancers perform at the luncheon he couldn't resist the chance to see the dancers up close.

Nancy Riggins, technical publications specialist, joined the dancers as they illustrated some traditional dances. "I have Indian heritage and it was just exciting getting back to your roots," she said.

During the event at the courtyard, about 300 community members enjoyed the primitive skills demonstrations, fresh roasted corn coated in butter and salt, the dancing demonstrations and the opportunity to identify or classify artifacts.

"This is the best turn out we have had at any of our Native American Heritage Observance activities. We will definitely be doing this again next year," said Becky Crader, cultural resources manager.

Many of the participants agreed the big draw to the courtyard was the chance to learn about different aspects of the Native American culture. They said it is important to learn about the different cultures represented on base because there are so many represented.

"It opens you up to different cultures when you see where people come from," said Janna Layson, a data sustainment specialist.