A Chance to Glance at the Past

Clyde Miller Elementary fourth graders unloaded lunch bins from the bus on a chilly Friday around 10:00 AM. Four groups split off in different directions at the Plains Conservation Center. Invested staff from Denver Botanic Gardens led our educational programs.

Ms. Judy told us the spiky yucca plant had many uses for Native Americans. Observant students noticed it had been chewed on--likely by a pronghorn antelope.

The tipi encampment is nested amidst the far expanses of flat grasslands. The Cheyenne were able to trade with Utes in the mountains to get lodge poles for their tipi structures. The chief had the most decorated bison hide. The paint depicts the night sky and a horse, with an emphasis on its heart.

Inside the tipi, students in groups of three constructed models of tipis, then put pictograph cloth tiles in order to review the process.

By midday, puffy coats were shed to enjoy the warmth of the sun. Youth played with traditional games of Man Stick, during which they shuffled tiles and dropped them to the ground. Depending on how the sticks fell, kids earned points!