Greetings in the Wyandotte language.
The River Raisin National Battlefield Park where I work commemorates two battles that took place in January of 1813, during the War of 1812. Michiganders, Kentuckians, British, Canadians, French settlers, and 13 native nations fought on this soil, including the Wyandotte. Since the Battlefield became the 393 National Park unit in 2009, our Superintendent, Scott Bentley, has reached out to the Wyandotte of Anderdon in southeastern Michigan, and Wyandotte Nation based in Oklahoma, to learn their stories. We previously only knew the American side of the battles, but we wished to learn more about the other groups that fought and sacrificed their time and lives here. Every side of the story deserves to be told.
In addition to us learning the Wyandotte story, we wanted to share it with the local community. Therefore, this past week some friends of ours from the Wyandotte Nation in Oklahoma joined the park and the Wyandotte of Anderdon to put on two Wyandotte Field Trips. One occurred at the Battlefield on Tuesday, and the other at a local high school on Wednesday. We had almost 1000 children visit, and they walked to different stations to learn about Wyandotte history and culture.
One station was all about language!
A 14-year old from the Wyandotte Nation demonstrated Fancy Dancing at another station for every single school group. He was fantastic! I would have been exhausted!
We also had representatives from the Eastern Michigan University Lacrosse team. A few of these guys had led a Lacrosse camp for some of the youth in Oklahoma, so they were well accustomed with lacrosse’s place in Native American history.
The other stations included storytelling, naming, the history and care of drums, history surrounding the Wyandotte removal, games, artifacts, and information about the Wyandotte today.
Looking forward discovering more stories, and participating in many field trips to come!