COOS COUNTY – Coos County is unique because it has two of the nine federally recognized Native American tribes in Oregon.
Coos Bay School District’s Attendance Advocate Breana Landrum pointed this out last week while surrounded by children at the Boys and Girls Club, all of whom were eager to celebrate Native American Heritage Month.
“November is Native American Heritage Month,” Landrum said. “The Coos Bay and North Bend school districts are working alongside the Boys and Girls Club to teach youth about that special heritage here in our county.”
Both school districts spent last week holding activities and assemblies to educate students about the importance of Native Americans, their history, and their local impact.
“We’ve gone into classrooms to talk with the kids about what it means to be Native American and what it means to have a heritage,” Landrum said. “We encouraged them to go home and ask their parents what their heritage is so they can understand why it’s important.”
Last week, Landrum participated in classroom activities covering Native Americans across the United States and localized lessons such as teaching students how to make a deer nosed canoe, the same that were used by local tribes.
Both the Coquille and Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians participated in the events. During after school events last week at the Boys and Girls Club, tribal members drummed with students, taught about traditional tools and native plants. A member from the Coquille Indian Tribe taught about their native language on both Wednesday and Thursday.
“Then we also did beading with the kids and encouraged those who made bracelets to give them to a friend,” Landrum said. “It’s important to teach these parts of our local culture, to show these kids that we are surrounded by so much history, especially when people don’t often talk about it. We need to experience the culture here and show that it exists. Not only does it expose the kids to it who have never seen it before, but it honors the children who do have it in their culture and heritage at home.”