At Madras High School, a Native American Student Union (NASU) group is learning how to make traditional moccasins.
Sewing and beading. Keeping tradition alive.
“One put good feelings into their work by their laughter and everything and have a gift that they can keep on giving,” said Charlene Dimmick with the Papalaxsimisha Cultural Center about what she hopes the kids get about the program.
NASU was created In partnership with the “On Track” Program through Oregon Health & Science University.
“I’m hoping that they feel excited to learn something that they might not have the opportunity to learn at home,” said Jillisa Suppah with the Papalaxsimisha Cultural Center. “Also, I am hoping it helps with other needs such as emotional or mental health.”
The Papalaxsimisha program hosts events and a place to learn for Native American students.
“It’s very calm and comforting,” said Madras High sophomore Noelani Kalama. “Just making moccasins, crafting you know.”
The program is held both after school and during lunch once a week in the classroom of long time languages arts teacher Clark Jones.
“My goal is that it becomes a safe place for people to be and it’s a place where they can bounce ideas off of, they can basically, hopefully learn a little bit more about culture and history,” said Jones.
From cutting to beading, since the spring term, moccasin making has been underway.
“I am just starting and I am now putting lines on,” said Madras High sophomore Monicah Jackson-Palmer.
“I have been trying to learn how to do things like triangle patterns and slowly trying to go into feather patterns,” said Madras High junior Annamarie Caldera.
Keeping the cultural skill and the Native American tradition alive.
“I think it is something important to hang on to especially as the generations go on and a lot of people aren’t participating in it anymore,” said Kalama.
The program will continue throughout the school year, and hopes to continue in Warm Springs during summer.