Leschi kids have a blast while learning a thing or two at Culture Day

By Molly Bryant, Puyallup Tribal News

On Friday, Chief Leschi Schools held their annual Culture Day, an event dedicated to teaching students about Puyallup Tribal culture and traditions.

The whole school gathered together for fun activities. Language, Fisheries, Diving and other departments within the Puyallup Tribe ran stations set up on the school’s playing fields, each dedicated to a fun educational activity.

The Language Program’s station had traditional Native games in Lushootseed to help revitalize ancestral activities with the Tribal youth, including “ʔəƛ’əxʷ ʔəsx̌ayəb – come forth laughing”, and “təlawil ɫi čix̌icut – run screaming.” The game, “xʷiʔ lək’ʷəɫdxʷ! – don’t spill!” allowed children to practice these Twulshootseed phrases and use all of their five teachers (five senses) – cəlac ti dxʷgʷalčšid. 

Language Program Director Amber Sterud Hayward said, “It’s always a wonderful feeling to share time and space with our Tribal youth and get them excited to experience our language. We hope to make healthy connections and feeling toward our language that they will remember throughout their lives.”

Additionally, there were craft stations where students could make dream catchers or flying eagle puppets, a garden yoga station, a mock fishing simulation, jump rope and basketball.

Keeping our culture alive, children joined for a pole-raising ceremony and song and dance circle. Older children helped teach the younger ones how to dance and rattle to the beat of the song. The day ended with an all-school Tribal powwow.