Native American storyteller Perry Ground visited all eight ICSD elementary schools in October, thanks to a Connecting Classrooms grant from the Ithaca Public Education Initiative (IPEI).
Ground, an author and speaker, is a Turtle Clan member of the Onondaga Nation of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy. He has been a storyteller and educator for over 25 years and enjoys working with students of all ages to teach about the history and culture of Native Americans.
During visits to each school, Ground held an engaging and interactive storytelling event for all students, then worked in-depth with fourth-graders to teach them more about the Haudenosaunee and their traditional and modern customs. His traditional stories, learned from elders, highlight the beliefs, traditions, and history of the Haudenosaunee people.
The ICSD's elementary librarians applied for a Connecting Classrooms grant, which supports programs over multiple schools, classrooms, and/or grade levels, to support Ground's visit.
"At the end of the experience, students will understand and be able to articulate that Haudenosaunee culture lives on in our region and is not just a remnant from the past," said lead grant applicant and Caroline Elementary librarian Milly Stephenson.
The grant was named in honor of Mary Grainger, a longtime IPEI board member and volunteer.