SMES Alumnus Leads Grade 6 Students Through Exploration of Native American Spirituality Traditions

Students in St. Margaret’s grade 6 spirituality class explored Native American spiritual traditions and practices in a lesson taught by St. Margaret’s alumnus Brayden Windes ’20.
Brayden, a Muscogee Creek Nation Native American, worked with spirituality teachers Darla Magana and Father Earl Gibson, as well as Director of Equity and Inclusion Victor Cota, to develop the lesson touching on impactful topics around Native American spirituality and mindfulness. Brayden is a student at Brown University and created the lesson remotely, which touched numerous topics like:
  • A video that introduces Native American spirituality
  • A guided mindfulness exercise that students practiced in the Middle School courtyard.
  • An educational lesson about Native American spirit animals, how they are designated and what they mean.
  • A short read about Native American ethics and a discussion on which ones the students felt were important.
Students had the opportunity to reflect on the different points of the lesson and even took part in a creative activity to brainstorm possible spirit animals that might align with their personalities, though Brayden emphasized that spirit animals in Native American culture typically are not self-appointed.
Brayden has worked with multiple divisions at St. Margaret’s to bring authentic Native American lessons to Tartan students. In March, Brayden and his grandparents produced a video lesson on local Native American tribes and artifacts as part of this year’s grade 3 San Juan Capistrano Day celebration.
Spirituality is offered to all grade 6 students as part of their enrichment curriculum. The course focuses on spiritual character development and provides students with a foundation in faith, values, and attitudes.
An independent preschool through grade 12 college-preparatory day school in Orange County, California
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St. Margaret’s Episcopal School
31641 La Novia Avenue
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
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