A Native American artifacts exhibit, created in partnership between TIDE and the Windes family, is on display this month as a learning opportunity for students from every division.
The collection includes bowls, grinding stones, jewelry and more. All of the artifacts on display are local to California, and each set of artifacts include a short description written by a TIDE student based off the insight of the Windes family and independent research. There are also QR codes linking to videos that help students learn more about what’s on display.
The Native American Artifacts Exhibit is an effort to celebrate and honor the Native American people and community. It is a joint collaboration between the Upper School Tartan Inclusion and Diversity (TIDE) student leadership group and the Windes family.
The exhibit reflects an effort more than a year in the making. The Windes family connected with St. Margaret’s last school year about the possibility of a Native American exhibit, and offered a set of their family’s personal collection of Native American artifacts to enhance student learning. The idea was pursued further this fall, as TIDE students engaged in Native American History Month and connected with alumnus Brayden Windes ’20, a Muscogee Nation Native American.
TIDE students have been reviewing and organizing the special collection for the best way to present the story it tells to students in all divisions. Early Childhood School students have visited the exhibit, guided by TIDE students. Members of TIDE also visited Middle School and Lower School students during their Chapel to share background on the exhibit and invite students to visit.
“The Native American artifacts exhibit is important because it reminds us not only of the past but how we can make a better future,” TIDE member and Upper School junior Luciana Varkevisser said. “History is a powerful tool of education, especially visual artifacts. In TIDE we feel that it is important to recognize and celebrate the cultures of all groups and ethnicities. This exhibit is just one of the many ways we can educate ourselves on different peoples to make sure that we remember the contributions that they have given to society. Through the development of this exhibit, I was able to educate myself on the Acjachemen and Tongva tribes and their culture. I have loved being able to share my learning with the St. Margaret’s community, and I hope they gain the same appreciation for California history that I have.”
Last month, Brayden’s grandparents, Mary and John Windes, visited with TIDE to share their personal narratives and further guide the creation of the narrative of the exhibit.
Victor Cota, Director of Equity and Inclusion, shared, “I am incredibly proud of the job that the TIDE students did with this exhibit. When we first engaged in the project, we wanted to ensure that our learning was authentic and deep. We knew that if we wanted to learn about those who lived on this land before us and who continue to live alongside us, we had to take the time to hear their stories, listen to their perspectives, and develop a robust understanding of history. Once the TIDE students felt confident that they had done so, they wanted to share that learning with their community. It was spectacular to watch and listen to our oldest Tartans sharing, smiling, questioning, and discussing with our youngest Tartans.”
St. Margaret’s would like to thank the Windes family for contributing these artifacts and providing this learning experience to the school community.