BARROWS — When the children at Annie’s Childcare and Learning Center in Barrows began learning about Thanksgiving in preparation for Thursday’s holiday, it gave childcare center owner Joann Ostrowski an idea.
Ostrowski invited her cousin, Bob Anthony Sr., and his family over to the childcare center to demonstrate Native American dances and discuss Native culture as a special Thanksgiving program. The children and staff dressed as pilgrims and Native Americans. Many of their parents also attended the special celebration Tuesday at the childcare center.
The Anthony family burned sage to purify and cleanse themselves for the dance, a traditional ceremony called smudging.
Anthony, dressed in a Native American eagle feather bustle, smiled and tapped a few little ones on their homemade pilgrim hats with his turkey feather fan as he passed by during a Native dance.
Anthony’s daughter, Lisa Anthony-Pendegayosh wore a traditional Native jingle dress while her brothers, Quinn, and Robert Anthony Jr., wore wolf and fox dance regalia.
Anthony-Pendagayosh’s son, Brandon Anthony, explained what his family members were wearing and its significance and performed the flag song while drumming on his hand drum he made from a deer hide two years ago.
The children were invited to join the Native dancers.
“They have had a blast,” Ostrowski said of her daycare children. “They colored their own headbands and put on their own feathers. The concept of Pilgrims and Native Americans they might not get, but they enjoyed it.”
For Brandon Anthony, 19, telling others about his Native culture is something he enjoys. He performs as part of a Red Lake drumming group.
“When you get down to it, it’s a beautiful culture,” he said. Anthony is a member of Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa in North Dakota. “Personally, I think it’s good for kids to learn about different cultures. There’s more people than one kind of people. It expands your mind to what’s in the world.”
Bob Anthony Sr. said he also enjoys performing. He attends many Pow Wows each summer.
“Because I’m Ojibwe, I’ll do it any chance I get,” he said, of demonstrating Native dances to others. “I get to show what we used to do hundreds of years ago.”
He said his family is multicultural; his father was English and Norwegian.
“We eat lutefisk and lefse once and a while,” Bob Anthony Sr. said with a smile.
“It’s like living in two worlds,” added his grandson, Brandon.
JODIE TWEED may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5858.