After I took a class on Lakota culture, I stay away from Plains
Indians lessons. The instructor had a very negative view of "white"
education....art education in particular. He was very critical of our
D.B.A.E. approach and in fact made a mockery of it the last day of
class (He brought in a bag of trash and required us to write about
what we learned about the culture who "created these artifacts".)
He doubted that any of "us" could give the Native art the credit it
deserves (because we "would not teach the symbolism and
meaning behind it"....). He suggested we would be better off
teaching our students to make a quilt...because all people need
blankets. I have found the Pueblo cultures, Navajo and North West
Coast much more enjoyable to teach (and have found more sites
developed by these cultures on the Internet that were suitable for
children). In addition, he told us the Lakota are particulary offended
by the typical elementary projects of making a fringe vest out of
paper bags and paper Tee-Pees (although I have never done these).
Their view is that one should not teach Native American art and
craft without using authentic materials.
Please let me know if any of you had more pleasant experiences in
working with the Lakota or another group of the Souix. I used to do
glue/pastel portraits of the "Great Indian Chiefs" with my
students....but no longer will have the enthusiasm to do that one