The Nativity School was transformed into Native American habitats April 27 during the school’s annual Cultural Day. Dreamcatchers were strung throughout the trees and students were met by a live eagle and Native American Saints at the school entrance. The day of learning was introduced by the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation. “Native American people are just like everyone else, wanting the same thing as many. Happiness, life fulfillment, the good for all and equality,” stated Sycuan chairman Cody Martinez.
The students had a chance to appreciate and learn from the Native American culture - from sports like bow and arrow and stick ball, to the traditional food preparation of grinding acorns and symbolic face painting. Coastal, Plains and Mountain Reservations were created throughout the campus, showcasing a Kumeyaay Weaver, live animals, a Torrey Pines Docent, animal spirit sand art and, on display for the first time outside of a museum setting, the Sandroni Native American Artifact collection.
“Every year, our students get the chance to experience another culture from the inside out - how they eat, how they pray, how they work, how they compete, how they’ve struggled and how they’ve triumphed,” commented Principal Paul Parker. “A huge part the Nativity School experience is cultivating a heart that can see and appreciate the world and value of others.”
Also featured was the “Trail of Tears,” where where thousands of Native Americans were uprooted from their homes and pushed to travel more than 800 miles to what is now the state of Oklahoma. Many lost their lives to illness and weather conditions. This impactful journey was shared with students as an important part of Native American history.
“The quality and respect the Nativity School showed in representing the Native American cultures was impressive and powerful. On behalf of Sycuan and the Kumeyaay Nation, it was great to be in the company of your school on cultural day,” added Cody Martinez, Sycuan chairman.