Monacan Nation chief shows animal hide to students.

Visit to “Bear Mountain” teaches students about Monacan Nation, culture, identity

Historic schoolhouse in Monacan Nation Second grade students at Burnley-Moran Elementary recently visited Amherst, Virginia to learn more about the Monacan Nation, a state-recognized Indian tribe located near Bear Mountain in Amherst County.

Monacan Nation chief shows animal hide to students.Chief of the Monacan Nation Kenneth Branham led a tour through some of the Bear Mountain highlights including the museum and the old schoolhouse, a historic landmark. He also introduced students to the various uses of local wildlife for the Monacan tribe. Students especially liked hearing him blow through an animal horn.

The field trip was the culminating experience for an inquiry-based lesson exploring culture and identity. Students were asked to consider the question, “How do culture and identity make a person unique and special?”

Students draw their reflections after attending field trip to Monacan Nation.Students also studied their own identities, along with the identitites of the Monacans as they engaged in the inquiry. Back at school, they completed various reflections including an assignment in which they were asked to draw the beliefs, community, culture, people and identity of the Monacan tribe through their own eyes. Second grade lead teacher Jess Scott said the drawings reflected various ideas such as the importance of education, prayer, eagle feathers, church, and supporting one another.

Special thanks to Coordinator of Social Studies & World Languages for Charlottesville City Schools Neeley Minton, Burnley-Moran Instructional Coach April Douglas, and the second grade team for developing this pilot lesson for students.