An opportunity to learn about American Indians

eye on harford

November 09, 2008|By Cassandra A. Fortin | Cassandra A. Fortin,Special to The Baltimore Sun

Gary Scholl is always looking for new opportunities to teach people about American Indians.

So when his wife, Kathy, a longtime docent at Hays House in Bel Air, was looking for ways to draw more visitors to the historic house, she suggested an educational event that involved the life and history of American Indians, he said.

"There's a lot we can learn from Native American folks," said Scholl, 59, who is a vice principal at John Carroll School. "They give us another way of understanding the importance of family and community."

Being held in honor of National Native American Month, the event, now in its fifth year, will be held at Hays House - a not-for-profit museum that operates under the auspices of the Historical Society of Harford County - from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. today.

Scheduled activities include spear-throwing and flute-playing demonstrations, displays of American Indian clothing, about 40 pairs of beaded moccasins and artifacts of early Maryland Indians. Many of the artifacts being displayed are from Scholl's private collection.

The event will include a living history exhibit that features a 9-foot-tall Cheyenne tepee, also part of Scholl's collection, that will be set up outdoors. Students from Scholl's anthropology class at John Carroll will explain to visitors the structure's history, he said.

Scholl's interest in American Indian culture originated in the early 1970s, when he participated in a project sponsored by the Mennonites, he said. During this time, Scholl stayed with Cheyennes in Oklahoma and helped them begin a Head Start program, he said.

He learned about their culture and their creativity, he said.

"I think it's important to share what Native Americans did with weaving, beadwork, woodwork and turquoise," he said. "The aesthetic quality of their work is something we can all appreciate. This event gives us an opportunity to celebrate Native American culture."

The Hays House is at 324 Kenmore Ave. in Bel Air. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors. Children younger than 4 are free. Parking is free. Information: 410-838-7691.

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