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Seventh Graders Take A Field Trip to Learn about the Haudenosaunee

They called themselves the Haudenosaunee. And long before Unadilla Valley Central School came to exist, they farmed, hunted and lived their lives across Upstate New York. They are known to us as the Iroquois.

All seventh grade students attended a field trip organized by social studies teacher Dave Burnsworth on Nov. 13. As a culminating activity of their Iroquois unit in social studies, students first visited the Iroquois Indian Museum in Howes Caves.

There, students learned about the history and culture of the tribes who are native to New York State. They were able to study artifacts and examples of art and other cultural objects. Students were even were able to make their own corn husk dolls, which was a traditional craft of the Iroquois.

The Haudenosaunee are among the Native American descendants of the first people of this land. Haudenosaunee means "people who build a long house." The name Iroquois was given to them by their neighbors, Algonkian speaking people, and then used by Europeans.

The original Five Nations—Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca—became the Six Nations when the Tuscarora joined in 1722. Members of other native nations were conquered, adopted in the 1600s and 1700s, or fled to Iroquois communities to escape the encroachments of the new European settlers.

Students then boarded the busses and headed up the hill to Howe Caverns where they descended 160 feet below the earth’s surface to explore the six million-year-old caves. Students enjoyed a walking and boat tour, exploring the River Styx, The Sentinels, Titan’s Temple and The Giant Formation. This experience allowed students to explore various rock formations and geological structures that they had been studying in science class.

The trip was a great success. Everyone had a lot of fun and learned a lot about the history and geology of New York State. Hopefully, this will be an annual experience to be enjoyed by our future seventh graders.

Taylor Chumbler makes a corn husk doll.

Students make corn husk dolls.

Storytellers enlighten UV students.

Students also toured Howe Caverns.