Thu, 3 May 2012
I was fortunate enough (1)the other day to go on a field trip with the school that my son attends. As his school doesn't have a bus, parent volunteers are needed to transport the kids here and there. I am one of them, and, you know, I benefit from volunteering in many ways. That particular day, I learned a lot about the Wenatchi Indians, and the pioneer days of this area. We visited a museum in the town of Cashmere which is about eight miles from here. It's a small building, but jam packed(2) with artifacts and donations. I had been to the museum before, but this time, we had a very knowledgeable (3)guide who happened to be a Native American Indian. As time went on, and he took us from one display area to another, I began to realize that he had deep knowledge and deep personal interest in the museum. He was half Cherokee and half Sioux, and knew not only about those Indian nations, but also a lot about the Wenatchi nation. He told us that the baskets that were made by Wenatchi women are worth thousands of dollars. He went into detail, telling us how they would gather(4) the grasses, chew them, dye them with berry juice, and then weave them. These baskets were made so well, that they could carry water. In fact, the Wenatchis would boil water in the baskets by placing boiling hot stones from a fire inside a basket full of water. That kind of information, and many other things that I learned, gave me new respect for the history of this local area. Then, we moved to the outside area of the museum where there's a collection of original pioneer (5)homes. There was a home, a jail, a hat shop, a print shop, a school, and a hotel. My son's class loved the school. It was obviously very basic, all wood, dark, it had a stove, small chalk boards for the students, and a metal bucket that everyone drank out of. The guide told us that school was only available for a few months a year; during Winter it was too cold, and, as all the children helped to farm, they couldn't go to school during planting or harvest seasons either. My son thought that that (6)was great, “Only a few months of school? Awesome!” he said. If children could basically learn to read and write, and do a little mathematics, then the main goal was accomplished. Their lives were agricultural and they were hard working, so school was considered a luxury. How different it is today!
5.'Pioneer' means the first person to do something, or to settle somewhere.
a. The pioneers in this area were the first Europeans to settle and farm here.
b. Santiago Ramon y Cajal was the great pioneer in the field of neurobiology.