Spring break no time to stop learning for Washoe students | RecordCourier.com

Spring break no time to stop learning for Washoe students

by Leslie Pearson
Washoe Tribe students stand Monday inside their sagebrush wind-break called a gadu', from left to right, top row: Ivan Wyatt, 6; Sean Enos, 9; Jose Arcos, 9; Ethan Wyatt, 7; Marco Salazar, 9. Bottom row: Daron Dondero, 6, and Ayden Kizer, 9.
Leslie Pearson |

Washoe Tribe students continue studying this week during spring break at the Dresslerville Community Center by creating woven baskets, gadús and by hearing from local speakers, said Kristin Burtt, administrative assistant with the Washoe Tribe Cultural Resource Department.

About 30 kids started spring break Monday learning to weave winnowing trays and build a wind-break from dead sagebrush, called a gadú.

“We work with kids a lot in the community and wanted to do something for spring break while their parents were at work,” Burtt said. “We felt that cultural activities were the best way to go.”

Burtt and other teachers and students spent Monday teaching the girls how to weave winnowing trays.

“I’ve been weaving baskets since I was 9, so it was something I knew how to teach to kids,” Burtt said. “I’d like to thank Michelle Dressler, and her mother, Eileen Mazy, for keeping the really little kids under control.”

The girls in the class learned how to keep willows wet and pliable for weaving and for many of them it was the first time learning the skill.

“Since it’s my first time, it’s very interesting and fun,” Taylynn Kizer, 11, said.

The boys attending the spring break class headed over to the Head Start building where they learned to build a gadu’.

Herman Fillmore, Washoe Tribe linguistics teacher, said the boys learned more than how to build a temporary wind-break.

“It gave us a chance to talk about some of our creation stories,” Fillmore said. “We all sat around in the gadú after we made it and told stories and it gave the kids a chance to sit down and see what they’ve done and enjoy it.”

Fillmore said it also taught the boys about clearing dead sagebrush for fire prevention, how to create paths and how to work together.

“It was fun and hard work,” said Jose Arcos, 9. “We learned we can make fire in them, but I would just want to do that with my dad.”

Spring break events are planned for the week from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday they played handgame, a traditional Washoe gambling game. Today the traditional Washoe round dance will be taught and performed for the day’s activity. A speaker from Nevada Urban Indians will speak to students about bullying. Thursday tribal member Robert Smokey will host a historical walk along the Carson River. Friday Timothy Lowery from Nevada Urban Indians will speak to students about Suicide Prevention and Awareness. Events will take place at the Dresslerville Community Center and the Dresslerville Gym. To register students for the events, contact the Cultural Resource Department at 782-0010.

“You have to keep the kids busy,” said Eleanore E. Muscott, Douglas County coordinator for Native Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. “It’s better to be here with us than at home alone while their parents are at work. Kids are kids when they are home alone, you know?”