ORR Cultural Club shares learning experience on Native American culture

Feb 21, 2022

 The Old Rochester Regional High School Cultural Club attended the “Know Your Roots” virtual mini-conference Feb. 16 that raised awareness of local Native American history and culture.

The conference was hosted by Cultural Clubs of America and united local schools. Tabor Academy, Dartmouth, Fairhaven and Nipmuc Regional High School also attended the event. 

The mini-conference started with guest speaker Cora Peirce, a member of the Pocasset Wampanoag Tribe of Massachusetts and Rhode Island and a historic preservationist. 

Students heard about local history from a perspective not often taught in schools. Many high schools do not teach Native American history.

“She was so detail-oriented I could actually see in my mind every place she referenced,” said Michael Nailor, a Cultural Clubs of America board member and teacher at Old Rochester Regional. “Students learned about specific Native American landmarks in the local area, as well as those that have been desecrated by buildings and other structures. Many students had passed by these landmarks without even realizing their significance. ‘’

For example, Nailor said, Isabella Hunter was surprised to find out that a rock bearing a handprint she had visited at her grandparent’s house actually was a sacred Native American stone.

Towards the end of the conference, each school shared their school culture and atmosphere. Although schools may be one town away from each other, they do not share ideas or learn about each other. They just compete against each other.

Students were awed by Nipmuc High School’s “Wellness Week” which culminates in a weekend of no-homework each spring and by Fairhaven High School’s social justice course and the incredible architecture that students enjoyed. 

Old Rochester highlighted their “Kindness Week” and popular pep rallies. 

And Dartmouth shared “Dartmouth’s Finest,” where senior students compete in a talent-like competition. 

This was a great opportunity for schools to share, connect, and learn from one another instead of locking horns in debate teams or sports games. 

Cultural Clubs of America founder and Old Rochester Regional student Eddie Gonet IV was overjoyed with the success of the event. 

“It was great to be able to have deep conversations with everyone across different schools,’’ he said. “Raising awareness and learning about our community’s roots generates a greater understanding of one another.”