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EXETER â€“ Tomaquag Museum recently announced the completion of a curriculum, geared for middle schools, to give the history and significance behind some of the Narragansett and Niantic tribesâ€™ stories and legends.
The curriculum, available to public, private and even home schools, is based on the film â€śPlaces, Memories, Stories and Dreams: the Gifts of Inspiration,â€ť and tells six traditional Native American stories by Paulla Dove Jennings, a nationally known storyteller.
â€śEach story has its own moral and lesson. The [Schoolhouse Pond: Narragansett John Onion] teaches to not be boastful, but also about the uses of the land and the pond, not only in the past but through today,â€ť said LorĂ©n Spears, the director at Tomaquag.
The traditional story of John Onion takes place during the Indian schoolhouse time period in the middle of winter; John Onion is a great skater but is â€śso boastfulâ€ť of his skills that he claims he could outskate the devil. In the end, he hangs up his skates forever, explained Spears.
â€śItâ€™s a story where someone goes a little too far but there is so much more behind it,â€ť she said, adding that â€śthere is the history of the schoolhouse, the pond and the use of the land, which is what we are focused on in the curriculum.â€ť
The curriculum tells six stories: â€śNarragansett Indian Church: The Nikkomo Piece,â€ť â€śThe Last Hunt: Woodchuck Inspirations,â€ť â€śSchool house Pond: Narragansett John Onion,â€ť â€śDeep Pond: The Boys Who Over Fish,â€ť â€śAugust Meeting Grounds: Fancy Danceâ€ť and â€śGreat Swamp: Spirit Voices.â€ť According to Spearsâ€™ recollection, both fact and fiction is woven into each of the traditional tales.
â€śSomeoneâ€™s interpretation of John Onion may have had a real person in it at some point. Whether itâ€™s a true story or not, I couldnâ€™t tell you,â€ť said Spears. However, they â€śall incorporate real history within them.â€ť
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