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Some Kids I Have Known
Hearts, Doodles and Squiggles


Teaching art to the American Indian children at WhiteEagle has been an experience.  Not because they are of another race but because they are absorbed by the dominant race. In just a few days while  working with them it has become obvious to me these children are a part of this new world in which we all live. Like everything else though times and circumstances move forward.  If they complain about not wanting to go outside because, “It is air-conditioned inside,” this does not stop me.   Once outside their old latent instincts become active and they are busily observing the shadows on the grass with its difference in color, the blue sky holes in the trees, and even intently watch the garbage men who pick up the large canister to dump it in their truck.

At the beginning before the political element had a chance to blossom through the children there were great strides and they did quickly get some important concepts made easy through that old master, Pythagorus.

“Wow!  Look at this! Hey,  this is neato! I can do this!”  All were coming from children who had been sitting in art classes doing squiggles, doodles, hearts and various flat designs.  All at once when they began shading the shapes there opened up a new world for them. “Hey! Look!  3-D,” one of the children was heard to say.

I was  reluctance to bring art down to the common practice of competition which seems to be the core of our push, rush, hurry up to do better than someone else world.  However the guidelines of J.O.M. dictate and I meekly oblige. For show we did complete two twenty-four by thirty-six inch canvases.  It was difficult to keep the paint off the floor, the tables, the children themselves. Actually this didn't happen but with a minimum of destruction from the non-toxic (really?)  paint. We did get through that. The kids learned what a canvas is. They got the opportunity to feel the give of the fabric as they worked on it. I might add this is what brings life to an artist's wish to create. Something about the movement even though it is, ever so slight,  it is pleasant.

The non-toxic paint so struck down my muscles I was hardly able to walk for the rest of the day yesterday. Hopping around to do chores was a reminder to me not to do this ever again.

As mentioned the tribal politics reaches its powerful hand out and slaps down the beginning efforts so little will get accomplished from here out. Nevertheless, we will use the hard earned, quickly  learned shapes for these last two days to actually draw kid's things, snails, frogs, bears, cats, and dogs.  There is no doubt in my mind that they can now do it.  Can I help it if this looking to nature for inspiration is of their own background?  I simply ignore the thought that someone up there wants them to be more individualistic.  Hearts, doodles, and squiggles are original?  These kids got a taste of what might one day may  save their own real hearts.


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