MGMS celebrates Ute Heritage Day

MGMS celebrates Ute Heritage Day
Posted on 05/09/2019
ute heritage day classroom

Grand Junction, CO - Mt. Garfield Middle School students got to experience bear dancing, flint work, plant identification, and much more today, May 8, 2019, at Ute Heritage Day!

The event kicked off with an assembly recognizing student volunteers who will be working on local canyon preservation this year, followed by a presentation by Sara Doll from Denver Colorado History Center. Betsy Chapoose, Cultural Director for the Ouray-Uintah Ute Tribe, who has been inspiring students for the last two years as she has worked alongside them on canyon restoration projects, also spoke.

Students spent the rest of the day rotating through a variety of activities sponsored by the National Park Service, BLM Archeologists, Colorado Archeological Society, Great Old Broads of the Wilderness, Metcalf Archeology, Museum of Western Colorado, Mesa County Tri-River Extension, DEAR (Desert Ecosystem Analysis and Restoration, Ouray-Uintah Ute Tribe and Ute Learning Garden. Activities will include everything from Ute bead making and making your own petroglyph to lessons about desert ecosystems and being responsible visitors to cultural sites.

Earlier this year, a group of current and former MGMS teachers received the Stephen H. Hart Award for their work with historical preservation. The project started in 2016-2017, when social studies teacher Ginger DeCavitch took her eighth-grade social studies classes to hike the Mica Mine. Students frustrated by the disrespect shown by people who had used charcoal to write on the site wanted to clean up the graffiti, which a group of 60 students did the following school year at Rough Canyon.

Ute Heritage Day and more cleanup work that students will perform through 2020 will be funded by a grant that came with the Hart Award. On May 16-17, 50 Mt. Garfield Middle School students will go to Rough Canyon with Ute Tribe members, the BLM, and several other agencies to do restorative work in Rough Canyon.

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