As part of sixth through eighth grade Native American week, students got their hands busy making medicine pouches, fires, dream catchers, and collecting and harvesting medicinal native plants. Students realized just how much time it would take to accomplish the many daily tasks of the Cherokee. They learned a bit about medicines and religions and learned how intertwined these were in the past. Additionally, students learned the importance of being familiar with native plants and their uses as your pharmacy.
Students harvested and dried Sweet Birch (Betula lenta) which was traditionally used in teas for a pain reliever. The twigs of the Sweet Birch are also said to have been used traditionally as a toothbrush. Medicine bags were actually large bags carried by healers. Individuals could make their own special medicine pouch, and fill them with significant objects to protect, heal, and bring them luck. Students learned that the contents of one’s medicine bags/pouches are never discussed or shared. Also, they could never touch the ground. Students were surprised how difficult it was to do simple things such a sew a small bag.