Blocks of Hope and Healing Participate in a Community Quilting Project Institute for American Indian Studies

The Institute for American Indian Studies has just announced a new quilting project for the month of May called “Blocks of Hope and Healing.” This community-quilting project is a way to support and bring attention to the MMIWG2S epidemic. MMIWG2S is an abbreviation for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2-Spirit People, respectively.

Quilting serves as a testament to heritage and history, with each piece offering encouragement and solace. Quilts connect us to the world around us and are often symbolic of hope and comfort by providing physical and emotional warmth. The concept of this community-made quilt will be used to honor and remember the plight of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2- Spirit People.

The Institute is inviting the public to become part of this important global movement by participating in two Quilt Workshops on Saturday, May 14, and Sunday, May 22 @ 11 a.m. that will be conducted by Education Director, Director Darlene Kascak (Schaghticoke Tribal Nation). If you don’t have much experience sewing, no worries, Kascak, will be there to walk you through the process. If you don’t complete your quilt package during the workshop, you can complete it in the comfort of your own home as long as you return it to the Institute by Wednesday, June 1, 2022.

All participants in this project are asked to make a $25 donation to the National Indigenous Women’s Rights Council (NIWRC). The Institute will give all participants a quilt block packet, complete with all necessary materials and instructions for creating your section of the community quilt. Please call (860) 868-0518 or email events@iaismuseum.org to reserve your section on this community quilt, sign up for one of the quilting workshops, or if you have any questions about this initiative.
Donations to NIWRC can be made at the following link: https://www.niwrc.org/donate.

About MMIWG2S
MMIWG2S refers to initiatives intended to address the ongoing violence and continued genocide of women, girls, and Two-Spirits. Each year thousands of Native American women and children go missing or are found murdered in the United States and Canada. Gaps in data make the true scope difficult to estimate, but some sources suggest that the total number of cases may approach 10,000.

About The Institute for American Indian Studies
Located on 15 acres of woodland acres the Institute For American Indian Studies preserves and educates through archeology, research, exhibitions, and programs. They have a 16th c. Algonquian Village, Award-Winning Wigwam Escape, and a museum with temporary and permanent displays of authentic artifacts from prehistory to the present that allows visitors to foster a new understanding of the world and the history and culture of Native Americans. The Institute for American Indian Studies is located on 38 Curtis Road, Washington, CT.

Drum Making Workshop @ the Institute for American Indian Studies

Rhythm and sound are important to just about every culture around the world. Throughout the Americas, indigenous peoples have been using drums as part of their culture for thousands of years.

If you are asked to think about Native American music, there is a good chance you will think of the sound of drums, but did you know that the drum is considered to be a living and breathing entity to Native peoples and symbolize a strong relationship with the creator?

On Sunday, March 20 the Institute for American Indian Studies, located at 38 Curtis Road in Washington, Connecticut is hosting an in-person drum-making workshop, with sessions at 11 a.m. and at 2 p.m.

The highlight of this workshop is to learn how to make your very own rawhide drum. The drums made in this workshop will be 14- inches in diameter and constructed of a traditionally used material, elk rawhide. Each drum will come with a drumstick. While creating a drum for their own personal use, participants will learn about their cultural significance, and how they remain a vibrant part of today’s indigenous cultures in the Americas.

Space is limited for this workshop and pre-payment and pre-registration is required. To register online, please visit the Museum website to register via Eventbrite. If you have questions about the workshop, please call 860-868-0518 or email events@iaismuseum.org. The price for this workshop is $90 for IAIS members and $110 for non-members.

Learn How to Make Native American Leather Pouches @ Institute for American Indian Studies

A Sunday afternoon is the ideal time to learn how to make your own leather Native American style pouch on October 17 @ the Institute for American Indian Studies. This in-person small group workshop has been organized in one-hour time slots from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Under the guidance of the museum’s Education Department, you’ll learn how Native Americans used leather for clothing, pouches, bags, and other items of daily life.

Native Americans historically used leather pouches to carry many of life’s necessities. Pouches were made from a variety of materials, some were woven, and others were made from the hides of different animals, most commonly deer.

Sign up for a workshop that is both educational and engaging, as you learn how to make your very own unique and practical leather pouch that you can decorate with buttons, stones, and shells. After you have completed your project, you may find that you have a newfound appreciation for the artistry that went into making some of the artifacts in the museum’s collections.

Sign up with your friends and family to reserve a timeslot by clicking here. For questions call 860-868-0518 or email general@iaismuseum.org. The cost of participation including materials is $25 per person for non- members and $20 for members.

About the Institute for American Indian Studies
The Institute for American Indian Studies preserves and educates through discovery and creativity the diverse traditions, vitality, and knowledge of Native American cultures. Located on 15 acres of woodland IAIS is home to permanent and temporary exhibits, nature trails, and a replicated 16th century Replicated Algonkian village. During the school year, over 7,000 school-age children visit for hands-on programs to learn about the Indigenous people who have called Connecticut home for thousands of years.

Institute for American Indian Studies Modified Summer Camp June 26-August 7, 2020

We all know that this summer will be different. We also know that it is important for children to get out of the house and be engaged socially, mentally, and safely. With that in mind, the Institute for American Indian Studies located on 38 Curtis Road in Washington, Connecticut announced that they are opening a modified summer camp program of weekly themed outdoor fun and education that follows strict state guidelines. The Summer Camp is available one week at a time, Monday- Friday, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., from June 26 through August 7. The programs are geared for children ages 6-13. “We decided to offer our camp programs because we feel it can be a gateway back to normalcy for children. We expect these experiences will help our young campers face new challenges with resilience,” Chris Combs, Executive Director said.

There are so many benefits to sending children to summer camp, especially this summer. It gives children the chance to develop confidence and get unplugged; it allows them to make new friends, experience the great outdoors, and to explore new interests while learning at the same time. “This year, parents can definitely expect to see safety as the first and foremost focus at our camp, Chris Combs, Executive Director said. “ For all of our staff, the health and safety of our campers is paramount. All camp activities will be held outdoors and there will be regular sanitizing, social distancing, and smaller group activities as well as staggered arrivals and pick-ups, all in accordance with guidance issued by various state and federal agencies,” Combs continued. For more information, registration and protocols click here

Camp Director Gabriel Benjamin and Assistant Camp Director Susan Scherf have developed a range of exciting activities and projects that follow current health guidelines. Each week, campers will join experienced educators on a journey through one of several themes that relate to the museum’s core mission, such as ecology, archaeology, and traditional skills. While hiking in the woods, playing games, and creating crafts, campers will practice survival skills, teamwork, and problem-solvinghttp://www.iaismuseum.org as they develop confidence while experiencing the great outdoors, and making new friends. Besides the memories that will last a lifetime, campers will learn valuable skills and connect with a culture that has more than 10,000 years of history in this area.

Summer Camp Themes
Weekly camps will have different experiences. On June 29- July 3 the theme is “Wonderful Wildlife” and will include exploring the forests and rivers of the Eastern Woodlands. The camp running from July 6- July 10 will focus on the gifts of the natural world and how Native Americans used their understanding of the natural world to thrive for thousands of years right here in Connecticut.

On July 13 to July 17, children will learn outdoor survival skills similar to those used for centuries by Native Americans. And, if your children love science and technology sign them up for the week of July 20-24 to learn how people of the past figured out creative ways to move around, construct shelter, find food, and make tools.”

For budding archeologists and kids that are intrigued by puzzles, don’t miss the July 27 – July 31 camp where they will learn how to dig and discover.

The last camp of our 2020 summer season, from August 3-7 is for kids that like a challenge – and don’t they all! If your kids want to be amazed, sign them up, and challenge them to put their skills to test! They will come away enriched and confident.

For complete registration information, visit http://www.iaismuseum.org.

About The Institute for American Indian Studies
L
ocated on 15 acres of woodland acres the Institute For American Indian Studies preserves and educates through archeology, research, exhibitions, and programs. They have the 16th c. Algonquian Village, Award-Winning Wigwam Escape, and a museum with temporary and permanent displays of authentic artifacts from prehistory to the present that allows visitors to foster a new understanding of the world and the history and culture of Native Americans. The Institute for American Indian Studies is located on 38 Curtis Road, Washington, CT.

BETHLEHEM (CT) OFFERS A FESTIVE START TO THE HOLIDAY SEASON

They call this little town in the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut “Christmas Town” with good reason. Bethlehem’s Christmas Town Festival scheduled for December 6 and 7, celebrates its 39th birthday this year as one of New England’s favorite ways to kick off the season. Wherever you turn, special treats are waiting, from the town green to the post office to the Abbey of Regina Laudis and the 1754 Bellamy-Ferriday House. Some of the unique attractions continue when the festival is over. This year the opening ceremony will feature Honorary Emcee WFSB Ch, 3 news personalities, Irene O’Connor.

Vendors and More On the Green

The quaint town green, centered with a giant tree, is home to over 70 vendors with unique gift items, wreaths and delicious foods for sale. Strolling carolers and musicians help keep things lively, Santa will be waiting at the firehouse to pose for pictures with young friends, and everyone is invited to climb aboard for hayrides offered in front of First Church. Collectors can garner this year’s unique limited edition Christmas Town pewter ornament, sold only during the Festival.

On Saturday there is a 5K, Santa Made Me Do It road race, 2-mile walk and ¼ mile kids fun run at the festival. The five mile race and two-mile walk begin at 10 a.m. and registration is at Town Hall beginning at 8:30 a.m. The free kids ¼ kids Fun Run starts at 9:30 a.m.

Bethlehem’s beautiful eighteenth-century Bellamy-Ferriday House & Garden will be festively decorated and open for tours and holiday cheer during festival hours. Guides will offer house tours and there will be hot cider and a scavenger hunt for children. The home is located at 9 Main Street North, information can be found at http://www.ctlandmarks.org

Hours for the Christmas Town Festival are Friday, December 6 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday, December 7, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, see www.christmastownfestival.com or phone 203-266-7510, ext. 300.
Christmas Town Mailings at the Post Office

The Bethlehem post office is busy in December serving the many who come every year to mail holiday cards with their unique postmarks. Visitors can select favorites among the “Christmas Cachet” designs, hand-stamp and mail these unique greetings to friends and family. The idea of the special stamps dates to 1938, when a local Postmaster, the late Earl Johnson, designed a “cachet,” a special rubber stamp featuring a tree and lettering that said “From the Little Town of Bethlehem, Christmas Greetings.” New cachets have been added almost every year since. Over 83 designs are now available and nearly 200,000 cards are mailed each year from this small post office. Located at 34 East Street, the post office will have extended hours during the festival, Friday, December 6 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Precious Crèches at the Abbey

One of Bethlehem’s not-to-be-missed jewels is open all month for visitors. The museum-quality eighteenth-century Neapolitan crèche on view in a vintage barn at the Abbey of Regina Laudis includes hundreds of beautiful hand-carved figures. Made of wood, terra cotta, and porcelain, the figures portray the Holy Family, angels, the Three Kings, merchants and peddlers, children, peasants and farm animals. This fabulous gift from artist and philanthropist Loretta Hines Howard is similar to the one Howard donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where it is prominently displayed every Christmas.

A second Crèche, The Lauren Ford Crèche, created by a favorite Connecticut artist, is displayed in a farm shed near the Lower Abbey Chapel. This charming rustic Nativity scene displays figures of Jesus, Mary and Joseph dressed in typical New England garb.

The Monastic Art Shop on the property offers crafts, cheeses, jams, herbal teas, flavored vinegar, herbs and honey, and all created on-site by Abbey’s residents.

The Abbey of Regina Laudis, located at 249 Flanders Road, is open to visitors daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit www.abbeyofreginalaudis.org

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo Makes the Holidays Merry and Bright at Breakfast with Frosty and Friends

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo located on 1875 Noble Avenue, Bridgeport, has a longtime family tradition: Breakfast with Frosty! A full buffet breakfast in the Carousel Building includes a visit with Santa and his elf, photo opportunities with Frosty the Snowman, Stripes the Tiger, and Thirsty the Penguin, carousel rides and lots of family fun. These breakfasts sell out every year, but there’s still time for local families from around the region to enjoy the holidays at the Zoo! Pre-Registration is required: https://www.beardsleyzoo.org/breakfast-with-frosty.html

Breakfast with Frosty requires online reservation & pre-payment is required to attend. All days but December 14th are $20 per person for Zoo Members and $25 per person for non-Members. December 14 (Special Activities Day!) prices are $25 for members and $30 for non-members. Children 2 years old and younger are free.

Frosty will be visiting the Zoo on Saturday and Sunday, December 7 and 8, Saturday and Sunday, December 14 and 15 and Saturday and Sunday, December 21 and 22. In addition to Frosty the Snowman, kids will visit with Santa Claus and his Head Elf, Stripes the Tiger, and Thirsty the Penguin

About Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo

Let your curiosity run wild! Connecticut’s only zoo, celebrating its 97th year, features 300 animals representing primarily North and South American species. Guests won’t want to miss our Amur tigers and leopards, Mexican and Red wolves, and Golden Lion tamarin. Other highlights include our Spider Monkey Habitat, the Natt Family Red Panda Habitat, the prairie dog exhibit with “pop-up” viewing areas, plus the Pampas Plains featuring maned wolves, Chacoan peccaries and Giant anteaters. Guests can grab a bite at the Peacock Café, eat in the Picnic Grove, and enjoy a ride on our colorful, indoor carousel. For more information, visit beardsleyzoo.org.

Images – Jack Bradley