Programs for Environmental Awareness & Cultural Exchange: P.E.A.C.E Michael J. Caduto Native American Programs

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This section is organized according to audience levels as follows:

  • Programs for Children, Families and the General Public immediately follows
  • Click here to jump down to programs for Adults and Young Adults


Native American Thanksgivings: The Circle of Giving and Receiving

This workshop uses song, chants, native instruments, dance and stories that are carefully chosen from among the Native cultures found throughout North America to explore the true nature of Thanksgiving. Caduto's lively performance engages the audience with a cast of humorous and dramatic characters and voices. During this presentation participants are introduced to the Circles of Giving and Receiving-the traditional Native American basis for living in balance with Earth and each other.


Nature in Indian Myths: Earth Stewardship Traditions*

An experience of the Indian ways with nature is brought to life using stories, dance, guided imagery, and artifacts from northeastern Indian cultures. The survival of Native Americans depended upon a great respect for the earth and all living things. This program brings these lessons of survival to life at a time when they have never been more important. Each child creates a necklace with four wooden beads symbolizing the lessons taught by the Indians: SILENCE-RESPECT-SHARING-CIRCLES. This participatory workshop has been featured in NATURE STUDY magazine. An annotated bibliography of resources for teaching about northeastern Indians and their environment will be available at the program.

* This program can be custom-designed to focus on specific regions and particular Native American cultures.

A 1 hour program for children (maximum 50), families, and general audiences (no size limit).

Optional : An additional exciting, 1 hour outdoor nature walk including stories, folklore, facts, and samples of how Indians used our native plants for food, shelter, fire, tools, medicine, and more.

"Excellent! Motor skills, imagination, listening skills, LEARNING, were brought into play. Audience was made a part of the program."
- Teacher, Saxton's River Elementary, Saxton's River, Vermont
"Entertaining stories told with enthusiasm."
- Teacher, Warren Elementary School, Warren, Vermont

"I told my mother how to do the dance we learned and she got up and started doing it with me."

- Child, Berlin Elementary, Montpelier, Vermont
"Excellent presentation! Information presented in a very interesting manner. Good question-answer session."
- Director, Harris Center for Conservation Education
Hancock, New Hampshire, 1983
"Students were enchanted with the presentation by involving the fifth graders with definite assignments of chants as they learned Indian folklore via listening, singing, and dance steps. The sharing of Indian artifacts motivated a discussion of possible uses of flint, bones, stones, and sharp pieces of wood. Students gained insight into the utilitarian aspect of Indian culture as they discovered how the dugout canoe was constructed, how pottery was made, and how skins were prepared for practical uses."
- Teacher, Gilford Elementary School, Gilford, New Hampshire
"Making the bead necklace was great. The children come to school wearing them each day. Information presented as interesting and fun."
- Teacher, Christian Community School, Montpelier, Vermont
"Mostly older adults came-who responded with interest and pleasure."
- Librarian, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington, Vermont
"Wicked awesome!"
- Participants, New England Environment Education
Alliance Conference, Northwest Harbor, Maine


Native American Gardening & the Seeds of Life:
Preserving Biological and Cultural Diversity

This hands-on workshop shows how to preserve ancient plant varieties through Native American gardening. Through story, song, demonstration, discussion and experiences in the garden, participants learn to plan and plant traditional, historic Native gardens-to participate in gardening as part of the Circle of Life. We also explore the harvest, recipes and suggestions for garden crafts and games. Michael presents his book: Native American Gardening: Stories, Projects and Recipes for Families .

Format preference: 3 hours (We need at least this much time)


Native American Games

Come join storyteller, musician and author Michael Caduto for an exciting hour of games in the Native American tradition as experienced through stories, music, games and a dance. Michael draws from many Native stories, such as "Turtle Races with Bear" (Seneca), "The Great Lacrosse Game" (Menominee) and "Gluscabe and Dzidziz" (Abenaki). This participatory family program engages the audience in the Great Circle of Life through Native American games and explores the importance of games for living in balance on Earth.


A Time Before New Hampshire & Vermont

A participatory experience of Alnôbak (Abenaki) Earth stewardship is brought to life using stories, song, dance and guided imagery. The survival of the Alnôbak depends upon a deep respect for plants, animals and all of nature. This program brings these traditions to life at a time when they have never been more important. Each child creates a necklace of wooden beads symbolizing the lessons learned. This popular workshop has been presented to two generations of New Hampshire children and has been featured in Nature Study magazine. Duration : 3 hours



Michael J. Caduto Native American Programs

For Adults and Young Adults


The White Roots of Peace
Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Roots of the U.S. Constitution
and the True Story of Hiawatha.

The Constitutions of the United States and the United Nations are rooted in the Iroquois Confederacy or League of Peace, which was established around 1450. This program presents the story of how Deganawidah, whom the Iroquois called Peacemaker, recruited Hiawatha* to help him teach the principles of peace during a violent time of many wars among the Iroquois. Deganawidah had a vision of a peaceful future free of fear, hatred, and conflict, and he brought this vision, over a period of many years, to the leaders of the 5 Iroquois nations: Mohawk, Onondaga, Cayuga, Oneida, and Seneca. (A sixth nation, the Tuscarora, was later welcomed into the League.) Deganawidah believed that rational thought and deliberate choice could be directed toward a lasting peace.

After the story we will use a role-playing activity to discover the principles from the Constitution of the Iroquois League of Peace which have been incorporated into the Constitutions of the United States and the United Nations. We will also discuss how successful each of these three Unions has been in living up to the ideals embodied in their Constitutions.

A 2-hour program.

* This is not the Hiawatha of Longfellow's Song of Hiawatha , in which Longfellow mistakenly assigned the name of the Iroquois Hiawatha to a series of Ojibway Indian myths about the demigod Manabozho.


Fiddleheads, Lamb's Quarters, Nettles & Nuts - Wild Edible, Medicinal and Poisonous Plants

Can someone really become immune to poison ivy after drinking milk produced by a goat that has eaten that plant? What did young Quaker women use for rouge when their parents forbade them from wearing makeup? Which has more vitamin C-a glass of orange juice or a glass of pine needle tea? During this slide presentation and field excursion we'll share Colonial and Native American folklore and information to learn about the myths and realities concerning the use of wild edible, medicinal and poisonous plants. We will also sample some of these delectable treats. If Socrates had attended this workshop he may have realized that you can drink tea made from the boiled needles of the hemlock tree, but not from the small herbaceous plant called poison hemlock. There will be plenty of time for questions and discussion.

A program for children, families, naturalists, and general audiences.


A Time Before New Hampshire & Vermont: The Story of a Land and Native Peoples

For 12,000 years the Alnôbak (Abenaki) and their ancestors have lived amidst northern New England's abundance. They have sustained themselves in ways molded by practical needs and spiritual beliefs. Through stories, slides, discussion, music and dance, participants imagine a living past. We'll explore traditional land use, stewardship, and the impacts the Alnôbak have had on the land. This program looks at the relationship and deep connection that the Native peoples of this region maintain with their homeland, Gedakina, "Our Land," and how these traditional practices can nurture a sustainable way of life. As an option, the beginning of this program can focus strongly on the geologic and glacial history of the New Hampshire region. This program can be adapted to suit the audience.