Tales of the Black Snake Woman
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The “Black Snake Woman trip,” a two-night excursion for third graders, is a highly anticipated experience in Lower Elementary, and a beloved school memory for many older students and graduates. Black Snake Woman, who is based in Greenfield, Massachusetts near the Vermont border, discusses Native American traditions and practices with students. Three third graders Susannah B., Lucien H., and Audrey K. share some of their recollections of the trip here:
All the things that the third graders did this year were fun, but one of the highlights of the year was the trip to see Black Snake Woman. It took five hours to get to where Black Snake Woman lives in a place called Woodland Village. Once we got there, it was more like a woodland than a village. We were then greeted by three people standing outside the bus: Black Snake Woman, TMD (Traveling Medicine Dog, who was actually a man), and Otter Woman. We introduced ourselves and went into the lodge and had some fun talking about some Native American objects, such as beaver skins, pouches, and more. My advice to the third graders of 2020 is to make sure you bring a lot and I mean A LOT of warm clothes because when you are sleeping outside it gets very cold.
This trip has been very important to MMS for a while and I hope everyone enjoys this as much as I did.
The Black Snake Woman trip was a wonderful experience for me and all of the other third graders. It was really fun because we learned about Native American cultures and interesting facts about their weapons, tools, foods, and houses. It was really fun camping outside, but you needed to be prepared because the temperature dropped below 40 degrees! There were many fun activities, but my personal favorite was “the building area,” where you created little huts from twigs and sticks that you found in nature.
When we were with Black Snake Woman, we had so much fun all the time (even when we were freezing and sleeping outside)! For me, the most fun times were the nights. The first night, we were hanging out with our friends in our tents, then we went to sleep. But that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about the last night. We went outside and had a “small fire.” It is like a bonfire, but the fire is small. Black Snake Woman told us stories and Traveling Medicine Dog helped us make a fire. Black Snake Woman’s stories are awesome because she adds so many details that you feel like you are there. Then we roasted “Indian pillows,” which are actually marshmallows. Then we just looked up at the sky, saw bats, and there was a beautiful full moon. Then when everyone got tired, we went into the tents and we went to sleep.