The 11-year-old sixth-grader and schoolmates at Forest Hills Goodwillie Environmental School spent much of last week as a backdrop for a documentary video conceived to provide a window into the struggles of West Michigan American Indian families trying to find their place in a society dominated by people of European descent.
The documentary centers on the Potawatomi family of Steve and Kitt Pigeon and the ancient tradition of basket-weaving that has been kept alive in their family for generations.
"We're trying to help document it because, after a few more years, the ash trees could be gone, and people might forget what the Indians did," Rachel said. "We want to help people remember the contributions they made."
For more on the subject, see Native Documentaries and News.