At the Jicarilla Apache Tribal Schools in New Mexico, students portrayed individual beads in a traditional morning star design.
At the Honu o ka Lani Charter School in Hawaii, they formed the image of an endangered sea turtle and celebrated afterwards during the blessing of a downpour.
And on Oct. 6 at the Indian Island Elementary School, more than 150 students, teachers and community members in blue T-shirts and jeans teamed up to represent the shifting colors of the Penobscot River beneath a gigantic 104-foot-long image of a Penobscot paddler in a traditional birch bark canoe.
“I do lots of projects on different Indian reservations–this is the ninth or 10th one–so it always comes down to an animal or symbol of something that’s especially important to that tribe; and the birch bark canoe is very symbolic of the Penobscot people. They invented the canoe. So, doing a traditional birch bark canoe made a lot of sense. The school wasn’t big enough to make the whole canoe out of people, so the people became the water.”