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Activity 3: Leaving a Record (15 minutes), Workshop 3: Indigenous Religions—The Earth Speaks

In "Building Bridges," a Tapestry of Faith program

Materials for Activity

  • Large sheets of cardboard, at least 11x17 inches
  • A variety of art materials, such as water color paints and brushes, pens, and markers
  • Leader Resource 1, Cave Drawings

Preparation for Activity

  • If needed, make several copies of Leader Resource 1.
  • Set out cardboard sheets and art materials on work tables.

Description of Activity

Tell the group:

Although the stories of indigenous religions are passed orally from generation to generation, often there is also physical evidence of the stories and the basic tenets of these religions. These stories were so important to that group that its artists felt the stories should be recorded, to ensure many generations would know of them.

Ask the youth to each choose a tale from their lives they think is worth several future generations knowing about. Tell them the tale can belong to their shared culture, their local community, or even their congregation.

Indicate the cave paintings (copies of Leader Resource 1). Tell the group these are prehistoric cave paintings. Altammira is from a cave in Spain. It could be as old as 19,000 years ago. The Lascaux painting, from France, is estimated to be about 17,000 years old. What do youth see in the paintings? (Animals, mostly herds of bison.) Why do they think someone took the time and trouble to make these paintings?

Explain that the most common images in cave paintings around the world are large animals. Some cave paintings show hunting of these animals. Rarely, human figures are included. Later art depicted more of a story than these earliest drawings. Invite participants to use the art materials to make their own pictorial record of the story they want to tell.

Variations

Have the group choose and then represent one story together. Lead the youth to agree on a single tale that merits documenting for future generations—for example, a remarkable event in local politics, or the story of how an important person came to be part of your community. You may wish to show the story comic-book style, as a sequence of drawings, so each participant can work on a panel of the same tale.

Instead of a real story, you might invite the group to create a story that might have felt important to a group among the earliest humans—for example, the story of a successful hunt, or a story that explains how flowers were created or why "river" is a sacred part of everyone's lives. Create the story together as you go.

When everyone is finished, talk about why that story would be important for many many generations to understand the people who recorded it. Have each participant review their own contribution, and how their picture tells the story.

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Last updated on Wednesday, October 26, 2011.

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