Living History Makes The Past Exciting - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

02/14/05

Living History Makes The Past Exciting

Don't just read about the past. Experience it. That's the message behind the "Living History" program underway right now at the Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum.

Native Americans and French colonial re-enactors will spend the next few days teaching about how their ancestors lived. They told Danielle Thomas why living history is the best way to learn.

"Cockroach guts have a totally unique taste to them."

Whether he's talking about his grandmother's remedy for a toothache or telling one of his favorite Native American fables, Grayhawk Perkins makes sure there's a moral in every story.

"It happens to me a lot where people I've met years ago will say 'Tell me that story. Tell me the cockroach story or tell me this or tell me that,'" said Grayhawk. "So the stories that I tell teach about history, teach about lessons and stuff like that but for some reason those stories make it stay there."

The Mississippi Coast Historical and Genealogical Society tries to make the past more real and more exciting by blending their extensive knowledge with authentic costumes and props.

Edmond Boudreaux portrays a French Marine from the 1600s.

"Seeing and being able to touch sometimes are greater tools for teaching than anything so living history is a great opportunity for kids to learn a lot more physically, mentally and visually."

Living History is also about reshaping preconceived notions. Kathleen Bergeron says there is more diversity among Native Americans tribes than most people realize.

"One of the things I like to knock down are the stereotypes because people say 'You don't look like an Indian' and I ask them 'What does an Indian look like?'"

Bergeron says she tells people who get their perceptions from movies that "We had over 500 tribes that was identified in the United States between Mexico and the Canadian borders and none of us looked a like."

Grayhawk hopes sharing his Houma heritage will inspire people learn about their own ancestry.

"I like to encourage people to keep their culture and to keep their heritage going because once it's gone it's hard to get it back."

The Living History program runs through Wednesday.

by Danielle Thomas

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