By Christy Porter, Managing Editor
Students in Candice Shepherd’s fourth grade class took a step back in time last Thursday, when Shepherd’s father, Bill Carter, who practiced taxidermy, and her uncle, Denny Carter, an arrowsmith, visited the classroom, bringing with them treasures from long ago and reproductions of related art forms. Their visit was timely as the students had recently taken a field trip to Alley Spring and Mill as part of a “Karst in the Ozarks” workshop, where they also learned about artifacts.
Denny shared arrowheads and points used for hunting, grinding stones, tools and pottery shards that would have been used for food preparation, and deer sinew that would have been used for thread in clothing construction and attaching the parts of hunting tools.
Bill told how animals were trapped, snared or hunted, and how no parts of the animal went to waste. The difference in texture and feel of animal hides became obvious at the touch. He also shared bobcat and beaver skulls, which the students found interesting.
The Carters also pointed out that all family members, men, women and children, participated in the responsibilities required to sustain life long ago.
The Carters’ grandfathers were trappers both on land and water, and they are of Native American Osage heritage. This made an Indian mask with a fur hat, feathers, beadwork and a scarf of animal skin quite impressive.
With the demonstrations, explanations and the Carters’ willingness to answer all questions, the fourth graders were given a wonderful opportunity to learn about history, including that of the indigenous tribes of our country.
Photos by Christy Porter