FORT WORTH -- Fifth-graders on a field trip to learn about American Indian traditions on Tuesday discovered that many of the images they've seen in movies and on television are based on myths and stereotypes.Taking a look at a feathered headpiece, the students were surprised to find out that the bonnet is never worn in battle."Hollywood has called it a 'war bonnet,'" said Alice Barrientez, liaison for Fort Worth schools' American Indian Education Program. "But this is a leader's bonnet. This is a ceremonial piece. This is a crown."Students from M.H. Moore and Rosemont elementary schools received a tour of a Fort Worth Central Library exhibit on Comanche history. They used library computers to answer research questions and had a cultural workshop with Barrientez.The field trips for about 1,400 fourth- and fifth-graders were made possible through a partnership between the Fort Worth school district and Imagination Celebration of Fort Worth, a nonprofit organization that provides free programs and course materials to supplement curriculum.Rosemont Elementary teacher Lara Iadarola's class is completing a unit on American Indians. "This is a good way to reinforce activity for them and they're getting to see the artifacts they heard about in school," she said.Barrientez demonstrated how to raise a small tepee inside the library, starting with three 10-foot poles to create the framework for the tent."This is a tripod. There is physics behind putting up a tepee," said Barrientez, of Navajo and Apache heritage. "You need three poles to put up the base of the tepee because that canvas is very, very heavy."The students learned a round dance, with boys forming an inner circle and girls in a larger, outer circle. As Barrientez beat a drum, the students paced counter clockwise.Daniela Castro, 10, a Rosemont fifth-grader, said the dance was the best part of the visit. She said she also liked the tepee. "I'd like one of them in my room," she said.Jessamy Brown, 817-390-7326Twitter: @jessamybrown
If you go
"Comanche Nation: The Story of Quanah and Cynthia Ann Parker"
Includes nearly 60 artifacts, photos and rare objects.
Through Dec. 15 at the Fort Worth Central Library, 500 W. Third St.
American Indian Education Program: www.fwisd.org/aie
Imagination Celebration of Fort Worth: www.icfw.org