SAU No. 5
Superintendent James Morse
36 Coe Drive
Durham, NH 03824
For Immediate Release
Friday, April 6, 2018
Media Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook Abenaki People Visit ORCSD Elementary School-
Students Learn about Cultural Inaccuracies in Versions of “Peter Pan” Ahead of Their Productions of “Peter Pan Jr.”
DURHAM — As Oyster River elementary school students prepare for their productions of “Peter Pan Jr.,” they received a visit from the Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook-Abenaki People, who spoke about cultural inaccuracies in the play.
While third and fourth grade students at Mast Way and Moharimet elementary schools began rehearsing for the play, music teachers initiated a conversation about changing the portrayal of Indians to campers.
“We want our students to understand that there were stereotypes used in versions of ‘Peter Pan’ that are offensive to Indigenous people,” said Mast Way Principal Carrie Vaich. “Because of this, music teachers felt it was more appropriate to alter that part of the production and speak to students about cultural differences.”
To help guide the conversation, Chief Paul Pouliot and Denise Pouliot of the Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook-Abenaki People, and students from the University of New Hampshire’s department of anthropology, visited Mast Way students on March 19 and Moharimet students on April 2.
During presentations at Mast Way and Moharimet, students were able to see period clothing, hear historical stories, ask questions and play percussion instruments while singing a greeting song.
“We cannot thank Chief Pouliot, Denise Pouliot and the UNH anthropology students enough for visiting our schools to speak to students,” Moharimet Principal David Goldsmith said. “Their presentation was extremely informative and really gave students great perspective on a different culture.”
The Moharimet production of “Peter Pan, Jr.” will take place on Tuesday, April 17 at 6:30 p.m. at Oyster River High School. The show is free of charge and is led by music teacher Beth Struthers.
Mast Way’s performance of “Peter Pan, Jr.” will take place on Wednesday, April 18 at 6:30 p.m. at Oyster River High School. The production is free of charge and led by music teacher Pam Felber.