The Hippo


May 29, 2020








Courtesy photo.

Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum’s Winter Gathering

When: Saturday, Dec. 3, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum, 18 Highlawn Road, Warner
Cost: $9 for adults, $8 for seniors and students, $7 for kids ages 6 to 12, free for kids under 6, Native Americans and museum members. $26 maximum cost for families of two adults and kids under 18
Visit: for additional information and events

Gathering around
Mt. Kearsarge celebrates winter traditions

By Matt Ingersoll

 Listen to traditional Native American stories, make your own corn husk doll, play games and try traditional dishes like squash soup and cranberry maple sauce at the Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum’s Winter Gathering on Saturday, Dec. 3.

The annual event features at least two native storytellers each year as a way of honoring the tradition of gathering around for stories as entertainment once the weather gets colder.
“Obviously in New Hampshire, you always have the weather to consider in the winter,” said Hears Crow, vice-chair of the museum’s board of trustees and a featured storyteller in past Winter Gatherings. “So that’s part of the reason it is done early in December.”
According to Hears Crow, winter was traditionally the time of year reserved for Native American storytellers to travel to different villages, because there was little work that needed to be done once the weather turned cold and snow blanketed the region.
“Stories were told in the summers, but in the long winter nights, storytelling was what everybody looked forward to,” she said. “You had dinner, cleaned your bowls, had your bed laid out, and the best seat by the fire was always saved for the storyteller.”
Storytellers covered all sorts of topics learned on their travels, which included history, entertainment and legends.
“They also carried news when they traveled from place to place,” she said.
The two storytellers at this year’s gathering will be Peter “Bearded Turtle” Brodeur from 11 a.m. to noon, and Willow Greene from 2 to 3 p.m. Hears Crow said events usually include one storyteller in the morning and one in the afternoon and have featured stories from Narragansett, Abenaki and many other traditions.
Brodeur will act out parts of his stories to make them come alive, and Greene will tell her stories by presenting a “story bag” of stones and letting audience members choose which to tell from the stone they pick. 
“The only requirement is that [the stories] are native tales, because we are the only museum in New Hampshire dedicated to Native Americans,” Hears Crow said. “But these are entertainment while respecting and honoring the traditions. They are typically about why things are the way they are, what Rudyard Kipling called the ‘just so’ stories.”
From 10:15 to 11 a.m., herbalist Lynn Clowes will talk about making traditional remedies for illnesses. Several craft sessions will be offered, including two on how to make your own corn husk doll, led by Anne Jennison from noon to 1 p.m. and from 1 to 2 p.m., and a woodcarving demonstration by Todd Aubertin throughout the duration of the event.
“There were always hides that needed to be tanned and things that needed to be gathered in the summer and fall so that the meat could be put up for the winter,” Hears Crow said, “but in the winter itself, crafts were done and shared among the generations because people lived generationally as a single unit.”
At least one craft is hands-on so participants can get to learn how to create things by doing it themselves, she said.
“[Jennison] is going to do two sessions to allow different groups an opportunity to participate,” she said. “We always try to have a variety so that it’s a lot of fun for people.”
Past crafts have included bead work and gourd bowls.
“We try to vary it a little, but we always try to use crafts that people can make within an hour or two and walk away with crafts they’ve done with their own hands,” she said.
An indoor children’s play area will be available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. offering Native American games for younger visitors. Participants can come and go throughout the duration of the Winter Gathering and explore other areas of the museum.
“It tends to be an even flow throughout the day, but some people stay all day long,” she said. “The gift shop will also be open, and with Christmas coming, there are people who will want to take advantage of that.” 

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