Karen Aqua & Ken Field + Merrill Middle School

January 9 – January 27, 2006

Karen and Ken, from Cambridge, MA, are in residence at PlatteForum from January 9-27, 2006. During their residency they are working with the 7th Grade Indian Focus Program at Merrill Middle School to create a short animated film and original soundtrack. The film will retell a Santa Clara Pueblo story about the origin of the bear paw design that appears on some pottery from the Denver Art Museum’s extensive Native American collection. The students are researching topics, concentrating on traditional Native American arts, learning basic animation and sound concepts, and creating artwork, music, and sound for the film, which will be screened later this year.

The Bear
An interpretation of a Santa Clara Pueblo story by students of the Merrill Indian Focus Program of the Denver Public Schools.

It was a hot, dry summer for the Pueblo people.
People:  “Sigh! It is so hot!  I am so thirsty!”
The people were thirsty and their crops were wilting.
They gathered together and hoped and called for rain.
Kids:  “Come, come! A bear is heading towards our Pueblo!”
The people saw an old bear come down through the canyon.
The wise elder knew that the bear was important and should be followed, not hunted or feared.
They followed the bear all day through the hot, dry land.
Finally, as the sun was setting, the journey ended.
The bear had led them to a little spring of cool fresh water.
No one had found this spot before, because the thirsty sands consumed the moisture before it could get to their Pueblo.
People:  “Our Pueblo is saved!  Thank you!”
After that, the people remembered the bear by placing his paw print on pots made at Santa Clara Pueblo.

Merrill Middle School Teacher: David Redhorse
7th Grade Students: Mariah, Zachary, Joshua, Breanna, Keanna, Eddie, Parker, Alysha, Emilio, Rona, Aaron
Collaborator: Heather Nielsen, Master Teacher Native Arts, Denver Art Museum

Sponsored by The Densford Fund with program support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Western States Arts Foundation and Colorado Council on the Arts.