Oral historian brings past to life for Auxvasse students

First-grader Matthew Weber holds a medal for Jim Two Crows Wallen, oral historian, Tuesday at Auxvasse Elementary School. Wallen had a few students help out during his presentation of Lewis and Clark’s expedition.

First-grader Matthew Weber holds a medal for Jim Two Crows Wallen, oral historian, Tuesday at Auxvasse Elementary School. Wallen had a few students help out during his presentation of Lewis and Clark’s expedition. Photo by Mandi Steele.

Dressed in character, Jim Two Crows Wallen tells his audience of elementary school students, “Today, we’re going on an expedition.”

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Fourth-grader Anastasia Ellis helps Jim Two Crows Wallen hold up some beads to show her fellow students at Auxvasse Elementary School Tuesday.

Wallen, oral historian, visited Auxvasse Elementary School Tuesday to give an interactive account of the travels of Lewis and Clark. He started his presentation speaking in Cherokee, which caught the students off guard. He explained that his great-grandfather was full Cherokee and that is how he got the name “Two Crows.”

Cindy Metcalf, second-grade teacher, said the school tries to have a special activity or assembly every Reading is Fundamental Day. Metcalf explained that Wallen’s talk was one way to go about reading history.

“I think it’s wonderful, and the kids are really enjoying it,” she said.

Letting a few audience participants help show his props — beaded necklaces, furs, arrowheads and claws — Wallen helped the students “experience history” as he told about Lewis and Clark’s journey and their interaction with Native Americans.

“If I can get them enthusiastic and encouraged about history, that’s my goal,” Wallen said.

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