Spring break program taught a bit of Native American culture

Shelter Island herbalist and educator Sarah Sheppard shared Native Americans stories with children as part of the spring break program, “Montaukett Princess Heather Flower” Thursday morning on the lawn of the Suffolk County Historical Society building in Riverhead.

The children created Native American medicine bags, crafted using rose petals, bay leaves, cinnamon, jasmine flowers, rosemary, cloves and a special stone.

The medicine Bags were traditionally carried by Native Americans on their journeys, put under pillows for luck and held closely to remember their relatives, she said.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTOS | Shelter Island native herbalist and educator Sarah Sheppard (second from left) on the lawn of the Suffolk County Historical Society, where she taught kids about Native American culture Thursday.
John Foley, 9, of Riverhead (from left), Bryn Stevenson, 9, of Riverhead, Amelia Stevenson, 8, of Riverhead and Jack Lacey, 9, of Mastic Beach grind up herbs and flowers for their medicine bags.
Bryn Stevenson, 9, of Riverhead uses a clam shell to fill the medicine bag.
A stone is placed in each bag.
Dried jasmine flowers.
Bridgette Murphy, 8, of Riverhead and April Gonzales, 7, of Riverhead grind the flowers and herbs in a mortar and pestle for their medicine bags.