Native American Religion in Early America

OVERVIEW + DISCUSSION GUIDE Teaching about Native American religion is a challenging task to tackle with students at any level, if only because the Indian systems of belief and ritual were as legion as the tribes inhabiting North America. This site provides ideas to the teacher to make the discussion comprehensible to students. MS & Up

Alaska Native Stories: Using Narrative to Introduce Expository Text

WEB LESSON This Read, Write Think lesson uses traditional stories of the Native peoples (i.e., narrative text) to introduce students to the study of animals in Alaska (i.e., expository text). Students use the Internet to listen to a Yu'pik tale told by John Active, a Native American living in Alaska. They also use online resources to find facts about animals in Alaska. Students compare and contrast the two types of text in terms of fiction and nonfiction. The narrative stories provide students with a context to begin studying a content area topic; this lesson emphasizes the integration of curriculum. Grades 3-5

Anishinabe - Ojibwe - Chippewa: Culture of an Indian Nation

WEB LESSON This lesson provides information and activities about one American Indian Nation, the Anishinabe, called Ojibwe in Canada and Chippewa in the U.S., and engages students in research on its history, location, and past and present culture. Students will be introduced to the past and present cultures of the Anishinabe/Ojibwe people, the tribe's original and contemporary locations, and the meanings and history of their different names. The class will then research together the topic of historical migration of the Anishinabe/Ojibwe, and the lesson culminates with group research projects focusing on different aspects of the culture, beliefs and traditions of this tribe. Grades 3-5

Native American Cultures Across the U.S.

WEB LESSON Teaching children about the First Americans in an accurate historical context while emphasizing their continuing presence and influence within the United States is important for developing a national and individual respect for the diverse American Indian peoples, and is necessary to understanding the history of this country. MS

After the Mayflower: We Shall Remain

WEB LESSON & VIDEO This online episode of the PBS documentary We Shall Remain looks at the early colonial settlement from the Native American perspective. The thread of differing spiritual understandings of the world and man's place in it recur. Discussion questions, maps and classroom activities supplement the video.

Totem Poles of the North American Northwest Coast Indians

WEB LESSONS To the Northwest Coast Indians, the totem pole provided a means of communicating their stories, myths and legends. The totem pole is an arrangement of symbols or memory devices in sequence created for the purpose of recalling a story or event. These symbols convey meaning and are a visual expression of what the Indian culture meant. Indian stories represent ideas intrinsic to Indian society and beliefs. MS - HS

Nez Perce Spirituality: an integrated arts; literature, visual art, music and dance unit

WEB LESSON This Nez Perce National Historical Park lesson plan utilizes the museum collections. Students evaluate images of selected artifacts,documents and historical photos and draw conclusions from them about the spiritual life of the people. See the images at (also in the resources part of Native Peoples section of Religion in American History on the CA 3Rs website)

The religious world of the Cherokee

WEB Activity This reading guide will help to guide student reading of "Maintaining Balance: The Religious World of the Cherokee" and encourage them to think critically about the text. The questions ask the students to consider Cherokee religious beliefs and how they may have affected interactions with the Europeans who arrived in the early 1700s.

The Kwakwaka'wakw: A Study of the North Pacific Coast People and the Potlach

WEB LESSON The focus of this National Museum of the American Indian Museum lesson is on Kwakwaka'wakw traditions that express concepts of wealth, values of giving, and the importance of cultural continuity. Students will learn about the Kwakwaka'wakw potlatch practice: its history, the values inherent in it, and the important role it plays in establishing and maintaining family connections to the past, to ancestors, and to the spirits of all living things. MS

Native American Beliefs

WEB LESSON Through this lesson by Mary Sellers at Pennsylvania State University students will understand the two main religious traditions in Native American religion, the Northern and Southern tradition, and will understand basic differences in beliefs as illustrated by their creation myths.

Hopi Traditional Dance and Song

WEB LESSON Hopi culture is deeply rooted in the arid landscapes of northern Arizona and the practice of dry-land corn farming. "Corn is life" and "corn are our children" are common metaphors used to explain the culture's historic, physical, and spiritual commitment to farming corn in such a challenging environment. Students learn about Hopi beliefs and culture through songs and traditional dance.