Talking Feather: ESL and American Indians: Extended Apache Lesson Plan

February 13th, 2013  |  Published in Answer Key, Culture, Education, Lesson Plans

O’siyo. Talking Feather is (and always has been) an *English as a Second Language site. For the next several weeks we’ll be reviewing the  lesson plans especially  for teachers working with L2 learners. Each plan has a Guide for teachers and an Answer Key. This week we’ll begin with the Apache Tribe. While you can still find the original Lesson Plans on this site, we’ll be updating them with new material. In between lessons we’ll post relevant articles about  American Indians. We hope that you’ll find the material useful in your classrooms. Enjoy!

*English as a second language (ESL) is the use or study of English by speakers with different native languages.

Beautiful Apache Portraits. Wikipedia

Beautiful Apache Portraits. Wikipedia

Goals:The goal of this material is to raise students’ awareness of the American Indian people living in the United States today  and to encourage L2 learners to view Native Indians as an integral part of American society.   Students from different countries  will see the Native People as workers, students, professionals, parents, and leaders of their communities. 

Teachers:  A Note About the Activities:  The construction of the exercises makes the reading material more of a communicative activity, and helps students to better understand the content. There are various pre-reading, while-reading and post-reading tasks for each reading selection. Although the majority of the exercises are suggested for group work, especially during class, students can complete the activities independently as homework assignments. At the following class meeting, their responses can be used as the basis for group discussions. The research activities can also be completed individually or as collaborative group projects. I offer some suggestions for some of the activities throughout the lessons.

Language Skills

The target skills for the lessons are primarily reading and speaking, however, tasks for writing, and research activities are also included. These exercises are intended for ESL students, but everyone can use them. Although the reading level is high-intermediate to advanced, teachers can modify the material as needed for their level of learners.

Significance of ”The Talking Feather” in the ESL Classroom

The Talking Feather method is still used in many American schools (both ESL and non-ESL), especially with very young children. Although the object the speaker holds may not always be a Feather, or a Stick, it is something equally symbolic to the children. It is effective as a tool to teach children the benefits of listening to others. As teachers we are constantly listening to our students. It was by listening to my students the idea of this site was created.

The Internet TESL Journal Read an excerpt from a teacher who discusses the value of  applying the “Talking Feather” method  in her classroom.

APACHE  Lesson Plan

“I cannot think that we are useless or God would not have created us. There is one God looking down on us all. We are all the children of one God. The sun, the darkness, the winds are all listening to what we have to say.

The soldiers never explained to the government when an Indian was wronged, but reported the misdeeds of the Indians. We took an oath not to do any wrong to each other .

I cannot think that we are useless or God would not have created us. There is one God looking down on us all. We are all the children of one God. The sun, the darkness, the winds are all listening to what we have to say.

I was born on the prairies where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no enclosures.” -Geronimo, Apache Medicine Man

Pre-Reading Discussion Questions

1. Choose one or two sayings from above by Geronimo and interpret them using  your own words, then share your interpretation with your group.

The Apache: A Concise History

1. The Apache were (and still are) composed of many different nations, and there are some differences in their history, language and culture, but all of the people are still related and are known as Apache. The Apache were known for their skills as warriors, especially their guerilla war tactics. The name Apache struck fear in the hearts of the Pueblo tribes, and others including the Spanish, Mexican and American settlers. The Apache raided the Pueblo villages for food and livestock. When the Spaniards arrived they hunted Indians to serve as slaves in the silver mines of Chihuahua in northern Mexico. This in turn, caused the Apache to raid the Spanish settlements for cattle, horses, firearms and captives. The fighting prowess of the Apaches became legendary. After the Mexican-American War, the United States took control of the New Mexico and Arizona regions.   In July of 1869, United States Colonel John Green led a scouting expedition into the White Mountain area, with the intent of killing or capturing any Apache people they encountered.

2. The following is an excerpt of that encounter:
…Army scouts reported finding over 100 acres of cornfields along the White River… An Apache chief that the Anglos called Miguel, visited the camp, and invited Colonel Green to visit his village. Green sent Captain John Barry, urging him “if possible to exterminate the whole village.”

When Captain Barry arrived at Miguel’s village, however, he found white flags “flying from every hut and from every prominent point,” and “the men, women and children came out to meet them and went to work at once to cut corn for their horses, and showed such a spirit of delight at meeting them that the officers [said] if they had fired upon them they would have been guilty of cold-blooded murder…


White Mountain Apache History

3. Green returned to the White Mountains in November, and met again with the Apache leaders… They agreed to the creation of a military post and reservation, and directed Green to the confluence of the East and North Forks of the White River. Green selected the site for a military post. His reasons were the good climate, especially the air which the Indians claimed was healthy and free from malaria. In addition, the land was well wooded and contained an abundance of water. The soil was perfect and fertile. Lumber was readily available from the the pine timber. The greatest advantage according to Green: This post would be of the greatest advantage for the following reasons: It would compel the White Mountain Indians to live on their reservation or be driven from their beautiful country which they almost worship. It would stop their traffic in corn with the hostile tribes, they could not plant an acre of ground without our permission as we know every spot of it. It would make a good scouting post, being adjacent to hostile bands on either side. Also a good supply depot for Scouting expeditions from other posts, and in fact, I believe, would do more to end the Apache War than anything else.  In 1879, after many different names, the area was finally renamed Fort Apache.

4. In 1922, Fort Apache was abandoned by the army. In 1923 the site was the home for the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Theodore Roosevelt Indian Boarding School. Originally it was intended for Navajo children, but by the 1930s the majority of the children were Apache. The school is still in use today, as an Apache middle school, and is under the administration of the Tribal Council.

5. Today the White Mountain Apache tribe, located predominately in east-central Arizona, consists of approximately 15,000 members. There are several educational institutions such as the Theodore Roosevelt School and the John F. Kennedy School under the supervision of the Indian Education Division. There are Tourists spots, wildlife recreation and a ski resort. The tribe also has a casino.

Exercise 1 Vocabulary Practice

Directions: The following vocabulary words are from the reading selection you’ve just finished. Find the words in bold  and highlight them, to help you locate the sentences, the paragraph numbers are in parenthesis.  Try to  infer the meanings from the context. Highlight any additional words that you aren’t familiar with and do the same with those. Check your answers with your group members, and then refer to your dictionary or thesaurus to confirm your guesses.

• The Apache raided the Pueblo villages for food and livestock. (1)

• In July of 1869, United States Colonel John Green led a scouting expedition into the White Mountain area…(1)

• Green sent Captain John Barry, urging him If possible to exterminate the whole village.(2)

• that the officers [said] if they had fired upon them they would have been guilty of cold-blooded murder…(2)

• …directed Green to the confluence of the East and North Forks of the White River.(3)

• The soil was perfect and fertile. (3)

• It would compel the White Mountain Indians to live on their reservation… (3)

• It would stop their traffic in corn with the hostile tribes…(3)

• It would make a good scouting post, being adjacent to hostile bands…(3)

• In 1922, Fort Apache was abandoned by the army. (4)

• Today the White Mountain Apache tribe, located predominately in east-central Arizona…(5)

Exercise 2 Discussion Questions for Comprehension

1. Why did Colonel Green wish to kill the Apache people?

2. What stopped Captain Barry from carrying out Colonel Green’s orders to “exterminate the whole village”?

3. What reasons did Green give for selecting the White Mountain area as military post?

4. According to Green what were the greatest advantages?

5. What was the final name given to the military post ?

Exercise 2 Research Activities

Directions: Choose one of the following topics to research then  present the results of your findings to the class.

• Geronimo

• Mexican-American War

• Fort Apache

Sources:

White Mountain Apache History

Apache

An Apache Myth: Coyote Shows How He Can Lie

Before students read here is  photo of a real coyote from Britannica Advocacy for animals.

Photo of a real coyote from Britannica Advocacy for animals.

Photo of a real coyote from Britannica Advocacy for animals.

For students who would like to draw one, here is a wonderful  drawing of a coyote by Drago Art.com  the artist even provides a step by step procedure for the drawing!

Coyote drawing By Drago Art.com

Coyote drawing By Drago Art.com

1. Pre-Reading Activity – Discussion

The following myth deals with the subject of lying. Although the main character, Coyote, likes to lie, and makes a prosperous living from the lies he tells, in real life this is not the case. Lying often leads to serious consequences and pain in real situations.

Directions: Work in pairs and study the following situations. First, tell whether you would tell the truth or not tell the truth, then explain why?

Situations:

1. Your best friend is about to go to an interview for a job. She asks your opinion of her new haircut. You know the new hair style looks awful on her. You…

a. tell her the truth

b. tell a lie

c. ( give another idea)

2. You and your friend work at the same company. Your friend steals something and you saw him do it. Your supervisor tells you that either you must tell on your friend, or both of you will lose your jobs! You…

a. tell the truth

b. tell a lie

c. (your idea)

Coyote Shows How He Can Lie

Coyote came into a group of camps. The men were all sitting around. They knew Coyote was always telling lies. The men called Coyote over. “Coyote,” they said, “you are the biggest liar we’ve ever known.”

“How do you know I lie?”

“Oh people say that you always make trouble and then you lie. You get away with things like that. You are very good at it . Why don’t you teach us how to lie so we can lie successfully  and profit too?”

“Well” said Coyote, “I had to pay a big price for that power. I learned it from my enemy.”

“What did you pay?”

“One horse. But it was my best buffalo horse, with a fine bridle.”

“Is that all?”

“Yes.”

They did not think that was much, for in those days there were plenty of horses. One man brought out a fine white buffalo horse, his best.

“Yes,” said the Coyote. “This is a good-looking horse. This is the kind I mean. It was with a horse like this that I paid for my power.”

Then Coyote said, “Let me try the horse. If he doesn’t buck, I’ll explain my power.”

They agreed and Coyote got on the horse. Now Coyote had never been on a horse before and he dug in with his claws to hold on. The horse began to buck.

“Oh! This horse needs a blanket, that is the trouble,” said Coyote. They put a blanket on the horse.

But Coyote’s claws were sharp and they went through the blanket and the horse jumped again.

“Oh! He wants something more over his back. He wants a good saddle on. So they got a good saddle and helped Coyote put it on the horse. Coyote got on again and then his turned his head as though he were listening for something.

“That is my power speaking,” he said. “That voice tells me he wants a whip too.” They gave him one.

He said, “I’m going around now and try this horse to see if he still bucks. I’ll come right back and tell you about it.”

He rode off a little way and then turned around and shouted back, “This is the way I lie. I get people to give me horses, blankets and saddles and other fine things,” Then he rode away and the people couldn’t do anything about it.

2. Listening Activity

(Grammar Review: adjectives)

Directions: Listen carefully as your teacher or another student re-reads the story to you again. This time, whenever the reader introduces a character, animal or object, they will pause and give you an opportunity to write down a couple of words describing what you think they (the character, animal, or object) looked like. If you want to, you may also describe the clothing they wore. See the example below. After, each of you read your descriptions.

Example: “Coyote came into a group of camps.”

Student’s description of Coyote:

1. tall

2. brown fur

3. long bushy tail

4. he had on a red jacket with gold buttons

3. Reading Comprehension

Directions: Choose the answer that best completes the following sentences.

1. The men knew Coyote lied because___.

a.  Coyote told them he did

b.  they heard about it from other people

c.  Coyote lied to them

2. The men wanted Coyote to teach them to lie because___.

a. they could profit from lying

b. they were teasing Coyote

c.  they wanted to see if he would teach them

3. The price Coyote paid to get his power was___.

a. a tipi

b. a horse

c. a buffalo

Teachers’ Guide and Answer Key

Activities:

1. Pre-Reading Discussion Questions

Students’ choice.

The Apache: A Concise History

Exercise 1 Vocabulary Practice (words in context)

1. raid: noun. a sudden short attack

2. expedition: noun. an organized group of people undertaking a journey for a particular purpose; esp. military groups.

3. exterminate: verb. kill en masse; kill on a large scale.

4. cold-blooded: adjective. without compunction or human feeling.

5. confluence: noun. a place where things merge or flow together (especially rivers).

6. fertile: adjective. (of soil or land) producing or capable of producing abundant vegetation.

7. compel: verb. force somebody to do something;

8. hostile: adjective. characterized by enmity or ill will.

9. adjacent: adjective. having a common boundary or edge; near or close.

10. abandon [abandoned]: verb. leave behind.

11. predominately adjective. [predominate] Having greatest ascendancy, importance, influence.

Exercise 2 Discussion Questions for Comprehension

1. Why did Colonel Green wish to kill the Apache people?

The Apache were known for their skills as warriors, especially their guerilla war tactics. The name Apache struck fear in the hearts of the Pueblo tribes, and others including the Spanish, Mexican and American settlers.

2. What stopped Captain Barry from carrying out Colonel Green’s orders to “exterminate the whole village”?

When Captain Barry arrived at Miguel’s village, however, he found white flags “flying from every hut and from every prominent point,” and “the men, women and children came out to meet them and went to work at once to cut corn for their horses, and showed such a spirit of delight at meeting them that the officers [said] if they had fired upon them they would have been guilty of cold-blooded murder…

3. What reasons did Green give for selecting the White Mountain area as military post?

His reasons were the good climate, especially the air which the Indians claimed was healthy and free from malaria. In addition, the land was well wooded and contained an abundance of water. The soil was perfect and fertile. Lumber was readily available from the the pine timber.

4. According to Green what were the greatest advantages?

The greatest advantage according to Green: This post would be of the greatest advantage for the following reasons: It would compel the White Mountain Indians to live on their reservation or be driven from their beautiful country which they almost worship… It would make a good scouting post, being adjacent to hostile bands on either side. Also a good supply depot for Scouting expeditions from other posts, and in fact, I believe, would do more to end the Apache War than anything else.

5. What was the final name given to the military post ?

In 1879, after many different names, the area was finally renamed Fort Apache.

Exercise 3 Research Activities

Students’ choice.

Coyote Shows How He Can Lie

1. Pre-Reading Activity – Discussion

Students’ choice

2. Listening Activity

Students’ choice

3. Reading Comprehension

1. The men knew Coyote lied because___.b. they heard about it from other people

2. The men wanted Coyote to teach them to lie because___.a. they could profit from lying

3. The price Coyote paid to get his power was___.b. a horse

4. Coyote learned his power from___.c. an enemy

5. Coyote had to pay with __.a. his white buffalo horse

6. The horse began bucking because___.a. Coyote dug his nails in his back

The Reason for The Talking Feather/Talking /Stick

The “Talking Feather” (sometimes also referred to as a”Talking Stick”) originated among Indian tribes during important *Council Circles, and served as a way for all present in the council an equal amount of time for speaking their thoughts. The Elder in charge of the council circle would begin the talk by holding the talking feather (or stick) as a signal that the meeting had begun. Once he had finished speaking, the talking feather would then be passed on to the next person who wished to speak.There were tribes who used a “Talking Stick” which served the same purpose as the feather. These Talking Feathers and Talking Sticks carried with them respect for the right of members to speak their thoughts freely without retaliation or ridicule from the other members. In historical photographs tribal members can be seen using a decorated Stick.

Legend of the Talking Feather (also known as The Talking Stick): Kanati and Asgaya Gigagei Bestow the Gift of The Talking Feather
There are many legends about how the Indians learned about the Talking Feather/Talking Stick. Read about one of them here…