Education

Lesson for The Choctaws: A Cultural Awakening!

March 4th, 2013  |  Published in Education  | 

O’siyo. The Choctaw Nation  has come a long way. Here are updated photos and news for these wonderful people. ChoctawLesson Plan for this post

The People

The women are Beautiful…

Choctaw Fair 2012. Site photo:

…And Play a mean game of stickball!

Choctaw Annual Fair. Site

The men are perfect Gentlmen at traditional dances…

Choctaw Fair. Site

And ruthless Warriors in competitive Games!

Choctaw Fair 2012. Site.

There are Famous People of Choctaw descent, such as Phenomenal singer Martha Redbone

Martha Redbone site.

And Even…yes, The  Awesome King of Pop, Michael Jackson claims paternal Choctaw heritage!

The Brave Choctaw Code Talkers of WWI

The Choctaw Indian Code Talkers of World War I. Talking Feather.

The Books…

Choctaw: A Cultural Awakening, Can be purchased from the tribe.

After the Removal… By Samuel Wells and R. Tubby. Epubbooks

The Choctaw Video

  By  EchospaceDotOrg·

Listen to modern Choctaw speak about their culture, language, and special events.

Choctaw Lesson Plan for this post

Choctaw Lesson Plan with Answer Key

Choctaw Table of Contents

Choctaw Table of Contents

The Choctaw: A Concise History

A Choctaw Myth: The Gift Of Tanchi (Corn)

History of the Choctaw Code Talkers

Teachers’ Guide and Answer Key

“Whenever I introduce Choctaw culture, I am reminded of our Tribal ancestors who still live in our collective memory. The stories of their lives, full of both triumph and tragedy, remind us of our strong Choctaw heritage, and they are the background against which our current renaissance of Choctaw cultural arts, educational achievements, and progressive economic developments are illuminated. What it means to be Choctaw is deeply rooted within each of us. Our identity, ultimately defined by our blood, continues from generation-to-generation. Our strong inner spirit that has sustained us throughout history manifests itself again and again in beautiful and creative ways outwardly towards others.” – Tribal Chief Bealsey Denson, Choctaw Nation – (Excerpt from a Welcome Speech –2004)

Pre-Reading Tasks

Directions: Take turns reading aloud the excerpt from the speech made by Chief Denson.

Highlight or underline those words and phrases which in your opinion are positive and interpret their meaning in your own words.

Prepare a brief description of your culture using as many of the words and phrases you highlighted in Question 1 as you can.

The Choctaw: A Concise History

1. The Choctaw are a proud people with an arduous history. Like their neighbors the Cherokee, the Choctaw were forced to move from their land. Theirs is also a history of intrigue and glory. One reason is that their forefathers played an important role during World War I in this country! In the following pages you’ll learn the meanings of: Code talkers, head flattening, and the Green Corn festival.

2. The antecedents of the Choctaw people were part of a very large group of Indians which inhabited the southern and middle Mississippi valley region as much as 4,000-8,000 years ago. Several Spanish expeditions in the early 1500′s might have contacted the Choctaw, but there is no question that Hernando De Soto’s 1540 expedition encountered them: The Choctaw inflicted a significant loss on De Soto’s men in a battle near present-day Mobile, Alabama in 1541, and De Soto’s expedition never recovered from the violent confrontation.

3. As with all of the other American Indian tribes, the Choctaw had always had conflicts with the various neighbors, most notably the Chickasaw. But the coming of the Europeans greatly intensified the wars and battles.

4. Beginning about 1700, both British and French traders vied for trade relations with the tribes, with the Choctaw ending up allied with the French, and the Chickasaw allied with the British. Besides direct conflicts between the British and French (due to their European wars), the traders stirred up many additional wars between the Choctaw and the Chickasaw tribe. The traders also caused conflict between the Choctaw and the Creeks.

5. When the French and Indian War ended in 1763, the Treaty of Paris removed the French from east of the Mississippi River, and the Choctaw became part of Britain’s empire. During the American Revolution, some Choctaw fought for the colonists under Washington and other generals, while other Choctaw fought on the side of the British.

6. Following the American Revolution in 1783, the Choctaw signed the Treaty of Hopewell with the new United States, placing the tribe under the protection of the new government. However, pressure from the white settlers steadily increased, and by 1800, the Choctaw were beginning to cede some of their lands.

7. In 1811, the noted Shawnee chief Tecumseh was attempting to establish an Indian Confederacy to resist further encroachment. He asked the Choctaw to become part of the confederacy, but the Choctaw chose not to join him and attempted to live in harmony with the U.S. Yet throughout this time, pressure on the Choctaw to leave their traditional grounds steadily increased.

8. In 1830, then-President Andrew Jackson forced the Choctaw to be the first tribe to be removed from their homelands and relocated in Oklahoma. Almost 15,000 traveled, while about 5,000 remained behind in Mississippi. Many died along the path, victims of disease, exposure, and malnutrition.

9. The newly removed Choctaw tribe set about building new lives in Oklahoma, establishing schools and churches, drafting written laws and a constitution, and taking on many of the white settler’s ways.

10. During the American Civil War (1861-1865), most of the Choctaw sided with the Confederacy and several Choctaw battalions were raised, though none saw extensive battle. During World War I (1914-1918) many Choctaw fought, and 14 Choctaw men became Indian “code talkers”, using their language for military communications, which could not be deciphered by the German enemy.

Exercise 1 Vocabulary Practice: Inference

PART A

Locate each of the following words in bold in the story; the numbers in parenthesis indicate the paragraphs where the words can be found.  Next, try to infer the meanings from the context. Use a dictionary to check your answers. Add and highlight any other new  words that you may find.

1. The antecedents of the Choctaw people were part of a very large group of Indians which inhabited the southern and middle Mississippi valley…(2)

2. Several Spanish expeditions in the early 1500’s might have contacted the Choctaw…(2)

3. Beginning about 1700, both British and French traders vied for trade relations with the tribes, (4)

4. …the Choctaw ending up allied with the French, and the Chickasaw allied with the British. (4)

5. pressure from the white settlers steadily increased, and by 1800, the Choctaw were beginning to cede some of their lands. (6)

6. Tecumseh was attempting to establish an Indian Confederacy to resist further encroachment…but the Choctaw chose not to join him and attempted to live in harmony with the U.S. Yet throughout this time…(7)

7. President Andrew Jackson forced the Choctaw to be the first tribe to be removed from their homelands…Many died along the path, victims of disease, exposure, and malnutrition. (8)

8. During the American Civil War (1861-1865), most of the Choctaw sided with the Confederacy and several Choctaw battalions were raised…(10)

9. During World War I (1914-1918)…14 Choctaw men became Indian “code talkers”, using their language for military communications, which could not bedeciphered…(10)

Vocabulary Practice: Sentences

PART B

With your group, create sentences using the vocabulary words.

Exercise 2 Reading Comprehension (True/False)

Directions: Read each of the following statements concerning the reading and decide if it is true(T) or false (F). If the statement is false, correct it. In each case, locate the appropriate part in the reading to confirm your answer.

1. The progenitors of the Choctaw lived 4,000-8,000 years ago.

2. The Choctaw won the battle against DeSoto and his men.

3. The battle occurred near what is today known as Georgia.

4. De Soto recovered from the battle.

5. The Choctaws never had conflicts with other tribes until the Europeans arrived.

6. After the French and Indian War ended, the Choctaw remained allies with the French.

7. During the American Revolution, some Choctaws fought on the side of the Americans, while others fought on the side of the British.

8. The British won the Revolutionary War.

9. As more white settlers moved into their territory, the more the Choctaws fought.

10. The Shawnee Chief Tecumseh wanted the Choctaw to join his fight against the whites.

11. In 1830, President Andrew Jackson allowed the Choctaw to remain on their land with his blessings.

12. During the Civil War, 14 Choctaw men became code talkers for the U.S. military.

Exercise 3 Questions for Reflection and Discussion

1. Although the colonists were steadily moving into their territory, the Choctaw refused to join Tecumseh and the Indian Confederation. Discuss the possible reasons for their refusal.

2. The Choctaw wanted to live “in harmony” with the white settlers. Discuss your reasons for why this arrangement would have or would not have been possible.

3. Discuss the possible reasons why the Choctaw battled the Chickasaw and the Creek Indians.

4. If the Choctaw had joined The Indian Confederation proposed by Tecumseh, would the situation between the white settlers and the tribes have been different?

5. After all of the maltreatment from the U.S., 14 men from the Choctaw tribe became code talkers for the U.S. military during World War I. Why?

Exercise 4 Research Activities

Choose a topic from the following list and prepare a presentation for class or for group discussion.

• World War I

• American Revolution

• Civil War

• Tecumseh

• President Andrew Jackson

Exercise 5 Writing Activities

Directions: Choose one of the following writing activities.

Reread the history of the Choctaw and create a time line for them from 1500-1918.

Select an event from the Choctaw history and write an essay in which you describe the event in detail.

Sources:

• Choctaw History: The Choctaw Trail of Tears

• Wikipedia

A Choctaw Myth:The Gift Of Tanchi (Corn)

Once upon a time there were two Choctaws camped out under a summer moon when they heard a beautiful but sad sound. They walked along the river’s edge following the sound until they came upon a woman standing on a mound of earth.

She was very beautiful, surrounded by light, and wore a dress of white decorated with delicate flowers. Now these two Choctaws had very good manners so they asked her right away how they could help her. “I am hungry,” she said with a small sad voice. The men did not have much food but they gave her their entire supper, and they gave it to her happily. The lovely lady ate only a little and thanked them with a promise.

“If you will go and tell no one you saw me, I will ask my father, the Great Spirit, to give you a great and wondrous gift. Return to this exact spot at the next moon.” A little breeze suddenly blew by and she was gone. The Choctaws returned to their families and said nothing, even though they wanted to.

At the next moon, they quickly returned to the spot but were saddened to see that the woman was not there. But on the exact spot where she stood was a tall green plant with leaves that looked like the swords of the white men. The food this plant gave could be eaten in many different ways, all of which were delicious. The children liked the popcorn it gave best. That plant was the corn plant, of course, a great gift, indeed.

Exercise 1. Vocabulary Practice

Directions: Circle the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word from the reading. Use the context of the sentences to help you figure out the meaning of each word.

1.… until they came upon a woman standing on a mound of earth.

a- the sandy part of earth
b- a small natural hill
c- a shape

2. She was very beautiful, surrounded by light…

a- release
b- encircled
c- smothered

3…wore a dress of white decorated with delicate flowers.

a- embellished
b- stark
c- simple

4. The children liked the popcorn it gave best.

a- popped corn
b- crushed corn
c- sweet corn

5. The lovely lady ate only a little and thanked them with a promise.

a- forgiveness

b- doubt

c- pledge

6. I will ask my father, the Great Spirit, to give you a great and wondrous gift.

a-  dull

b-  remarkable

c- ordinary

7. The food this plant gave could be eaten… all of which were delicious.

a- unsavory

b- appetizing

c- unappetizing

Exercise 2. Questions for Reflection and Discussion

Is there a moral to this myth? If so explain it.

If there a similar myth in your culture, share it with your group.

In a group, create a myth that explains how something came to be.

Exercise 3. Writing Activities

Directions: Choose one of the following and write about the topic:

Write a paragraph in which you explain the reason why the Choctaw created a myth about corn.

With the members of your group compose a myth about how another source of food was created.

The Choctaw People: Part II

Choctaw Culture Then…

Top

1. The Choctaw men were hunters using bows and arrows which they made themselves to hunt deer, wild turkey, rabbit, and other small game animals. In addition to hunting, they were also expert fishermen. They used dugout canoes, which were fashioned from hollowed-out logs by the men. The Choctaw used other handmade tools such as nets and fishing spears. Choctaw women were responsible for the farming. They planted and harvested corn, beans, squash and sunflowers.

2. At first, the men and the women wore clothing made from the skins of the animals they hunted. After meeting the Europeans, they adapted clothing such as full skirts, shirts and cloth jackets. Everyone wore moccasins.

3. The Choctaws were known especially for their beautiful river cane baskets and wonderful woodcarvings. However, when they were forced to move from their homes to Oklahoma, the materials that they once used for their traditional crafts were no longer available. To compensate they switched to making beads, creating beadwork belts and similar items.

4. The Choctaws lived in small villages. Their houses were made from mud plaster and rivercane, with thatched roofs. The men enjoyed sports, so they also allocated space in a field for the game of stickball, including wooden benches for spectators.

5. Within the family, women took care of the home and family members, while the men had the responsibility of protecting their homes against intruders. One interesting note is that before a battle the men painted their faces and bodies with bright colors. Some also had tattoos on their arms and legs. The practices of body painting and tattooing were also executed in preparation for festivals and for certain ceremonies. During these occasions, Choctaw women also painted their faces, but they didn’t paint themselves to the extent that the men did.

6. The political system of the Choctaw was relatively simple. There was the family unit, with the father as head. There were several clans, and every family belonged to a particular clan. Each clan was comprised of many families with a leader. For important issues the clans leaders would meet and in this way decisions were made for the entire tribe.

7. In their religion the Choctaw believed in a deity and had many names for him. One of the popular names was Hashi Ikba, which means “Sun Father”. The Choctaw observed many practices; one was called head flattening, which involved attaching a board to the heads of male infants in order to flatten them. This was a common custom among the southeast Indians. The exact reason behind this practice is not clear.

8. One of the most religious ceremonies was the Green Corn Festival. This festival was both a time of thanksgiving and self-purification. The ceremony took place during the summer. In preparation for the celebration the men would clean all of the public areas, and the women cleaned their homes. First, there was a feast to give thanks for the produce and food from the last year. This was followed by a two-day fast, during which time crimes and social conflicts were discussed with the purpose of allowing them to be forgiven. Finally, there was a fire ritual where all fires were extinguished, the tribe had a moment of silence, and then the religious leader would light a fire that symbolized the beginning of a new year.

Choctaw Culture Now…

1. Although there have been many changes within the culture of the Choctaw, the people work diligently to maintain many of their traditions.

2. The men still hunt but only at specified times, and the women still cook many of the dishes that the Choctaw have enjoyed for generations such as fry bread and hominy. Today there are many grocery stores and supermarkets.

3. Choctaw women still sew and make clothing, although much of the clothes are bought from stores. Many Choctaw wear still wear moccasins, and during religious ceremonies and festivals the people will wear their traditional regalia.

4. The art of basket weaving, and bead work are still practiced. There are centers where children attend sessions to learn how to weave, make baskets and do the beadwork of their ancestors. In addition to this, many of the cultural dances are still taught.

5. The Choctaw live in regular homes and in apartments on tribal land.

6. Within the family both men and women are equal partners. Women still take care of their homes, and many have jobs outside of the home.

7. The Choctaw have a stable but complex Tribal government. The Tribal governmental structure has been in place since 1945. In that year, a Tribal constitution was ratified, and a representative, democratic form of government was established, with equal representation among all Choctaw communities. The government is headed by an elected Tribal Chief, who serves four-year terms. The current leader of the largest group, located in Mississippi, is Chief Beasley Denson. There are several existing communities within the government, including one that exists in Oklahoma. The Tribe also elects a seventeen-member Tribal Council, with those officials serving four-year terms.

8. Today the people are engaged in many thriving business enterprises, including a casino. They also boast a large and successful education system. Women are granted the same positions as men in the work force.

9. High-tech industry located on the Reservation includes Choctaw Geo-Imaging Enterprise and joint projects with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. These are just a few examples of the successful business enterprises in which the Tribe is involved. The tribe continues to grow and flourish.

10. The religious practices of the Choctaw today are complex. Many still celebrate traditional occasions, which include the annual Choctaw Indian Fair that is held each July on the Choctaw Indian Reservation. Spring festivals are also held in each of the Choctaw communities. Thanksgiving brings the annual Choctaw Thanksgiving Feast. All of these events give Tribal members an opportunity to gather as a Choctaw community and celebrate the Tribe’s way of life, including all Choctaw traditions.

Exercise 1. Reading Comprehension (True/False/Not Applicable)

Directions: Read each of the following statements concerning the reading and decide if it is true, false, or not applicable (NA). Sometimes information may be true but not reported in the reading, in which case the question would not be applicable. If the statement is false, correct it. In each case, locate the appropriate part in the reading to confirm your answer.

The Choctaw Then…

The Choctaw used horses for transportation.

European mode of dress was adapted by the Choctaw.

After their relocation the Choctaw continued making their traditional baskets.

They began creating bead work belts.

The men loved sports.

Before a battle men tattooed symbols of war on their arms and legs.

Women also painted their faces sometimes.

Important tribal decisions were made by the Shaman.

The women flattened an infants head to make room in his cradle.

The Green Corn Festival was the time for thankfulness and self-purification.

The Choctaw Today…

Today, the Choctaw men still use bows and arrows to hunts.

Much of the clothing worn by the women today is sewn by hand.

Basket weaving and bead work are taught to children.

The Choctaw wear their regalia for special occasions only.

The Choctaw women are treated as equals to men in the workforce.

Some Choctaws are Christians.

Exercise 2.  Questions for Reflection and Discussion

Provide possible reasons for the men painting and tattooing their faces and bodies before a battle.

What could have been the significance of having the heads of male infants flattened?

What made the Choctaw adapt European style of dress?

Sources:

The Choctaw Trail of Tears

Choctaw Culture

Wikipedia-The Choctaw

History of the Choctaw Code Talkers

Code talking began in the United States during World War I. The American Military used the complex American Indian languages as code, to keep the German forces from intercepting and decoding American military information.

There are variations on the story of how the Choctaw men were discovered speaking their language, while in the military. One version begins as follows:

“Captain Lawrence, commander of one of the companies, was strolling through the company area when he happened to overhear Solomon Lewis and Mitchell Bobb conversing in their native Choctaw language.

After listening for a few moments, he called Lewis aside. “Corporal,” he asked,” how many of you Choctaw boys do we have in this battalion?”

After a conference with Bobb, Lewis told the Captain, “We have eight men who speak fluent Choctaw in the battalion, sir.” *

However the story began, it is fact that the Choctaw were the first tribe to be recognized as “code talkers”. There are eight men who were given credit as being part of the original group of Choctaws instrumental in helping the American Military Force win significant key battles, as “code talkers’. All were born in the Choctaw Nation.

Unfortunately, there was little mention of the Choctaw Code Talkers after W W I  mainly because the men did not discuss their roles during war.  Both the term, and the Choctaw association to the term  died out. It resurfaced again during World War II, when Navajo speakers were recruited especially by the Marines to serve in their standard communications units located in the Pacific.

Today the term code talkers is strongly associated to the Navajo, especially in “Hollywood” movies. One reason given for this is that because the Navajos had a history of fighting wars against the United States, they served as a more “lively” topic for “make-believe” films. This was in contrast to   the quiet, organized, agrarian Choctaws, who adapted the American way of government for their own tribal affairs,  including  the basics of the U.S. Constitution.

In addition to the eight men mentioned, there were  other Choctaw soldiers who  contributed their efforts during the war, and their names were placed on the Choctaw War Memorial which was erected in 1995 at the Choctaw Capitol Building in Tuskahoma, Oklahoma. It includes a huge section of granite dedicated to the Choctaw Code Talkers.

Other American Indian Code Talkers for the United States Army during World War II, were the Cherokee, Lakota, Comanche, and Meskwaki soldiers.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

1. In what country did “code talking” begin?

2. During what  major event did code talking begin?

3. Which language was first used for code talking?

4. Why was it necessary to transmit messages in code?

5. Why didn’t the Choctaws receive credit as being the first code talkers during WWI?

6. In films today, which tribe is noted as being code talkers?

7. Have the Choctaw Code Talkers been honored ? Where?

Code Talkers of WWI

Code Talker-Wikipedia

Teachers’ Guide and Answer Key

Note To Teachers:

The primary goal of the content of this reading material is to raise students’ awareness of the American Indian people living in the United States today, and to view them as an integral part of American society. My hope is that students will see the Native People of this country as professional workers, students,, parents, and leaders of their communities.

Activities:

The construction of the exercises makes the reading material more of a communicative activity, and help students 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 lesson.

Language Skills

The target language 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.

Answer Key:

Pre-reading Discussion Questions

Some possible responses:

1. Positive words and phrases: triumph– strong Choctaw heritage– renaissance of Choctaw cultural arts– educational achievements– progressive economic– development– strong inner spirit has sustained us– beautiful and creative ways– outwardly towards others.

2. Students choice.

Exercise 1- Vocabulary Practice: Part A Inference

antecedents noun. someone from whom you are descended (but usually more remote than a grandparent) (para. 2)

expedition noun a military campaign designed to achieve a specific objective in a foreign country. (para. 2)

vied verb compete for something; engage in a contest; measure oneself against others. (para. 4)

allied verb joined by treaty or agreement. (para. 4)

cede verb relinquish possession or control over. (para. 6)

harmony noun compatibility in opinion and action. (para. 7)

malnutrition noun a state of poor nutrition; can result from insufficient or unbalanced diet. (para. 8)

battalions noun. (in the Military). a ground force unit composed of a headquarters and two or more companies or similar units. (para. 10)

deciphered verb To read or interpret ambiguous, obscure, or illegible matter. (para. 10)

Vocabulary Practice Part B Sentences – Students choice

Exercise 2- Reading Comprehension (True / False)

True

True

False

False

False

True

True

False

False

True

False

True

Exercise 3- Questions for Reflection and Discussion

Possible Answers:

The Choctaw were tired of fighting. Maybe they felt it was useless to fight because the white settlers continued to enter their lands.

The settlers outnumbered the Indians and they continued to enter the country in vast numbers, trying to live in peace with the settlers would have been possible, as long as the white settlers didn’t encroach on too much of the Choctaw’s land.

Power for land, personal vendettas, racial or cultural conflicts.

Maybe, there would have been a larger number of Indians, and maybe they would have had a better chance to overpower the settlers.

Perhaps at that point in time the Choctaw felt that helping the country of their birth win the war was important.

Exercise 4 Research Activities-(Students’ Choice)

• World War I

• American Revolution

• Civil War

• Tecumseh

• President Andrew Jackson

Exercise 5 Writing Activities

Possible Responses:

I. Historical Timeline for the Choctaw (1500-1918):

1500s–Might have been first contact with Spaniards

1540– Definite contact with DeSoto

1700s–Choctaw become allies with the British army

1763—End of French and Indian War

1783—End of American Revolutionary War

1800s—Choctaw ceded lands to new government

1811—Choctaw refuse to join Tecumseh’s Indians Confederacy

1830—Choctaw forced to leave their homeland; relocated to Oklahoma

(1861-1865)—Civil War and Choctaw sided with the confederacy

(1914-19180—World War I- 14 Choctaw men became the first Indian Code Talkers

II. Students’ Choice.

A CHOCTAW MYTH: THE GIFT OF TANCHI (CORN)

Exercise 1 Vocabulary Practice

mound – b.

surrounded – b.

decorated – a.

promise – c.

wondrous – b.

delicious – b.

popcorn – a.

Exercise 2 Questions for Reflection and Discussion

Possible responses:

Is there a moral to this myth? “ Be kind to people because you never know to whom you’re speaking”.

Students choice

Students choice.

Exercise 3. Writing Activities

Students Choice

Part II: CHOCTAW CULTURE

Exercise 1. Reading Comprehension (True / False / Not Applicable [-NA])

Choctaw Culture Then…

NA

True

True

False (para. 3)

True

True

True

False (para. 5)

NA

True

True

Choctaw Culture Now…

True

False (para 3)

True

True

True

NA

Exercise 2- Questions for Reflection and Discussion

Possible Responses:

Men painted themselves to appear more fierce to their opponents or for religious purposes.

A flat head might have signified great intelligence, or wealth.

The Choctaw felt that the European dress was pretty, or they wanted to be part of the culture that was becoming dominant.

Choctaw Code Talkers

Questions for Comprehension and  Discussion

1. The United States.

2. During World War I.

3. The Choctaw language.

4. It was necessary so that the Germans couldn’t decode the U.S.military massages.

5. The Choctaws did not talk to other people about their part in the war.

6. The Navajos are noted as being the first code talkers.

7. Yes. There is a monument located in the Choctaw Capitol.

Teachers will find aditional free and Complete Lesson Plans with Answer Keys on the following U.S. tribes: Apache, Blackfeet, Cherokee, Choctaw, Crow, Iroquois, Kwakiutl, Mohawk (read about the fascinating “Sky Walkers”)  Navajo, Shawnee, Sioux, and Zuni.

 

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Beautiful Navajo Dreams Wrapped in Wool…

February 28th, 2013  |  Published in Education  | 

O’siyo. There are  so many wonderful events occurring this year in Indian Country  that we’ve decided to combine the updates of  the original Talking Feather  Tribal lesson plans with current news articles. We also wish to thank the teachers who have shown an interest in the new additions!

This week begins the 53rd Annual Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market, where acclaimed Navajo weaver Florence Riggs will be  honored as this year’s Signature Artist. See some photos of her beautiful rug weaving below.

Excerpt: Tucson and Phoenix Prep for Major Art and Craft Fairs By Lee Allen ICTMN

“…the Heard Museum Guild in Phoenix will present its two-day Indian Fair and Market, the state’s largest such attraction, on March 2-3.  The theme for this year’s 55th annual event is Weaving Worlds with Wool– a celebration of the weaver’s art.

Navajo Weaver Florence Riggs. Photo:Facebook.

Florence Riggs (Navajo), a member of the Nez weaver family, has been named Signature Artist.  With nearly three decades immersed in the wool arts, Riggs has moved on from traditional tribal patterns characterized by non-representational geometric forms to weaving pictorial items that incorporate depictions of everyday scenes and objects. 

Hogan Lifestyle Rug woven By Artist Florence Riggs. Photo: Twin Rocks Trading Post.

Rare Dinosaur rug woven by Artist Florence Riggs. Photo: Southwestern Souvenirs.

Beautiful Rug woven by Artist Florence Riggs. Photo: R.B. Burnham & Company.

Some of Riggs’ work hangs in Ohio University’s Kennedy Museum of Art, where its curator says Riggs has become known for her highly detailed and often whimsical representations of scenes from reservation life… In paying homage to the Navajo weaving tradition, Riggs will be one of more than 700 of the nation’s most outstanding and successful American Indian artists on hand to interact with the expected 20,000 visitors.

Collectors from around the world arrive early to be first in line to purchase many one-of-a-kind artworks that range from jewelry, pottery, baskets, kachina dolls, textiles, fine art, and more…

Special Event- R.C. Nakai Flute Workshop. Photo-Heard Museum.

Authenticity reigns in an array of American Indian music (including legendary Navajo performer R. Carlos Nakai and his trio that includes Will Clipman and William Eaton), cultural performances, and a variety of Native food favorites ranging from fry and piki bread to posole and Hopi stew.” Learn more…

We urge everyone to attend this wonderful and informative celebration!

“All of my worries ease off, and I’m relaxed and calm…I’m just concentrating on the piece that I’m making. The time that I’m sitting at my rug, that’s my world right there.” ~ Florence Riggs~Navajo Weaver

Related to Navajo Weaving.

Girl Rug Weaver and Her Goats By Arthur C. Begay, Sr., Diné (Navajo), b. 1932. Smithsonian Institution-MAI

Navajo girls preparing the wool for weaving. Photo: Dine Weaving/Vision Quest dvd.

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Cherokee Extended Lesson Plan

February 22nd, 2013  |  Published in Education  | 

O’siyo. This week for Teachers and students we’ll focus on the Cherokee Nation. This is an Integrated skills lesson intended for L2 learners at the intermediate to advanced level of English. However, teachers can modify the material as needed for their level of learners. The construction of the exercises makes the reading material more of a communicative activity, and helps students to better understand the content.

Note: All Lesson Plans on this site are the Original Work and Property of Amerindian7. The material is for Educational use with proper acknowledgement. Please be certain to read Talking Feather’s Terms of Use Policy. All additional reference material and photo sources are identified.

Cherokee (Tsalagihi Ayili) Tribal  Dancers. Photo-Headresses

Cherokee (Tsalagihi Ayili) Tribal Dancers. Photo-Headresses

Cherokee Contents

“The secret of our success is that we never, never give up.”~Wilma Mankiller~

“…I know what I’m doing, why I’m doing these paintings. It’s like I’m trying to capture that feeling of collective pride, that resiliency, that drum beat…There’s such transition in my art, my life, my well being… I feel blessed, man. I feel awesome.”~Ryan Lee Smith~Cherokee Artist-

  

Noted Members of the Cherokee Nation

Sequoyah invented the Cherokee syllabary.

Sequoyah invented the Cherokee syllabary.

 

Chief Wilma Mankiller  Photo: Manataka American Indian Council.

Chief Wilma Mankiller Photo: Manataka American Indian Council.

Cherokee artist Ryan Lee Smith- Photo- Karen Shade, NAT

Cherokee artist Ryan Lee Smith- Photo- Karen Shade, NAT

Mustangs By Ryan Lee Smith. Photo- his site.

Mustangs By Ryan Lee Smith. Photo- his site.

Video Cherokee of North Carolina 2012 Grand Pow-Wow Opening

Books of Interest about the Cherokee Nation

Note: All of the following texts can be purchased at Amazon.

The Cherokee Indians (Native Peoples) By Bill Lund.

The Cherokee Indians (Native Peoples) By Bill Lund.

The Cherokee (Indians of North America) By Thea Perdue:Frank W. Porter.

The Cherokee (Indians of North America) By Thea Perdue:Frank W. Porter.

The Cherokee Indian Nation- A Troubled History Edited by Duane H. King

The Cherokee Indian Nation- A Troubled History Edited by Duane H. King

Trail of Tears- The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation John Ehle

Trail of Tears- The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation John Ehle

Noted Cherokee Educational Programs

Cherokee Immersion School. Cherokee site.

Cherokee Immersion School. Cherokee site.

“tsalagi tsunadeloquasdi began in 2001 as a language preservation program. Twenty-six students and four staff members paved the way to revitalizing the language with our young people. Our mission is to promote the revitalization/usage of the Cherokee language while educating children in a safe and cultural environment.” Learn more…

http://www.cherokeesofsouthcarolina.com/education.html

http://www.cherokeesofsouthcarolina.com/education.html

 

“The Eastern Cherokee, Southern Iroquois & United Tribes works with a number of agencies that can help anyone that has the desire to improve their education and job skills. The South Carolina Indian Development Council (SCIDC) and the Work Force Investment Act (WIA) will help you finish your high school, get a GED, help you go to a technical College and there is also on the job training (OJT) for those who qualify for placement in an OJT slot. ECSIUT can help you complete application through the South Carolina Indian Development Council.” Learn more…

Co-Partners JOM -The Cherokee Nation Co-Partner Program – also known as Johnson O’Malley or more commonly, JOM – is designed to provide supplemental and/or operational support to public schools within Cherokee Nation boundarieserving eligible Indian students from three years of age through 12th grade. The desired outcomes of this program are to increase Indian student achievement levels and encourage the use of cultural enrichment initiatives within JOM programs in place in public schools.” Learn more…

Kituwah Preservation & Education Program (Eastern Band) - 1. Immersion: The first component is Early Childhood Education, which currently serves over 75 children ages 7 months to seven years. 2. Community Based Language Programs: Providing language resources to the community, area schools and individuals.  3. Cultural Resources: Provide cultural and historical interpretation to the public, universities, and schools.”  Learn more…

Cherokee Lesson Plan with Answer Key

“It was a spirit of survival and perseverance that carried the Cherokee to Indian Territory on the Trail of Tears. Today, it is the same spirit leading the Cherokee.”–The Cherokee Nation-Date Unknown-

Pre-Reading Discussion Questions

Before you read the history of the Cherokee, consider the following situation:

Imagine that your country passed a law proclaiming that all of the land that you and your family had lived on for many years now belonged to the government. In addition to this you and your family were forced to leave your home under military supervision! With your group discuss the possible actions you might take in this situation.

Consider the title of the reading selection The Long Trail of Tears, and also consider this list of words and phrases taken from the reading: English settlers, conflict, treaty, firearms, territory, gold, U.S. government. Based on this information, develop a scenario which reflects what you imagine happened to the Cherokee.

The Cherokee: A Concise History

1. The Cherokee people are believed to have settled into their ancestral homeland in the southeastern United States sometime before 1,500 years ago. Linguists classify the Cherokee language as Iroquoian, but it is a distant cousin of present-day Iroquoian languages, suggesting that the Cherokee people gradually split off from the more northern Iroquois a long time ago. They slowly developed an extensive system of villages covering much of present-day western North and South Carolina, north Georgia, and eastern Tennessee, with a population estimated at 22,500 by 1650.

2. Villages scattered across this region were typically a hard day’s walk apart. The economy of the Cherokee inhabitants was based on agriculture supplemented with hunting and gathering of natural foods. But the economy also involved creation of clothing, decoration, baskets, pottery, tools, and weapons, together with trade for these items, often over long distances. Houses evolved from early woven branches and mud to substantial log cabins with smoke holes and doors.

3. The first contact between the Cherokee and Europeans occurred in the 1540s when Hernando De Soto, the Spanish conqueror of Peru, led an army of exploration and conquest from Florida up through Cherokee territory and into the central United States, primarily searching for gold and other riches. De Soto died of fever on the banks of the Mississippi River in 1542. Other Spanish expeditions entered the territory at long intervals over the next 100 years, and the fact that much of the Cherokee territory lay in the Appalachian Mountains tended to minimize the contact between the Cherokee and the Spanish.

4. During the 1600′s, contact and conflict grew between the Cherokee and the English settlers growing outward from the Virginia colonies. During this period the Cherokee and tribes acquired firearms, and also substantially fortified their towns. This period was a tangled web of wars and alliances between Indian tribes including the Cherokee, Tuscarora, Creeks, Chickasaw, and Shawnee. There were also conflicts between the Indians, the British, the French, and the American colonists. Then the first smallpox epidemic, probably brought to Carolina by slave ships, broke out about 1738, and had a devastating effect on the Cherokee as well as other tribes because they had no natural immunity. During the American Revolutionary War of 1775–1783, the Cherokee and many of the other tribes sided with the British against the colonists.

5. Following the British defeat, some groups of Cherokee moved west of the Mississippi River to reside in Spanish territory, primarily in present-day Arkansas. This territory was ceded by Spain to France, and shortly thereafter, Napoleon sold it to the new United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase. Immediately from that time, President Thomas Jefferson and the Congress put steadily increasing pressure on all of the eastern tribes to move west of the Mississippi river into the new territory.

6. Even during this difficult time, Cherokee culture continued to grow and flourish. Between 1809-1821, the deservedly famous Cherokee scholar *Sequoyah, after observing a book for the first time and referring to it as Talking Leaves invented a syllabic alphabet (a “syllabary”) for the spoken Cherokee language, and used that to establish a system of writing Cherokee. Within several years, it was in wide use in the Cherokee nation, and a newspaper, the Cherokee Phoenix, began publication using Sequoyah’s syllabary in 1828. This was the first American Indian newspaper published in the United States.

7. The pressure to move west increased, and only became worse when gold was discovered on Cherokee lands in North Georgia in 1828. The U.S. Congress passed the Indian Removal Act in 1830, but the U.S Supreme Court ruled that the Cherokee were a sovereign nation and removal could only be archived via negotiated treaties. Unfortunately, political divisions among the Cherokee led to the signing of just such a document by a small minority of Cherokee. Despite the fact that the Cherokee had fought with him in the Creek War (1813-14) and reputedly saved his life, then-President Andrew Jackson exploited this signing to use the U.S Army to force the removal of the Cherokee people from the east to new territories in Oklahoma. This episode has become known as the infamous Trail of Tears. More than 17,000 Cherokee were forced to move over 2,200 miles, and more than 4,000 died in the process.

8. The Indian Removal Act applied to Cherokees living on communally owned tribal land. Cherokees who lived on private land along with some others who had evaded the army, continued living in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, and their descendants today constitute the Eastern Band Cherokees. The Western Band Cherokees, located in Oklahoma, derive from those who made the march. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the western group was still plagued by conflicts with settlers for lands, and both bands suffered from misguided government policies, including the forced education of Indian children in government boarding schools away from home, and from attempts to discourage use of the Cherokee language.

9. Today, the majority of the Cherokee Nation reside in western Oklahoma. They have their own schools and an excellent educational system. The tribe also does well in business and economic development. They are the second largest tribe in the United States, with over 200,000 tribal members. They have the sovereign right to exercise control over all tribal assets.

10.Sequoyah (circa 1767-1843) was a Cherokee silversmith who created the writing system known as the Cherokee syllabary, making it possible for people to read and write in Cherokee. Sequoyah completed the language system in 1821. The Cherokee Tribe officially adapted his syllabary in 1825. Due to their syllabary teaching, the members’ literacy rate rapidly increased, and surpassed that of the European-American settlers located nearby.

Exercise 1 Vocabulary Practice (History)

Directions: The following vocabulary words (in bold font) are from the reading selection you’ve just finished. Find and highlight each of the following words in the paragraphs indicated in parenthesis, then 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, then refer to your dictionary or thesaurus to confirm your answers.

  1. The Cherokee people are believed to have settled into their ancestral homeland in the southeastern United States. (1)
  2. Linguists classify the Cherokee language as Iroquoian. (1)
  3.  The economy of the Cherokee inhabitants was based on agriculture supplemented with hunting and gathering. (2)
  4. Houses evolved from early woven branches and mud to substantial log cabins. (2)
  5. …to substantial log cabins with smoke holes and doors. (2)
  6. Other Spanish expeditions entered the territory at long intervals over the next 100 years. (3)
  7. During this period the Cherokee tribes acquired firearms, and also substantially fortified their towns. (4)
  8. Then the first smallpox epidemic, probably brought to Carolina by slave ships, broke out about 1738, and had a devastating effect on the Cherokee. (4)
  9.  This territory was ceded by Spain to France, and shortly thereafter, Napoleon sold it to the new United States. (5)
  10. Even during this difficult time, Cherokee culture continued to grow and flourish. (6)
  11. …the U.S Supreme Court ruled that the Cherokee were a sovereign nation …(7)
  12. Despite the fact that the Cherokee…reputedly saved his life…Andrew Jackson exploited this signing… (7)
  13. Cherokees who lived on private land along…continued living in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, and their descendants today constitute the Eastern Band Cherokees. (8)

Exercise 2 Discussion Questions for Comprehension

1. What evidence was there that the Cherokee people originated from the Northern Iroquois?

2. What did the early Cherokee economy consist of?

3. Describe the first dwellings of the Cherokee.

4. Was finding the Cherokee people the primary reason for De Soto’s expedition?

5. After the death of De Soto, what factor contributed to the minimal contact between the Cherokee and the Spanish?

6. In 1828 what discovery led to the increased pressure on the eastern Cherokees to move?

Exercise 3 Questions for Reflection and Discussion

1. During the 1600s numerous wars occurred between the Cherokee and other American Indian tribes. What do you think caused those wars?

2. Why were the Americans, British and the French also at war with the Indians?

3. What made the Cherokee side with the British during the American Revolutionary War (1775-83)?

4. Why were the Cherokee children forbidden to speak their language and forced to learn English during the 1800s and 1900s?

Exercise 4 Research Activities

Directions: Choose a person or an event from the following list for research and prepare a presentation for class or for group discussion.

• Sequoyah

• The Indian Removal Act

• The Trail of Tears

• President Andrew Jackson

• Hernando De Soto

• The American Revolutionary War

Exercise 5 Writing Activities

1. Write an essay in which you express your opinion on the events leading up to and including the Trail of Tears.

2. Write an essay in which you discuss the small pox epidemic and the effect it had on the Cherokee and other tribes.

Sources: • Cherokee History (Lee Sultzman)

Some L2 learners may not understand what certain animals (or insects) look like.  Here are some photos to go with the myth. Click on the photos for their origins.

Possum and Baby. Cute Photo- Fantazzle site.

A Coyote. Beautiful Photo- True Wild Life.

A Cricket. Photo- Baby Turtle blog

A Lizard. Photo- Scienceshot.

A Lizard. Photo- Scienceshot.

A Cherokee Myth: Possum Loses His Hair

Just as their forefathers did in the past, Cherokees today enjoy telling stories. Many of these myths usually have a moral for young ones to learn. A good many of these wonderful stories involve animals who possess human characteristics…including human flaws, as the following story demonstrates.

“Possum had a long bushy tail. He was very proud of it, combing it out every day. If anyone came over to his house, he would show off his tail right away. Coyote didn’t like this. Everyone laughed at Coyote’s tail. They said it was all scratchy and full of weeds and dirt.

One time the Animal People decided to have a council and a big dance. They told Coyote to spread the news. Coyote went by to see Possum. Possum said, “It must be where everyone can see my fine tail, I will dance with my tail if you give me a special place.”

“You come along then,” said Coyote. “We’ll have a special place for you. I will even send Cricket over to comb your tail out and dress it all up for the dance.” Possum was very pleased with this offer. Coyote went over to see Cricket and they had a talk. Cricket was the best haircutter anyone knew.

In the morning, Cricket went over to see Possum and told him he was there to fix up his tail for the dance. Possum stretched out and Cricket went to work. When he was all through combing and smoothing the hairs, he wrapped Possum’s tail in a bright red string.

Cricket said, “Possum, this string will keep all the hairs smooth until the dance. When you get to the council and it’s time to dance then you can take the string off.” When it was night Possum went to the lodge where the dance was to be and found that the best seat was ready for him. When it came his turn to dance, he loosened the string and stepped out into the middle of the floor.

The drummers began drumming and Possum began singing, “See my beautiful tail!” Everyone shouted and Possum danced around and around. “See how fine the fur is!” The people shouted more loudly than before and began laughing. “Look how it sweeps the ground!” All the people were laughing now and Possum was wondering what it meant.

He stopped dancing and looked around at the circle of animals. They were all laughing at him. Then he looked at his tail. There wasn’t any hair on it at all! His tail looked like Lizard’s tail. Cricket had cut off all the hairs at the root and now they were scattered all over the dance floor.

Possum was so astonished and ashamed that he didn’t say anything. He rolled over on his back and grinned at everyone. To this day Possum still does this when he’s caught by surprise.”

Exercise 1. Vocabulary Practice

Directions: With a partner, reread the myth and highlight the following words from the reading. Match the words from the myth with their meanings by placing the letter of the word next to the meaning.

1 ___ the dense coat of fine silky hairs on such mammals as the cat, seal, and mink.

(a) lodge

(b) wonder

(c) fur

2___ possessing beauty; aesthetically pleasing.

(a) ashamed

(b) beautiful

(c) wonder

3___ a meeting place for a group of people.

(a) wonder

(b) lodge

(c) roll

4___ to move or cause to move along by turning over and over.

(a) Possum

(b) roll

(c)lodge

5___ having an inordinately high opinion of oneself; arrogant or haughty.

(a) proud

(b) ashamed

(c) Possum

 

6___ a toothed device of metal, plastic, wood, used for disentangling or arranging hair.

(a) scatter

(b) comb

(c) lodge

7___ something strange; a mixture of surprise and curiosity.

(a) Possum

(b) wonder

(c) proud

8___ to throw about in various directions; strew.

(a) scatter

(b) roll

(c)) wonder

9___ overcome with shame, guilt, or remorse.

(a) roll

(b) ashamed

(c) scatter

10___ an informal name for opossum.

(a) proud

(b) ashamed

(c) Possum

Exercise 2. Reading Comprehension- Recalling the Characters

Directions: Without rereading the myth, match the character to his phrases. Then check your answers in the reading.

Characters:

• Story Teller

• Possum

• Coyote

• Cricket

• Animal People

“Everyone shouted and Possum danced around and around.”____

“Look how it sweeps the ground! Ha! Ha! Ha!”____

“Possum, this string will keep all the hairs smooth until the dance.”____

“I will even send Cricket over to comb your tail out and dress it all up for the dance.”____

“When it came his turn to dance, he loosened the string and stepped out into the middle of the floor.”____

“See my beautiful tail!”____

“The people shouted more loudly than before and began laughing.”____

“See how fine the fur is!”____

“Possum was so astonished and ashamed that he didn’t say anything.”__

Exercise 3. Using Adjectives to Describe Emotions

Directions: The myth you’ve just read deals with the topic of feelings. Think about how different situations can affect the way you sometimes feel. The following sentences describe situations that can affect how you feel. Read a sentence and then either choose one of the words from the list below or supply your own word to describe how you would feel. You may use a word more than once.

Example:

If you slipped and fell, and everyone laughed, you would probably feel angry.

Situations:

1. You are coming out of the store with a bundle of shopping bags, and somebody bumped into you without saying, “Excuse me”.

2. You just found out you won 5,000 dollars!

3. Your lover brings you a beautiful flower, and it isn’t even your birthday.

4. It’s a beautiful sunny day and everyone you see smiles at you!

5. You have just heard that one of your relatives has had an accident.

6. Your best friend tells you she/he really desires your boyfriend/girlfriend.

7. You have just received the highest grade in your class!

Word List:

• proud

• love

• embarrassed

• worried

• excited

• happy

• angry

• jealous

The Cherokee People (Part II)

Note:  This additional material focuses more the Cherokee people themselves, and less on the historical events. For historical background information see the original Cherokee Part I.

Cherokee Culture Then…

1. The Cherokee depended primarily on hunting and farming for their survival. They hunted mainly deer, and the people used every part of the animal. Nothing went to waste. Some of their farming produce included beans, melons squash, pumpkin and corn. The men also fished to supplement their food supply. They made bows and arrows, nets, spears, blowguns and farming instruments. The women were responsible for maintaining the home, and farming.

2. Like many of the aboriginal people the Cherokee wore clothing made from animal skins before the Europeans introduced cloth to the Cherokee. Even into the 1800’s the men wore leggings made of deer hide in order to protect their legs from thorns and underbrush. The men wore tops called hunting shirts with their leggings. Women wore tops, skirts and sometimes thick blankets in winter. Both men and women wore moccasins on their feet.

3. The Cherokee made jewelry of shells, silver, and clay beads. They also made clay pots, baskets, masks and rattles, which were used in religious ceremonies.

4. They resided in villages with up to as many as 500 people in each. The homes in the winter were round in shape and made of wood covered with mud for insulation. Each house contained a hole in the top known as a smoke hole, the purpose of which was to allow smoke to escape from the fires within the homes. During the warmer weather, homes were cone shaped and made of bark. To keep out the heat and insects, they were covered with grass. They were fashioned to stay cool inside with plenty of light.

5. Traditionally the Cherokee were a matrilineal family organization, where the women had autonomy and authority in their homes. After marriage the man usually joined his wife’s household, and the offspring of the couple became members of their mother’s clan. Women also maintained their own property. Although Cherokee women might have participated somewhat in tribal affairs (some women even fought alongside the men in wars) they were not allowed to hold positions of power, such as those of chief or as council members. Neither were women allowed to become religious leaders.

6. The Cherokee political system in each village operated as follows. Each village had a red chief and a white chief. The function of the white chief was to rule during times of peace, while the red chief took over leadership during times of war. In this manner, the people were never without a leader in a time of crisis. Below the chiefs was the village council, whose function was to help make decisions for the tribe. The people as a whole believed in group cooperation as opposed to the needs of the individual.

7. For their religious functions, the Cherokee tribe had very special men known as Shaman or Medicine men, who were revered by the rest of the tribe. The medicine men served many important functions within the tribe. They presided over ceremonies including those centering around war, they took care of the sick, and created cures for many of the illnesses. Since the deer was the primary animal the Cherokee depended on for many of the necessities of life, one of the deities they worshiped was the Deer god. Like most aboriginal people, the Cherokee believed that everything (including inanimate objects) had a spirit. They especially believed in animal spirits.

Cherokee Culture Now…

1. Today the Cherokee still hunt, but only during specified times of the year and some people still grow their own produce. Now, however they buy most of their food at supermarkets and grocery stores. During ceremonies, especially for religious ones, Cherokee people will wear their traditional regalia. Most people usually buy their daily clothes from department stores.

2. Cherokees still practice the art of jewelry making, and the women are still known for their beautiful baskets, which they sell at festivals held on the reservation. Also, the people live in ordinary homes located on the reservation.

3. Within the family unit, men and women are considered equal to each other, although the matrilineal tradition is still observed. Women have jobs outside of their homes.

4. Politically, the Cherokee people made progress in 1987 when a Cherokee woman named Wilma Mankiller was the first female in modern history to win the position of Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. Initially, there were people who opposed her candidacy because they objected to being led by a woman. During her campaign there were many people who openly spoke against her. She even received several death threats!

5. Through hard work and dedication, Wilma eventually won the people over. Her programs provided improvement for the people in areas such as education, housing and employment. Through her leadership the tribe has gained autonomy within the Cherokee communities. Until her election, many females thought they could never attain the position of chief. Wilma Mankiller eventually retired due to illness. Today, women also work in the same fields as the men including industry, education, and business.

6. The religious practices of the tribe today vary, from clan to clan, and are too complex to write about in detail here. The Cherokee still have religious ceremonies in which the tribal members still dress in their regalia.

Exercise 1-Vocabulary Practice-Inference

Directions: The following sentences are from the reading selection you’ve just read. Try to infer  the meanings of the words in bold font.  The sentences can be found in the paragraphs indicated in parenthesis. Highlight any additional words that you may not be familiar with and try to guess their meanings as well. Check your answers with your group members, then refer to your dictionary or thesaurus to confirm your guesses.

Vocabulary from: Cherokee Culture Then…

1. The men also fished to supplement their food supply. (1)

2. The homes in the winter were round in shape and made of wood covered with mud for insulation. (4)

3. They were fashioned to stay cool inside with plenty of light. (4)

4. Traditionally the Cherokee were a matrilineal family organization, where the women had autonomy and authority in their homes. (5)

5. … the women had autonomy and authority in their homes. (5)

6. Below the chiefs was the village council, whose function was to help make decisions for the tribe. (6)

7. For their religious functions, the Cherokee tribe had very special men known as Shaman or Medicine men, who were revered by the rest of the tribe. (7)

8. They presided over ceremonies including those centering around war, they took care of the sick, and created cures for many of the illnesses. (7)

9. Since the deer was the primary animal the Cherokee depended on for many of the necessities of life, one of the deities they worshiped was the Deer god. (7)

10. Like most aboriginal people, the Cherokee believed that everything (including inanimate objects) had a spirit. They especially believed in animal spirits. (7)

Vocabulary from: Cherokee Culture Now…

1. During ceremonies, especially for religious ones, Cherokee people will wear their traditional regalia. (1)

2. Also, the people live in ordinary homes located on the reservation. (2)

3 …Cherokee woman named Wilma Mankiller was the first female in modern history to win the position of Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. (4)

4. Initially, there were people who opposed her candidacy because they objected to being led by a woman. (4)

5. Through hard work and dedication, Wilma eventually won the people over. (5)

6. Until her election, many females thought they could never attain the position of chief. (5)

7. The religious practices of the tribe today vary, from clan to clan, and are too complex to write about in detail here. (6)

Exercise 2 Questions for Comprehension and Discussion

1. What are some differences between the Cherokee culture of the past with the culture of today?

2. What are some of the similarities?

3. Discuss a situation in which group cooperation might have been beneficial for the Cherokee in their past. Has group cooperation benefited the tribe today? In what way?

Exercise 3 Questions for Reflection and Discussion- (Culture Now)

1. Why do you think the Cherokees were and still are a matrilineal people?

2. List what you think might have been some of the duties of the White Chief (paragraph 6). List some responsibilities of the Red Chief.

3. Provide some reasons for the initial negative response to Wilma Mankiller’s candidacy for tribal chief.

Exercise 4. Research Activities

Directions: Choose one of the following questions and present the results of your research.

• List and describe some of the current Cherokee ceremonies?

• Before Wilma Mankiller became chief, what was her life like as a young girl?

• Have there been other female chiefs leading the Cherokee tribe since Wilma Mankiller?

Exercise 5 Writing Activities

Directions: Choose one of the following and write about the topic:

• What are your thoughts about females running for political positions?

• Write an essay in which you compare Wilma Mankiller’s situation to that of other females who have run for office in other countries.

Sources:

• Cherokee History (Lee Sultzman)

• Cherokee History Resources on the Web

• Wilma Mankiller  (Biography)

• Wilma Mankiller: Rebuilding The Cherokee Nation,-Sweet Briar College-1993

Amazon: Red men of fire; A history of the Cherokee Indians

Eastern Band: Cherokee North Carolina

Western Band: Cherokee Oklahoma

Southern Band: Cherokee Georgia

Teachers’ Guide and Answer Key

Note To Teachers:

The goal of this material is to raise students’ awareness of the American Indian people living in the United States today, and to encourage learners to view Native Indians as an integral part of American society. My hope is that students will see the native people of this country as workers, students, professionals, parents, and leaders of their communities.

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.

The Teachers’ guide offers suggestions for how to use this material.  Please feel free to email and let me know if there is anything more I can offer. Suggestions are welcome.

THE CHEROKEE Part  I

Pre-Reading Discussion Questions

Suggestions:

The first question draws on the students’ personal experiences and imagination. Place students in groups of 4-5, and while members are completing the first question, you can write the title and list of words on the board in preparation for the second question which is a task concerning prediction of the content of the reading.

Some possible questions to ask about the title: What is a trail? What are tears? Who could be crying? Why would anyone cry in this situation? Who were the English settlers? What connection could they have to the title?

Cherokee History

Exercise 1- Vocabulary Practice

ancestral: belonging to or inherited from an ancestor.

Linguists: a specialist in linguistics; person who speaks or studies more than one language.

agriculture: a large-scale farming enterprise.

evolved: undergo development or evolution.

smoke holes: a vent (as in a roof) for smoke to escape.

expeditions: an organized group of people undertaking a journey for a particular purpose.

fortified: to make strong or stronger.

devastating: physically or spiritually devastating.

ceded: give over; surrender or relinquish to the physical control of another.

flourish: grow stronger.

sovereign: of political bodies; an autonomous judiciary.

reputedly: according to general belief.

descendants: deriving or descending from an ancestor.

Exercise 2 Discussion Questions for Comprehension

The answers are taken directly from the reading, and the paragraphs for the answers are in parenthesis. For your learners with a lower reading level, you might want to give them the paragraph numbers to help them locate the answers.

1. Linguists have classified the Cherokee language as being a “distant cousin” of present-day Iroquoian, which suggests that “the Cherokee people gradually split off from the more northern Iroquois a long time ago.” (para. 1)

2. The early economy of the Cherokee inhabitants was based on agriculture supplemented with hunting and gathering of natural foods. They also made baskets, pottery, tools, and weapons for trading with other tribes. (para. 2)

3. Houses evolved from early woven branches and mud to substantial log cabins with smoke holes and doors. (para. 2)

4. No, originally DeSoto was searching for gold. (para. 3)

5. Although other Spanish expeditions entered Cherokee territory over the following years, contact between the Cherokee and the Spanish was minimized because much of the Cherokee territory lay in the Appalachian

Mountains. (para. 3)

6. The Cherokees were pressured to move west when gold was discovered on Cherokee lands in North Georgia in 1828.

Exercise 3- Questions for Reflection and Discussion

Possible Responses:

1-Reasons for inter-tribal wars:

Greed: Indians wanted more land to hunt;

Racial or cultural conflict: tribes looked different and dressed differently from each other, and sometimes observed different traditions, which might have caused suspicion between the groups.

Personal conflicts might stir up battles.

2-They all wanted the land from the Indians.

3. The Cherokees mistakenly thought that if they helped the British get rid of the Americans; the Indians would get their lands back.

4-The Americans felt that if the children learned English and forgot their native language, the Cherokee children would grow into the American culture and forget their original culture, which many of them did.

Exercise 4 Research Activities-(students’ choice)

(New additions to list)

• President Andrew Jackson

• Hernando De Soto

• The American Revolutionary War

Exercise 5-Writing Activities- (students’ choice)

THE CHEROKEE  Part II

Reading: Cherokee Culture Then and Now

Exercise 1-Vocabulary Practice

Cherokee Culture Then…

supplement: add to what seems insufficient.(1)

insulation: a material that reduces or prevents the transmission of heat. (4)

fashioned: make out of components; often in an improvising manner. (4)

matrilineal: based on or tracing descent through the female line. (5)

autonomy: personal independence.(5)

council: a body serving in an administrative capacity.(6)

revered: regard with feelings of respect and reverence; consider hallowed. (7)

presided: to occupy the place of authority or control, as in an assembly or meeting.(7)

deities: a person or thing revered as a god or goddess. (7)

aboriginal: being or composed of people inhabiting a region from the beginning. (7)

Cherokee Culture Now…

1. regalia (n.) the decorations, insignia, or ceremonial clothes of any group, or office. (1)

2. ordinary (adj.)the expected or commonplace condition or situation

3. Principal Chief (n.) the main or primary leader.

4. initially (adv.) at the beginning

5. dedication (n.) the act of binding yourself (intellectually or emotionally) to a course of action

6. attain (v.) to gain with effort

7. clan (n.) group of people related by blood or marriage

Exercise 2- Questions For Comprehension and Discussion

1. What are some differences between the Cherokee culture of the past with the culture of today?

Suggestions: For this group exercise, students could create a chart like this one.

Then…

Now…

Food

hunted; used open fire

supermarkets; modern appliances

Clothing

buy clothes from stores

Tools

made by hand

buy from store

Homes

made by hand

already built

Travel

horses; arduous trip

cars; public transportation; better roads

Job Equality for Woment

none

equal jobs; first female chief elected

2. What are some of the similarities?

Suggestions: For this group exercise, students could create a Venn diagram like this one.

Venn diagram

Venn diagram example

Some Similarities:

Matrilineal organization still in existence.

Religious traditions and ceremonies still observed.

Basket and jewelry making still flourish.

Many traditional dishes still cooked.

Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venn_diagram

3. If the Cherokees had banned together before they signed the treaty, which triggered the Indian Removal Act, they may not have been removed from their lands. Today they are working together and thriving as a group to maintain their language and culture.

Exercise 4- Questions for Reflection and Discussion

Possible Responses:

The Cherokees viewed the earth as female, and at times referred to it as Earth Mother, or Mother Earth, so this could be a link to women;

The White Chief: took care of the everyday disputes, and occurrences-

The Red Chief: kept the military men organized and in good physical shape; kept the weapons in good working condition; dispatched search parties to continuously check for enemies.

Traditionally, the Cherokee always had designated male chiefs, so some were opposed to a female; some women also opposed Mankiller. It went against tradition.

CHEROKEE MYTH: Possum Loses His Hair

Exercise 11- Vocabulary Practice

1-c 2-b- 3-b- 4-b- 5-a- 6-b- 7-b 8-a- 9-b- 10-c

Exercise 12-Reading-Can You Recall the Characters?

1-a 2-e 3-d 4-c 5-a 6-b 7-a 8-b 9-a

Exercise 13- Using Adjectives to Describe Emotions

Student’s choice.

Note: Teachers will find free and Complete Lesson Plans with Answer Keys on the following U.S. tribes: Apache, Blackfeet, Cherokee, Choctaw, Crow, Iroquois, Kwakiutl, Mohawk (read about the fascinating “Sky Walkers”)  Navajo, Shawnee, Sioux, and Zuni.

We also offer our unique and informative Tribalpediawhich offers concise historical and current material about many Native tribes.  Included are Discussion Questions for students. Visit some previous posts from Talking Feather!

 

Talking Feather-Extended Blackfoot Lesson Plan

February 18th, 2013  |  Published in Education  | 

O’siyo. This week for Teachers and students we’ll focus on the Blackfoot Nation. This is an Integrated skills lesson intended for L2 learners at the intermediate to advanced level of English. However, teachers can modify the material as needed for their level of learners. The construction of the exercises makes the reading material more of a communicative activity, and helps students to better understand the content.

Note: All Lesson Plans on this site are the Original Work and Property of Amerindian7. The material is for Educational use with proper acknowledgement. Please be certain to read Talking Feather’s Terms of Use Policy. All additional reference material and photo sources are identified.

“What is life?” It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the winter time. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself on the sunset.” ~Crowfoot~ Blackfoot Chief -Excerpt from: Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes By Carl Waldman

Noted Members of the Blackfeet Nation

NCAI President Tex Hall, left, Elouise Cobell (November 5, 1945 – October 16, 2011) of the Blackfeet Tribe of Montana and Jimmy Goddard from the same tribe appear on Capitol Hill.Terry Ashe : AP

“Elouise Cobell,  (November 5, 1945 – October 16, 2011).  A member of the Blackfeet Nation, led a 15-year legal fight to force the U.S. government to account for more than a century of mismanaged Indian land royalties.  Sadly, She died of complications from cancer in 2011.”

Donald Pepion, a member of the Blackfeet Nation and Professor at NMU, participated Diamond Jubilee, an equestrian- themed event honoring the 60-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II of England. By A. Murphy Las Cruces Sun-News

Leon Rattler, a member of the Blackfeet Tribe, speaks about art and the healing process during the “Journey to Wellness- A Spiritual Endeavor” conference. (James Woodcock:Billings Gazette)

“Tribes are losing their languages and traditions as their elders die. That’s doubly sad because those same traditions can be used to confront today’s challenges, tribal leaders said at a meeting on spirituality and wellness this week of the Montana-Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council.”

Chief Crowfoot, c. 1924. Painting by James Henderson, Collection of the Art Gallery of Alberta.

“Crowfoot (Isapo-Muxika) was the most famous principal Chief and spokesperson for the Blackfoot Confederacy in the latter part of the 19th century. Although he had lost most of his children to diseases spread to the Blackfeet by non-Indians, he strived to prevent further bloodshed and was instrumental in having his people sign the treaty with Canada in 1877.”- Excerpt: Crowfoot – Blackfoot Chief, from Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes By Carl Waldman.

Books of Interest about the Blackfeet Nation

Note: The following texts can be purchased at Amazon.com

Blackfoot Indian Culture Blackfoot History and Culture (Native American Library) By H. Dwyer and M. Stout.

 

Blackfoot Ways of Knowing: The Worldview of the Siksikaitsitapi by Betty Bastien, Duane Mistaken Chief and Jurgen W. Kremer.

 

Blackfeet: Artists of the Northern Plains : The Scriver Collection of Blackfeet Indian Artifacts…By Bob Scriver

 

Crowfoot-Chief of the Blackfeet By Hugh Dempsey.

Blackfoot Lesson Plan (with Answer Key)

“The white man’s police have protected us only as well as the feathers of a bird protect it from the frosts of winter.”–Crowfoot – Blackfoot Chief

Pre-Reading Tasks for Discussion

1. In your own words, explain the meaning of the statement from Chief Crowfoot.

2. After reading the history of the Blackfoot Indians, read Chief Crowfoot’s statement again, and decide if this was a truthful statement or not. Provide examples from the history reading to support your point.

The Blackfoot: A Concise History

1. The Blackfoot Indians, originally known as Niitsitapi, were erroneously referred to as Blackfoot. Although the tribe resides in the Great Plains of Montana and Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, anthropologists believe that they originated from the upper region of North America, and progressively made their way over to the Plains, where they became adapted to the land. The name Blackfoot is said to have come from the color of the moccasins they wore. The color is said to have come from dying the bottoms black. There is also the guess that they traveled through the ashes from prairie fires which turned their moccasins black.

2. The Indians relied heavily on the buffalo for food. Buffalo meat lasted a long time and could be dried and stored for the winter. This was important to the Blackfoot because the winters were long and harsh on the Plains. The buffalo also provided skins for clothing, such as robes and moccasins. The skin was also used as teepee coverings, which kept their shelters warm during the cold winter months. The soap that the Blackfoot used was made from buffalo fat.

3. The first known encounter with whites occurred in 1806, during the Lewis and Clark expedition. As the famous explorers traveled through the Missouri River area, they were confronted by Blackfoot warriors. It is reported that the Blackfoot attempted to steal guns from Lewis’ men because they (the Blackfoot) knew the U.S. government traded guns with the Shoshone and the Nez Perce, tribes who were enemies of the Blackfoot. During the struggle, two warriors were killed. No more was written about this occurrence. For the next ten years the Blackfeet traded with British traders in Canada. They traded animal skins for guns and bullets.

4. The constant contact with European people caused an outbreak of disease among the Blackfoot, mostly cholera and smallpox. The following is a case in point:

“…In one instance in 1837, American Fur Company steamboat, the St. Peter’s, was headed to Fort Union and contracted smallpox on the way. They continued to send a smaller vessel with supplies farther up the river to posts among the [Niitsitapi [Backfoot]. The Niitsitapi contracted the disease and eventually 6000 died, marking an end to their dominant reign over the Plains. Had Hudson’s Bay Company employed English Doctor Edward Jenner’s forty one year old technique of injecting cowpox to make people immune to smallpox, they could have prevented the epidemic they created…”

5. During the mid 1800s, in addition to the smallpox outbreak, the Blackfoot found that their food supply was running out. This was because white hunters were hunting the buffalo (the main food source for the tribe) until the animals were completely gone. In 1855, Blackfoot leader Chief Lame Bull made a peace treaty with the U.S. government. The Lame Bull Treaty promised the Blackfoot twenty thousand dollars in goods and services in exchange for their moving to a reservation. It was a dismal time for the Blackfoot. The following is a description of that period:

“…In 1860, very few buffalo were left, and they became completely dependent on the supplies from the treaty, which were spoiled most the time because it took so long for them to receive it. Hungry and desperate Blackfoot raided white settlements for food and supplies and causing a stir with the United States Army. In January of 1870, the army had attacked, out of revenge, a peaceful Niitsitapi village of 219 people, and when they got through, only 46 remained. Finally, the winter of 1883-1884 became known as “Starvation Winter” because no government supplies came in, there was no buffalo, and 600 more Niitsitapi died of hunger…”

6. The U.S. government passed laws that produced negative effects on the Blackfoot. Laws such as changing the reservation border, which provided the Indians with less land, that they were never compensated for, and caused groups of the tribe to move to Canada. Only one group remained on the reservation in Montana. In 1898, the government dismantled tribal governments and outlawed the practice of traditional religions. Blackfoot children were forced to leave their parents and attend boarding schools, where they were forbidden to speak their native language. The children were also forced to wear non-Indian clothing as a means of assimilating them into the white American society.

7. In 1934 the Indian Reservation Act supported the rights of tribes. The act allowed tribes to choose their own government, and to openly practice their cultural traditions. In 1935 the Blackfoot Nation of Montana began their Tribal business Council and their own Constitution, under their own government.

8. Today many Blackfoot live on reserves in Canada, and on the Montana reservation. The Blackfoot sold a large portion of their land to the U.S. thinking there was gold or copper mines, but there was no evidence of either. The land they sold became officially known as Glacier National Park. This is a high rate of unemployment on the Blackfoot Reservation. The main source of income is farming, but there aren’t enough jobs. Many Indians leave the reservation to seek work in other towns and cities. There are Blackfoot owned businesses such as the Blackfoot Writing company, and a group that makes clothing and moccasins. In 1974, they opened the Blackfoot Community College in Browning, Montana. As of 1979, the Montana state government requires all public school teachers to have background in American Indian studies.

Exercise 1 Vocabulary Practice

Directions: The vocabulary words in bold font are from the reading selection you’ve just finished. Find and highlight each of the following words in the paragraphs indicated in parenthesis, then 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.

1. The Blackfoot Indians, originally known as Niitsitapi, were erroneously referred to as Blackfoot. (1)

2. anthropologists believe that they originated from the upper region of North America (1)

3. …made their way over to the Plains, where they became adapted to the land… (1)

4. The name Blackfoot is said to have come from the color of the moccasins they wore.(1)

5. The Indians relied heavily on the buffalo for food. (2)

6. The first known encounter with whites occurred in 1806, during the Lewis and Clark expedition (3)

7. …they were confronted by Blackfoot warriors. (3)

8. …an outbreak of disease among the Blackfoot, mostly cholera (4)

9. …and smallpox.(4)

10. Doctor Edward Jenner’s forty one year old technique of injecting cowpox to make people immune to smallpox, they could have prevented the epidemic they created… (4)

11. Chief Lame Bull made a peace treaty with the U.S. government. (5)

12. the government dismantled tribal governments and outlawed the practice of traditional religions 6)

13. The children were also forced to wear non-Indian clothing as a means of assimilating them into the white American society. (6)

14. This is a high rate of unemployment on the Blackfoot Reservation.(8

Exercise 2 Discussion Questions for Comprehension

1. Where did the Blackfoot originate from?

2. Name three things that the Indians used the buffalo for?

3. Were the explorers Lewis and Clark looking for the Blackfoot Indians?

4. Why did the Blackfoot warriors attempt to take guns away from the men in the expedition?

5. Why didn’t the men from the Hudson Bay Company give the medicine to the Blackfoot?

6. Describe what occurred during the period known as Starvation Winter.

7. Explain why the Blackfoot children taken away from their families. Why weren’t the adults taken?

8. Provide reasons for the high unemployment rate on the Blackfoot Reservation today.

Exercise 3 Research Activities

Directions: Choose a person or an event from the following list for research and prepare a presentation for class or for group discussion.

Lewis and Clark

Edward Jenner

Chief Lame Bull

The Lame Bull Treaty

Exercise 4 Writing Activities

Write an essay in which you express your opinion about the events leading up to the period known as the Starvation Winter.

Write an essay in which you discuss the small pox epidemic and the effect it had on the Blackfoot and other tribes.

Sources:

• Wikipedia

 The Blackfeet Nation

Blackfoot MythThe Berries in the Stream

One day Coyote was walking along and he was very hungry. He came to the edge of a stream and there in the water he saw some bright red berries. He dived into the water, right to the bottom of the stream, but could find no berries.
As soon as he got up on the bank he waited for the water to clear. There were the berries again, right where he’d seen them the first time. He dived in again. He searched the bottom very carefully with his hands but still couldn’t find any berries! Now Coyote was angry.
Another time he tried, but no luck. Finally he thought he had a way to get them. He tied rocks to his legs to make himself heavy so he would stay down longer. He jumped in and searched over the whole bottom but still could find no berries.
He almost drowned before he could pull himself out on the bank where he fell down exhausted. Right there above him he saw the berries! They had only been reflections in the water! Coyote got very angry. He picked up a stick and began to beat the berry bush.

Vocabulary Practice

Directions: Read the sentences below, then choose the correct meaning for the words in bold taken from the story you have just read.

The coyote howled, then licked his paws.
1. A coyote is:___

a. the name of a person.
b. an animal resembling a dog.
c. an animal similar to an elephant.

2. He came to the stream and there in the water, swam the fish.  A stream is a:

a. small body of water.
b. large fish tank.
c. type of park.

3. He dived into the water and hit the bottom of the pool.  To dive means:

a. jump into something (like water)
b. swim
c. go fishing.

4. After swimming, the man rested on the grassy bank.  A bank is a:

a. place to keep money.
b. bed.
c. the edge of a stream or river

5. The woman lost her gloves, so she searched the room for them. To search is to:

a. wear
b. buy
c. look for

6. After running 20 miles, the girl fell down on the ground exhausted. exhausted means:

a. thirsty
b. very tired
c. full of energy

7. She looked into the mirror, and saw her own reflection. A reflection is:

a. an image of one’s self.
b. a new hairstyle
c. a thought about something

Understanding Content (True/False)

Directions: Based on the story you’ve just read, write either true or false in the spaces next to each sentence below.
1. ___Coyote wanted the berries.
2. ___Coyote tried to get apples.
3. ___Coyote dived into the stream to get the berries.
4. ___Coyote finally found the berries at the end of the story.
5. ___Coyote wanted the berries because he was hungry.
6. ___After Coyote became exhausted from diving he went home.
7. ___Once Coyote got the berries, he was very happy.

Photo Game

Place students in groups, and have them view each photo at a time. Have them think of questions they’d like to ask the person. They could also collaborate on  a story about each person in the photos.

Blackfoot Mother and child. Edu/Skywise/legends.

Blackfoot Indian Chief Big Spring. Indian Pictures.

 Elouise Cobell-  Photo credit- Diego M. Radzinschi-Site- Future-ish.com

A Blackfoot Indian on his horse.

Teachers’ Guide & Answer Key

Note To Teachers:
The goal of this material is to raise students’ awareness of the American Indian people living in the United States today, and to encourage learners to view Native Indians as an integral part of American society. My hope is that students will see the native people of this country as workers, students, professionals, parents, and leaders of their communities.
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.

Answer Key

Reading Tasks for Discussion

1. Students’ choice
2. Students’ choice

The Blackfoot: A Concise History

Exercise 1 Vocabulary Practice

1. erroneously -adverb-wrong; incorrect-

2. anthropologists- noun-a person who studies human societies and cultures and their development.

3. adapted -adapt verb adjust to a different situation or condition

4. moccasins- noun sandal, shoe

5. buffalo noun- an animal related to the cow, only bigger.

6. expedition- noun journey; people on a journey

7. confronted- confront verb challenge

8. cholera- noun an acute, infectious disease, endemic in India and China and occasionally epidemic elsewhere, characterized by profuse

9. smallpox -noun Pathology.an acute, highly contagious, febrile disease, caused by the variola virus, and characterized by a pustular eruption that often leaves permanent pits or scars: eradicated worldwide by vaccination programs.

10. epidemic -Also, ep·i·dem·i·cal. (of a disease) affecting many persons at the same time, and spreading from person to person in a locality where the disease is not permanently prevalent.

11. treaty -noun, plural -ties.a formal agreement between two or more states in reference to peace, alliance, commerce, or other international relations.

12. dismantled- verb- to deprive or strip of apparatus, furniture, equipment, defenses, etc.: to dismantle a ship; to dismantle a fortress.

13. assimilating- as·sim·i·late to bring into conformity with the customs, attitudes, etc., of a group, nation, or the like; adapt or adjust:

14. unemployment-nounthe state of being unemployed, especially involuntarily:without a job.

Exercise 2 Discussion Questions for Comprehension

1. Where did the Blackfoot originate from?

anthropologists believe that they originated from the upper region of North America, and progressively made their way over to the Plains, where they became adapted to the land.

2. Name three things that the Indians used the buffalo for?

Food and clothing.

3. Were the explorers Lewis and Clark looking for the Blackfoot Indians?

No, As the famous explorers traveled through the Missouri River area, they were confronted by Blackfoot warriors.

4. Why did the Blackfoot warriors attempt to take guns away from the men in the expedition?

It’s reported that the Blackfoot attempted to steal guns from Lewis’ men because they (the Blackfoot) knew the U.S. government traded guns with the Shoshone and the Nez Perce, tribes who were enemies of the Blackfoot.

5. Why didn’t the men from the Hudson Bay Company give the medicine to the Blackfoot?

In 1837, American Fur Company steamboat, the St. Peter’s, was headed to Fort Union and contracted smallpox on the way. They continued to send a smaller vessel with supplies farther up the river to posts among the [Niitsitapi [Backfoot]. The Niitsitapi contracted the disease and eventually 6000 died, marking an end to their dominant reign over the Plains. Had Hudson’s Bay Company employed English Doctor Edward Jenner’s forty one year old technique of injecting cowpox to make people immune to smallpox, they could have prevented the epidemic they created…

6. Describe what occurred during the period known as Starvation Winter.

In 1860, very few buffalo were left, and they became completely dependent on the supplies from the treaty, which were spoiled most the time because it took so long for them to receive it. Hungry and desperate Blackfoot raided white settlements for food and supplies and causing a stir with the United States Army. Finally, the winter of 1883-1884 became known as “Starvation Winter” because no government supplies came in, there was no buffalo, and 600 more Niitsitapi died of hunger…

7. Explain why the Blackfoot children taken away from their families. Why weren’t the adults taken?

Blackfoot children were forced to leave their parents and attend boarding schools, where they were forbidden to speak their native language. The children were also forced to wear non-Indian clothing as a means of assimilating them into the white American society.The children were young and could taught to assimilate easier than the adults.

8. Provide reasons for the high unemployment rate on the Blackfoot Reservation today.

The Blackfoot sold a large portion of their land to the U.S. thinking there was gold or copper mines, but there was no evidence of either. This is a high rate of unemployment on the Blackfoot Reservation. The main source of income is farming, but there aren’t enough jobs.

Exercise 3 Research Activities

student’ choice
Exercise 4 Writing Activities

Students’ choice

Blackfoot Myth:Vocabulary Practice

1. b 2. a 3. a 4. c 5. c 6.b 7.a

Understanding Content (True/False)
1. T 2. F 3. T 4. T 5. T 6.T 7.F

Teachers will find free and Complete Lesson Plans with Answer Keys on the following U.S. tribes: Apache, Blackfeet, Cherokee, Choctaw, Crow, Iroquois, Kwakiutl, Mohawk (read about the fascinating “Sky Walkers”)  Navajo, Shawnee, Sioux, and Zuni.

We also offer our unique and informative Tribalpediawhich offers concise historical and current material about many Native tribes.  Included are Discussion Questions for students. Visit some of the posts from Talking Feather!

 

Tags:

2013 Presidential Inauguration Parade Information

January 18th, 2013  |  Published in Education, History  | 

O’siyo. The Presidential Inauguration will take place in Washington DC, on Monday January 21, 2013. Barack Obama will be sworn in for his second term as President of The United States. The Navajo Nation Band from Tohatchi Middle School will  have the honor of participating in the Presidential Inaugural Parade  on January 21, in Washington D.C. They were selected by the Presidential Inaugural Committee to perform.

Flute player Roqui Jones and others of the Navajo Nation Band practice Saturday morning in Tohatchi. Photo-Donovan Quintero

Excerpt: Navajo Nation Band to march in inaugural parade-By Noel Lyn Smith, Navajo Times

“The sound of the march “Old Comrades” echoed through the hallway of the Tohatchi Middle School as the Navajo Nation Band practiced inside the gymnasium.

The band was practicing for a good reason: They will be performing in the 57th Inaugural Parade for President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on Jan. 21 in Washington, D.C.  Director Darwyn Jackson said the inaugural committee saw the band perform last year at the Red Earth Festival in Oklahoma, the America’s Freedom Festival in Utah, and the Sun Bowl Parade in Texas…

Section leader with the Navajo Nation Band Roqui Jones.

The last time the Navajo Nation Band marched in an inaugural parade was in 1973 for President Richard Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew. For this parade, band members will be dressed in dark blue velour shirts, white pants and, depending on the weather, moccasins or black shoes. They will also accent their attire with turquoise and silver jewelry.

Laura Begay of Shiprock is the drum major and has been a baton twirler for more than 30 years with the band…”I think this is an honor to march in this parade,” Begay said. Her daughter, Brydon Benally, is also a baton twirler in the band. Like her mom, the nine-year-old is excited about traveling to the nation’s capital…

The Wonderful Navajo Marching Band at the 2013 Inauguration Parade. ICTNM (PhotoCourtesy Freddy Platero)

Siblings Virgil Davis, 54, of Window Rock, and Brenda Anderson, 55, of St. Michaels, Ariz., have been members for more than 25 years and joined after playing in the Window Rock High band. For Davis, playing in the inaugural parade is another outlet for the public to learn

President Obama, First Lady Michelle and daughters enjoy the  Inaugural Parade

about the band and to teach young people music appreciation.”

Congratulations to the Navajo Nation band members and students at the Tohatchi Middle School!  We’ll be watching for you.

Related:  Visit The Navajo Nation Band 

“In our culture, we have such respect for musical instruments; they are like part of God.” ~ Indian musician Ravi Shankar~ (April 7,1920 – December 11, 2012)

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Navajo Nation Shows Powerful Support for “Idle No More Movement”

January 11th, 2013  |  Published in Education  | 

O’siyo. By now many of you have heard of the solidarity movement “Idle No More”  inspired by the hunger strike of Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence.  Chief Spence’s actions were the result of alleged abuses of indigenous treaty rights by the current Canadian federal government, led by  Prime Minister Stephen Harper. In short,  numerous bills which affect Native life in Canada have been ignored or have failed to pass. Natives feel that traditional methods of negotiating with the federal government have become meaningless, hence this new grass roots approach. What  has been inspiring is the support shown by  various  non-Native and Native communities  from different countries, especially in the United States. Being the largest and one of the most influential U.S. tribes, the Navajo Nation came out in strong support  for the “Idle No More” movement.

Dine Nation Photo- Occupy NewMexico

Excerpt: ‘Idle No More’ reaches Navajo Nation By Alastair Lee Bitsoi, Navajo Times

“It’s safe to say the Idle No More movement has reached the Navajo Nation and environs. Since its national day of action on Dec. 10, the movement galvanized by a 30-day hunger strike by AttawapiskatChief Theresa Spence has inspired protests, flash mobs and other actions.

Last Saturday afternoon at the Gallup Flea Market, “mobsters” under the environmental umbrella organization Nxt Indigenous Generation organized the latest Idle No More round dance in the area in an effort to draw attention to the issues of First Nations in Canada, tribes in the U.S. and indigenous people around the world.

Photo- Occupy RiverWest

Nxt Indigenous Generation, led by Mercury Bitsuie and Nae Yellowhorse, gathered on Saturday to honor Spence and their First Nations relatives, who are under threat by an omnibus bill, called Bill C-45, in Canada’s Parliament that would impact indigenous sovereignty and exploit land and water resources under protection.

Idle No More, founded on Nov. 10 by four indigenous women in West Saskatoon in Saskatchewan, is the biggest grassroots social movement in North America since Occupy, and has reached people as far away as New Zealand.  On the Navajo Nation and a 1,000 Family Hozho Walk/Prayer for Unity, Peace and Change scheduled from April 19-21… In honor of Spence and Idle No More, Bitsuie, of Sanders, Ariz., made an offering of cedar.

 

To make the offering, he first placed abalone shell on the ground in the center of the round dance, filled the shell with cedar and lit it, and used his eagle feather to motion the scent of the cedar and energy of the protest into the universe.   It’s to support our relatives in Canada, Chief  Theresa Spence and her fasting…. In response to the movement, Harper announced he would meet with Spence and other First Nations leaders on Friday to talk about sovereignty, water and land.”

“We don’t want no more exploitation of our lands and people…We want to tell our people we’re one people.” ~ Norman P. Brown, founder of Dine Bidziil and sponsor of the Hozho walk.~

Kudos to all who supported the movement!

 

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