Who Walked This Land? (8.1)


Native American Culture Curriculum Unit 8.1

Task Author: Bob Valiant
Task Title: Who Walked This Land?
Grade Level: 6-8 Activity # 8.1

Geography Grade 8 benchmark

Brief Overview of Task: Students are asked to identify the tribe most likely to have inhabited the area where the school is located. Once identified, the class is divided into groups to research the culture of the tribe. A display of artifacts, photos, and drawings is prepared to share with a wider audience.
Targeted Benchmark: Identify economic, cultural, and environmental factors that affect population and predict how the population would change as a result. Identify and give examples of economic, cultural, and environmental factors that influence population.


Recommended Prerequisite Student Knowledge and Skills:
Research skills using the Internet and the library.
Knowledge of the local area
Writing and speaking skills

Materials Needed:
Materials Generally Available:
Art paper, markers, crayons, glue, etc.
White butcher paper

Special Items: (Teacher must provide)
Supplies for artifact production

Citation and Helpful Resources: (i.e. books, web sites, etc.)
Internet: http://www.ncesd.k12.or.us/native/native.htm
Art: Native American petroglyphs and pictographs; Electronic Field Trip
Museums: High Desert Museum
Research: Researching American Indians
Technology: Whitman Museum Teacher’s Guide; Native Tech; Flintknapping
Tribal Information: Cayuse Indians; Warm Springs Community; Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation; Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians; John Day Fossil Beds; Oregon Tribes
History: American Indians of the Pacific Northwest; Warm Springs Public Information; Lewis and Clark
Plants/Food: Plants, USDA; Herbaceous and Invasive Plants; Nutritive Value of Native Foods; Native Tech; Culturally significant foods

Recommended Classroom Time: (in hours)
5-8 hours

Detailed Description of Task for Teachers:
1. Students work in small groups on the Internet to identify the tribe most likely to have inhabited the region where the school is located. Some schools might be in overlap areas of two or more tribes, so the teacher must make a decision to either pick one or to have the class research each of the likely tribes.
2. Students are divided into small groups based on interest (or teacher assignment) to research the following for the selected tribe(s):
Food collection and preparation
Hunting, fishing, weapons
3. Each small group creates a display of artifacts (real or simulated), photos, drawings, and written narrative for their research topic.
4. The class invites another grade, parents, etc. to a presentation on the results of the research.
5. Students write a paper describing how culture is affected by environment.

Additional Contexts and /or Possible Extensions of Task:
1. Visit one of the area museums featuring Native American culture (High Desert, Warm Springs, Umatilla).
2. Interview tribal elders from the tribe selected. Perhaps a community display of tribal artifacts can be arranged.
3. Learn to make baskets, lodging, an item of clothing, root digging stick, obsidian or other rock tools, etc.


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