Native American Unit Study - Lesson 1: Tribes and Regions

Lesson 1: We labeled regions of a map of the United States showing where various Indian tribes lived before Europeans began settling North America.

Native American History tells a rather sad story. Amazingly, very similar events have taken place many times throughout the history of humanity. Unfortunately, when one nation wants something which another has sometimes the thought that all people are human is abandoned in favor of individual needs and desires. These difficult stories are important to understand as they can help us to prevent repeating the pattern yet again.

The video linked below, Native America Before Colonization, is a two part series. The first segment compares the ways Europeans lived to the ways in which the Native Americans lived. The second part details how contact between Europeans and Americans changed the lives of both peoples. Pigs, corn, wood, disease, horses and potatoes are only a few items which brought significant changes for the people. The video describes each one and the lifestyles of both cultures. It's an excellent overview for those beginning a middle or high-school level American History study.

Native America Before Colonization

America's Great Indian Nations, the next documentary linked below, describes the unique features of several Native American Tribes. Did you know the Iroquois were actually a peaceful confederation of several nations in New York? The Seminole tribe was a nation of people from varying backgrounds; runaway slaves, Native American refugees from the north and others banned together.

Over the period of a few hundred years, most of the Native American tribes were reduced in population and confined to live on reservations. After highlighting the tribe the video explains how each was changed forever with colonization. Yes - there are many sad stories! Without going into too many details this video provides an overview of significant tribes, their territories and leaders. It's another video good for middle or high schoolers beginning American History studies.

America's Great Indian Nations

After watching the videos with my older daughter, all three of the kids and I read North American Indians (Pictureback(R)). While reading the book we wrote the names of some Indian tribes on the United States map showing where they used to live. Although they are all known as Native Americans, they were very different from each other. Each group had their own traditions, gods, and way of living. Clothing styles were different among tribes, as were diet and housing style. Many of the differences were due to the resources available where each tribe lived. For example, tribes on the plains ate buffalo and used all parts of the buffalo in their clothing and way of life. Where as tribes in the North West were dependent on salmon. This book provides an introduction to the differences which is very important. The Native people of America were people. They had their own, different ways of life, and few are around today who still follow their tribal traditions.

Over the coming weeks I will detail our family's Native American Unit study including read books and completed projects.

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