Native American Unit Study - Lesson 4: Eastern Tribes

My daughter made a beaded necklace, a potato stamped basket.

The eastern Native Americans lived in the woods and were both hunters and farmers. Pumpkin, corn and other traditional Thanks Giving foods were enjoyed. Wampum, beaded belts and bracelets made from shells was the currency of the Algonquin.

Long before Europeans began settling in North America, in the region of Central New York five Iroquois tribes joined together to form a League of Nations. Once unified, the fighting among the tribes stopped and together they were able to obtain land further east in the Ohio region.

After reading about peace pipes, hominy, mudhead masks, baked squash, turtle shell rattles, corncob dolls and more in More Than Moccasins: A Kid's Activity Guide to Traditional North American Indian Life (Hands-On History) by Laurie Carlson, my daughter decided to create a beaded necklace and a potato stamped woven basket.

Potato Stamped Basket

 First my daughter wove a paper basket following the technique detailed in this post.

 Next, a potato was cut in half.

 The potato was carved to make a stamp.

 The stamp was dipped in paint and pressed against the basket.

 The design resembled a leaf.

Beaded Necklace

When Native Americans were exposed to European goods they readily adapted new materials. Clothing and decoration were done following traditional methods but modified to incorporate the new materials. Therefore, when my daughter wanted to create a necklace from cut-up pieces of straw, an old spool of thread and bells, I thought it was a fantastic idea.

Please visit the Highhill Education History Page to see more posts in our Native American Unit Study series.

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