Sunday, March 29, 2009

Native American Week

We finished our study of ancient native Americans this week. We moved from the Northwest Coast to California/Great Basin to Plains to Northeast/Woodlands and finally the Southeast. There were LOTS of books involved, but I'll only name a few of our favorites. Many of the books were creation tales or other legends. Some of the craft ideas came from this book.
When we learned about the native Americans of the northwest coast, we decided to have a potlatch. That involved giving gifts. So the kids worked on their presents throughout the week, and we had our potlatch feast Saturday evening.
Here, Larkin is carving a salmon totem to give to Jeremiah. He's looking at a book about totem poles for ideas.

This bead loom was a Christmas present to Miah this past year. She was really excited about it but had a hard time using it. We put it away for a couple months. Then I pulled it out for her to try again this week. It was a success! I was amazed at how much easier it was for her after only a short time. She really enjoyed making a bracelet as her potlatch gift.

Burden baskets from the Great Basin region.

Shields from the Southwest region. The kids used a book called Indian Designs for inspiration.

Paul Goble has some beautifully illustrated children's books about the Plains tribes. One of my favorites was Tipi - page after page of brightly painted tipi designs. We used it to make these:

Another book we enjoyed was Talking Hands. The kids liked learning a few indian signs from that one.

Miah grinding corn (clods of dirt) and filling a conch shell with the meal.

Coloring pictures of Woodlands Indians and making wampum in a longhouse. One particular book I liked was The Iroquois: A First Americans Book. This is part of a good series of books. Another group of books that had nice pictures and were very informative were the Bobbie Kalman books.

Some Cherokee words written by Miah. I realize all of this wasn't particularly ancient, but we did get a good overview of native American life AND we had fun.

Finally, our potlatch/green corn festival. I tried to pick foods that the native Americans ate even if I didn't really cook them authentically. I've learned that authentic foods don't get eaten around here. Those are the gifts in the center.

The bracelet Miah made for me.


  1. What great ways of learning! Looks really fun :)

  2. You should take a look at the Native American badge! I bet Miah has completed it!

  3. Very pretty bracelet, Miah. Did you make it on your loom? Mims