Native Americans Today: Resources and Activities for Educators, Grades 4-8

Native Americans Today: Resources and Activities for Educators, Grades 4-8

Native Americans Today: Resources and Activities for Educators, Grades 4-8

Native Americans Today: Resources and Activities for Educators, Grades 4-8

Synopsis

Literature and educational books about Native Americans frequently present stereotypical images or depict the people as they existed hundreds of years ago. Seeking to dispel misrepresentations, this book examines Native American culture as it exists today as well as its historical background. Reproducible activities, biographies of real people, and accurate background information help educators present a realistic and diverse picture of Native Americans in the twentieth century. With each lesson, the authors include a suggested grade level, materials list, objectives, readings, activities, enrichment extensions, and a list of resources for further study. Chapters cover ground rules, homes and environment, growing up and growing old, a day in the life, communications, arts, economics, and socio-political struggles. Appendixes contain oral history guidelines, global information sources, lists of Native media, and related Web sites.

Excerpt

November. Our phones never stop ringing. We are very popular people in November, because that is the one month that most of America wants a crash course in Indian culture. It is part of the American image—Thanksgiving, Pilgrims, turkeys, and … Indians. Not just any Indians, but only Indians who can show up in the school auditorium, heads adorned with paper headbands and feathers, faces painted with grease paint or lipstick, and hands dragging along a couple of paper turkeys. These honored Thanksgiving Indians are to share a feast of fish-fertilized maize, entertain “squaws” and “braves” on the “tom-tom,” and deliver powerful oratories in pidgin English. (They must be careful not to awaken the sleeping “papooses!”) of course, these Thanksgiving Indians are also required to step lively to a rain dance song and then must stand with their stoic arms crossed over their stoic chests, while keeping a stoic expression on their faces.

After surviving over 50 combined years of Novembers training teachers and creating curricula, we decided to share some of our ideas with a broader audience. It is time to teach about Native peoples from September to June in every subject, from science to physical education. the Thanksgiving Indian, that nostalgic, romanticized, weary relic of the past, longs to join ddt, the Edsel, pet rocks, Jim Crow, lead paint, and indentured servants as a thing of the past.

Although this guide may seem like a time warp for some, skipping from seventeenth-century Thanksgiving Indians to filmmaking, motorcycle shop-owning, traffic-engineering Indians of the 1990s, we have not rushed anything. We are just introducing contemporary American Indians and focusing on Native issues of the twentieth century. If it feels like a few centuries of Native America have been omitted, argue with your librarians, textbook manufacturers, Hollywood, and the museums. in this book, we have tried to provide a realistic account of how things are today.

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