Saturday, April 20, 2013

Native Roots

Native Roots: How the Indians Enriched America
(Native American History)

Native Roots-How Indians Enriched America
 If one is to believe conventional American history books, the white settlers in the New World recreated their European societies upon their arrival. But anthropologist Jack Weatherford, the author of Native Roots, pointedly shows that the Europeans grafted their civilization onto the deep roots of Native American customs and beliefs. Our place names, farming and hunting techniques, crafts and more--all derive from American Indians ways.

In truth, the history of Native Americans is the history of North America. To omit the significance and importance of Native Americans from our history is to negate the fabric of our very existence. For without the threads of life woven together by the heritage and culture of Native Americans, there would be no tapestry of knowledge, experience, and custom that allows our modern day way of life to exist. And in Native Roots, the author beautifully illustrates these very facts.

Jack Weatherford is a professor of anthropology at Macalester College in Minnesota. He is a specialist in tribal peoples and the author of Indian Givers, Native Roots, Savages and Civilization, and The History of Money.

Clicking on the book's title will take you to its location on Amazon.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Finding Authentic Native American Lesson Plans

While searching around the Internet this evening for some "good" Native American Lesson Plans, I came across a wonderful article entitled, Beware of Fallacious Native American Lesson Plans. The article was written by Jessica Diemer-Eaton, who is an historical interpreter of Native American life ways and owner of Woodland Indian Educational Programs. Diemer-Eaton provides a variety of educational programs for schools, students, museums, Powwows, and historical events. And she writes articles that revolve around Northeastern Woodland Indian cultures.

The article focuses on important things to look for when trying to find authentic and meaningful lesson plans about Native American life and culture. 

This article can be an invaluable tool in evaluating lesson plans for potential educational use, identifying ten classic signs of substandard lessons. As a licensed teacher myself, I applaud this article, and I agree with Diemer-Eaton's point about most teachers not having specialized knowledge in Native American subjects. As she so aptly put, "it requires full-time attention to be fluent in Native American subjects." So her article's goal is to help educators sift through the abundance of resources that the Internet provides, and hone in on the ones that are viable, and that will be most authentic and effective for student learning.

And if you are looking for some wonderful Native American classroom resources, be sure to visit the WIEP website. There are some wonderful teacher resources there, worksheets, coloring pages, and several other great resources as well.

Woodland Indian Educational Programs

Their "mission is to contribute to Native American historic preservation, by utilizing resources put forth by the academic and Native communities, in order to develop and conduct public programs and online resources that present Native culture and history in a way that targeted audiences will best receive it."