NATIVE AMERICA NATIVE AMERICA. Northwest Coast Plateau California & Basin Plains Northeast Southeast Southwest

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  • Northwest Coast Plateau California & Basin Plains Northeast Southeast Southwest

  • FAST FACTSNative Americans or First Nations are the official terms for the peoples that are considered the first to live in the Americas

    The term American Indian was started by Christopher Columbus, who was looking for & thought he had found India when he crossed the ocean from Europe

    Some tribes were hunter-gatherers while others were mostly farmers

  • There were over 2000 Native American tribes before Europeans came

    There are 561 recognized tribes in the U.S. today

    Only about 2% of the U.S. population is considered Native American

  • RESERVATIONSLand managed by a Native American tribe under the United States Department of Interiors Bureau of Indian AffairsAfter the Native Americans lost wars with the white settlers, they also lost most of their landTreaties between the Native Americans & the U.S. government established land that only the Native Americans could ownAt first, the U.S. government made the Native Americans move onto the reservations & wouldnt allow them to leave. Several wars were started because of this & today the Native Americans are free to live on the reservation or leave

  • There are 300 Indian Reservations in the U.S. todayEach Native American tribe living on a reservation is considered a nation & has some rights to make their own laws, similar to the way a state can make some of their own lawsSome people who live on reservations are considered among of the poorest people in the world. They may lack electricity, running water & adequate health care. The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is the poorest place in the U.S.Gambling has become the biggest industry for the Native Americans ever since the government allowed casinos to be built on reservations

  • TRAIL OF TEARSIn 1830, President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act

    This law forced the Native Americans living east of the Mississippi River to move to the West

    Over 100,000 Native Americans were forced to move

    The Trail of Tears was what the Cherokee people called this forced move because over 4000 Cherokee people died or were killed during the move


  • ANIMALSAmerican bison

    Mustang horse

    Gray wolf



    Photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services

  • Although also called the American buffalo, the bison is not a true buffalo

    The largest land animal in America. It is about 6 feet tall & can weigh 2000 pounds

    Lives about 20 years

    Grazes like a cow

  • There were once around 60 million bison in the West

    Were hunted nearly to extinction & by 1893 there were only about 300 left, but they are doing better now

    Today, most bison live on ranches & are raised for meat, but there are a few wild herds in the West

  • Were the center of life for the Plains Tribes of Native Americans

    Provided the Native Americans with meat & their skins were used for clothing & shelter (teepees)

    No part of the animal was wasted

    Because the bison gave up its life to help the Native Americans survive, it was greatly honored as part of their religion




  • PLAINS PEOPLES2 basic types of Native Americans lived in the Plains region: mostly nomadic & mostly stationaryExamples of the nomadic tribes: Blackfoot, Comanche, Cheyenne, ApacheExamples of the stationary tribes: Pawnee, Omaha, Wichita, MandanThe nomadic tribes were mostly hunters, following the migration of the herds of bison. They sometimes grew crops like maize & tobaccoThe stationary tribes lived in villages, grew crops & hunted bison

  • The bison were hunted any time during the year, except during winterSometimes, several tribes gathered together to hunt the bisonEven when guns were introduced, they preferred to use the bow & arrow because it took too long to reload a gunThe people would gain extra weight during hunting season so that they could survive through the winter when they couldnt hunt & food was scarce

  • FOODMaize



    Maple syrup

  • MAIZENative to the Americas

    Requires the help of humans to reproduce itself because the seeds are covered with a thick husk & are not able to scatter on their own

    Grows well under a wide variety of conditions

    The seed may be eaten whole, after it is cooked, or made into corn meal

  • CORN HUSK MOCCASSINS - IROQOUIS The husk of the corn was woven into masks, rugs, baskets, bed mats & dolls by Native Americans



  • THREE SISTERSMaize, beans & squash

    The 3 crops were planted together

    The tall maize plant supported the climbing bean plants & the beans gave a valuable nutrient to the maize

    The squash grew between the hills so that the leaves from the maize & bean plants could prevent weeds from growing


  • MUSICWas a very important part of Native American history & education

    Used in ceremonies & to tell stories in order to pass ancient customs along to each new generation

    Mostly involved singing with drums & rattles as the only instruments

    Ritual dances often accompanied the music

  • The Native American flute was used in courtship, healing, meditation & spiritual rituals

  • RELIGIONBelieved in a creator, called the Great Spirit, who controlled everything

    Believed that everyone & everything has a spirit & that spirits control the weather, interact with humans, or live in the underworld

    Religious beliefs were very influenced by their method of obtaining food, whether hunting or farming

  • Most Native Americans had some type of shaman or Medicine Man (although the shaman could also be a woman)

    A Medicine Man was a human that was believed to be able to create a link between humans & spirits

    A substance that affects the mind might be used during ceremonies, believed to enable a person to connect with the spirits. Peyote is one example

  • TEPEEThe word tepee comes from the Lakota language for dwellingA cone-shaped tent, usually made of animal skinWas a movable home, warm in winter, cool in summer & dry during the rainThe opening at the top was like a chimney & allowed an open fire to be used in the middle of the tepeeA flap over the door allowed for fresh air when open, privacy & warmth when closed

  • Most tepees were decorated with dyed porcupine quills, bison horns & tails, horse hair or bear claws. Only a few tepees were painted, using designs of animals, hunts or things seen in the night sky

  • POWWOWPowwow is a Native American word meaning spiritual leader and is a gathering of Native American people

    Could involve one tribe or several tribes

    Was generally a yearly occurrence, but could occur on special occasions when the tribe(s) needed to discuss something like a treaty Katherine Keith, Healthy on PurposeDuring a powwow, the people dance, sing & socialize

  • CitationsDemas, Antonia. Food is Elementary: A Hands-On Curriculum for Young Students. 119-21. New York: Food Studies, Inc.,,,

    Robert Mirabel Song Carrier