Native American Heritage Collection

Expand/Collapse Native American Heritage Collection


Take a fascinating look at Native American art, history, and culture as told through the historians, artists, students, and scientists in this featured resource collection.

 

  • The Cherokee Alphabet

    Learn about the story of Sequoyah, a Cherokee man who developed an alphabet for the Cherokee language in 1821, in this video segment adapted from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: “We Shall Remain.” Like most Native American groups at the time, the Cherokees did not have a written language. Sequoyah’s alphabet helped preserve the Cherokee language and Cherokee culture, especially after the Cherokees were forced to leave their native land by the 1830 Indian Removal Act.

    Grades: 5-12
  • Julia Parker: Visual Arts (Basket Weaving)

    In this Spark video produced by KQED, travel to Yosemite with Julia Parker who is helping revive the art form of Native American basket weaving. For Julia Parker, weaving baskets connects her to the lives and traditions of her ancestors, telling the story of a people that for more than 4,000 years populated villages throughout the Yosemite Valley.

    Grades: K-13+
  • We are the Music

    Explore the music and dance sequences of 11 cultural groups who have settled in Santa Fe, New Mexico over the past 700 years. These diverse communities include the Native Americans, Spanish, Mexicans, Crypto-Jewish, Celtic, German, Greek, Japanese, Tibetan, Sikh and the Central Americans. All performers and narrators in these segments are of school-age.

    Grades: 3-4
  • Up Heartbreak Hill: Factors in a Successful College Experience

    In this lesson, students will watch video clips that provide glimpses into the lives of two high school seniors who live in New Mexico on the Navajo reservation. They will then analyze a current issue that Native Americans face (college completion) and will consider factors that might contribute to their own decisions either to enter or to complete college. Students will then explore different strategies that might be used to address this problem. The clips used in this lesson are from the film Up Heartbreak Hill, a documentary that follows two Navajo high school students during their senior year as they struggle with forming their identities, managing family relationships and making decisions about their futures.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Santa Fe Indian School Students Explore Identity Through Verse

    Through verse, members of the Spoken Word Club at the Santa Fe Indian School articulate identities both modern and traditional.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • Native American Culture: Cherokee Singer

    Cherokee singer Paula Nelson performs a learning song that teaches a greeting and farewell in Cherokee and then asks the audience to sing with her in a call and response conversation. In the second part of the segment, Nelson says that the Cherokee people are a “water people” and performs a song called “It’s Going to Rain.” Her performance was taped at the 2006 Festival of Native Peoples in Cherokee, N.C.

    Find additional arts resources for your classroom at the KET Arts Toolkit website.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Identify Cultural Influences - Hiawatha

    Students identify aspects of Native American life represented in the poem Hiawatha.

    Grades: 5-8
  • Scientist Profile: Renewable Energy Scientist

    This New Mexico renewable energy engineer works to bring alternative energy sources to Native Americans in rural areas without electricity. She loves the alt-energy field because "it's wide open and cutting edge." As a child growing up in the Navajo Nation, Sandra was into math and science, questioning and figuring out things. Today, she employs her early interests, working with the U.S. Department of Energy and the Navajo Nation to find solutions for people.

    This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

    Grades: 4-6
  • Scientist Profile: Ethnobotanist

    Dave Morris is an ethnobotanist with the Pueblo Grande Museum in Phoenix, where he studies how native peoples in Arizona gathered plant materials for buildings, utilitarian objects, and spiritual uses. Dave says his own Native American ancestry makes him especially interested in recovering lost knowledge about plants and their uses.

    This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

    Grades: 4-6
  • Living With the Land

    In this video segment adapted from American Experience, explore the North American lands as experienced by the indigenous peoples who migrated through much of the continent. Before the arrival of European settlers, some Native American tribes moved from region to region with the seasons—south in the winter and north in the summer. Following the guidance of their experienced leaders, they obtained the food, water, and other supplies they needed from their surrounding environment.

    Grades: 5-12
  • Dawes Act (1887) and Resource Materials

    Approved on February 8, 1887, "An Act to Provide for the Allotment of Lands in Severalty to Indians on the Various Reservations," known as the Dawes Act, emphasized severalty, the treatment of Native Americans as individuals rather than as members of tribes. This resource group includes 2 primary source images, a background essay and a transcript.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • Native American Culture: Cherokee Eagle Dance

    The Warriors of AniKituhwa perform the Eagle Dance at the 2006 Festival of Native Peoples. Like other dances from Cherokee culture, the Eagle Dance serves as a catalyst for people to come forward and share their memories and a way to preserve cultural traditions.

    Find additional arts resources for your classroom at the KET Arts Toolkit website.

    Grades: 5-12
  • Native American Culture: Navajo Shaker Dance

    The Pollen Trail Dancers perform the Navajo Shaker Dance, also called the Buffalo Dance. Artistic director Albert Brent Chase explains that the Shaker or Buffalo Dance is a healing dance that is part of the Fire Dance Ceremony, which lasts nine nights.

    Find additional arts resources for your classroom at the KET Arts Toolkit website.

    Grades: 5-12
  • Native American Culture: The Dreamcatcher

    Susan Mullins (Kwaronhia:wi), a Mohawk from the Kahnawake reserve in Canada who now resides in Berea, Ky., shows her grandchildren how to create a dreamcatcher, an item designed to catch bad dreams and let good dreams through. The dreamcatcher originated with the Ojibwe but has been adopted by other nations.

    Find additional arts resources for your classroom at the KET Arts Toolkit website.

    Grades: 5-12
  • Native American Culture: Git-Hoan Chief's Headdress Dance

    Three dancers of the Git-Hoan troupe perform the Chief’s Headdress Dance celebrating the meaning found in the leader’s ceremonial headwear. The Git-Hoan are descendants of the Tsimshian people of northwest Canada and Alaska.

    Find additional arts resources for your classroom at the KET Arts Toolkit website.

    Grades: 5-12
  • Native American Culture: About Apache Dances

    The Apache Crown Dancers are enrolled members of the White Mountain Apache Tribe and live in Whiteriver, Ariz. In this video segment, the group leader, Joe Tohonnie, Jr., talks about the long history of the dance and its role in Apache culture as the dancers perform Crown Dances.

    Find additional arts resources for your classroom at the KET Arts Toolkit website.

    Grades: 5-12
  • Native American Culture: About Git-Hoan Dances

    David Boxley of the Git-Hoan Dancers discusses dance traditions of the Tsimshian, whose descendants live on the Northwest coast of northern British Columbia and in southeastern Alaska. He discusses the use of masks and other handmade regalia in the dances.

    Find additional arts resources for your classroom at the KET Arts Toolkit website.

    Grades: 5-12
  • Native American Culture: Zuni Harvest Dance

    The Zuni traditionally celebrate the harvest with a lively and colorful celebration. Instructor Arden Kucate gives background on the Zuni culture and the harvest celebration.

    Find additional arts resources for your classroom at the KET Arts Toolkit website.

    Grades: 5-12
  • Native American Culture: Little Deer and Mother Earth

    Marilou Awiakta, of Cherokee/Appalachian heritage, tells a traditional Cherokee story in which humans are killing too many of their animal relatives, threatening the delicate balance of nature. Little Deer leads the animals in taking action, teaching the lesson that people should take “only what you need with respect and gratitude.”

    Find additional arts resources for your classroom at the KET Arts Toolkit website.

    Grades: 5-12
  • Native American Culture: Git-Hoan Raven Dance

    The Git-Hoan Dancers perform the Raven Dance, a celebration of the Raven Clan. They wear masks representing the clan. In Tsimshian culture, the wearer of a mask is said to take on the spirit of the creature it signifies.

    Find additional arts resources for your classroom at the KET Arts Toolkit website.

    Grades: 5-12

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