Study tapestries from different cultures. Students watch a video to learn about the different cultural groups in Montana. Students create a tapestry that reflects the diversity of Montana’s population.
This lesson is part of "Great States: Montana | Unit 1: Introduction to Montana" which will give students a nuanced introduction to the state of Montana. Students will be introduced to key events and people from Montana, as well as learn how boundaries are established and maintained, and how culture influences one’s perspective and experience in the world.
6.4: Identify characteristics of American Indian tribes and other cultural groups in Montana.
Helena District 6.4: Identify characteristics of cultural groups in Montana (American Indians, Irish, Scandinavians, Italians, miners, women, ranchers, etc.)
- Image: High angle view of a Navajo sand painting | Native American Civilizations | U.S. History [Media Gallery: Native Art | Native American Civilizations | U.S. History]
- Image: La Vie Seigneuriale: The Promenade, Loire Workshop, c.1500 by French School, (16th century)
- Video: Great States | Montana Culture
- An interactive whiteboard, projector, or another type of screen to show videos to the class
- Notebooks (optional)
- Various arts and crafts material such as felt, markers, construction paper, magazines, colored pencils, scissors, glue, and crayons
- Ask students if they know what a “tapestry” is. After hearing responses, indicate that one definition of a tapestry is: a thick heavy cloth that has pictures or patterns woven into it. Then, ask what other durable materials can be used to make pictures and patterns. Take a few responses. Indicate that Navajo people used sand to create beautiful works of art.
- Show two images: a 19th-century Navajo sand painting, High angle view of a Navajo sand painting | Native American Civilizations | U.S. History, and a 16th-century French tapestry, La Vie Seigneuriale: The Promenade, Loire Workshop, c.1500 by French School, (16th century). Make sure to zoom in so that students can see the granular nature of the sand painting.
- Ask students what the two works have in common. Indicate that both images contain an intricate mix of colors and can be viewed as beautiful.
- Explain that the word “tapestry” can also have the following meaning: a complex variety or mixture of things. Ask how Montana could be considered a tapestry (a mixture of different people from many places). Note that unlike a tapestry, Montana’s population is always changing due to people coming to and leaving the state. After taking a few responses, say that they will be watching a short video about the many peoples of Montana, today and in the past. Indicate that they should be listening for (or jotting down), the many different groups of people and individuals who have formed Montana’s human tapestry.
- Play the video, Great States | Montana Culture. [3:55]
- Then, ask students to name the groups and individuals they learned about in the video. Write these on the board.
- Give students time to create a “tapestry” that reflects the diversity of Montana’s population yesterday and today. Materials such as felt, markers, construction paper, or magazines to cut up can be used.