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        Montana | Activity 3.5: Spirituality of the Northern Cheyenne Nation

        Students watch a video about the spirituality of the Northern Cheyenne Nation of Montana, in which a tribal member recounts a traditional spiritual story. They then create a storyboard of the story told in the video.

        Lesson Summary

        Students watch a video about spirituality and the Northern Cheyenne Nation of Montana. They hear a spiritual story. Students create a storyboard of the story told in the video.

        This lesson is part of "Great States: Montana | Unit 3: American Indians" where students will investigate how American Indians were able to thrive before the arrival of Europeans and learn about their current concerns.

        Time Allotment

        40 minutes

        Learning Objectives


        6.1: Identify the ways groups (e.g., families, faith communities, schools, social organizations, sports) meet human needs and concerns (e.g., belonging, self worth, personal safety) and contribute to personal identity.

        6.2: Describe ways in which expressions of culture influence people (e.g., language, spirituality, stories, folktales, music, art, dance).

        6.4: Identify characteristics of American Indian tribes and other cultural groups in Montana.



        1. Tell students they will be watching a video in which Joseph Fire Crow of the Northern Cheyenne Nation of Montana explains the origins of a song based on a traditional story about an orphan boy who becomes a warrior for the people after befriending wolf pups. He shares the song using traditional instruments.

        1. Distribute the Northern Cheyenne Nation Spirituality handout to students. Instruct students to take notes on the story told in the video.

        1. Play the video, Indian Pride | Spirituality | Part 4 until [1:55].

        1. Have students create a storyboard (short illustration about each section of the story) about the video using the handout for directions. Include elements of the boy’s culture, such as his clothing, special objects, and symbols for the mother wolf and the wind.

        1. Conduct a class discussion about the video by asking students some of the following questions:

          1. What do you think is meant by “wolf medicine?”

          2. How does the gratitude of the mother wolf help heal the orphan?

          3. What do you think is the importance of the relationship between animals and humans? What does it tell you about how the Northern Cheyenne Nation may view animals?

          4. Why do you think this story has survived for hundreds of years, even though it was sung, not written?

        1. If time allows, have students show their storyboards to others.

        Answer Key

        1. The order of the story is:

          1. American Indian Orphan Boy

          2. Finds wolf pups

          3. Takes wolf pups with him

          4. Hears a wind song

          5. Returns wolf pups

          6. Mother wolf singing

          7. Gives boy wolf medicine/boy becomes warrior

        2. Class discussion:
          1. “Kindness” is a kind of medicine because it makes people and animals feel good.
          2. Seeing the wolf’s love for her children teaches the boy about belonging.
          3. The Northern Cheyenne Nation may view animals as intelligent, important beings who have feelings and may greatly impact a person’s life.
          4. People learn the story through song and pass it down to others.


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