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        North Dakota | Activity 9.3: Tribal Pow-Wows

        Students watch a video about tribal pow-wows and then plan one for the classroom.

        Lesson Summary

        Students watch a video about tribal pow-wows and then plan one for the classroom.

        This lesson is part of “Great States | North Dakota | Unit 9: Cultural Contributors” which gives students the opportunity to investigate some of the people, places, traditions, and past events that make North Dakota unique.

        Time Allotment

        20 minutes (with extension if powwow is held)

        Learning Objectives


        4.6.2: Explain the contributions of various ethnic groups (e.g., Native Americans, immigrants) to the history of North Dakota (e.g., food, traditions, languages, celebrations)

        4.1.4: Interpret current events using print and electronic media (e.g., newspaper, children’s news magazines, television, Internet).


        • Video: Lewis and Clark Pathways | Pow-Wow
        • An interactive whiteboard, projector, or other type of screen to project the video to the class
        • Notebooks or loose-leaf paper
        • Powwow materials – construction paper, feathers, glitter, glue, cardboard (optional)


        1. Tell students they will be watching a short video about tribal pow-wows. Explain that a pow-wow is a ceremonial reunion of American Indian peoples.
        2. Instruct students to take notes about activities that happen at pow-wows.
        3. Play the video, Lewis and Clark Pathways | Pow-Wow [1:46].
        4. Discuss the elements of a traditional tribal pow-wow. Ask students what activities were shown in the video.
        5. Pow-wows are a way to honor tribal peoples and their heritage, but the general concepts can apply to any culture. Have students create a list of activities they could do in the classroom if they held a “pow-wow” that represents the school or learning environment.

        Extend the Lesson (2-3 hours):

        1. If possible, invite a tribal member to come and discuss a pow-wow with the students.
        2. Have students bring in articles, newspapers, photos, or anything they can from home that represents a school “pow-wow”.
        3. Have students create items to hold a pow-wow in the class.

        Answer Key

        1. Traditional pow-wow activities would include dances, honor services, or songs [0:08, 0:20, 1:02]. Tribal pow-wows are family reunions and tribal reunions; they are special ceremonies often commemorating special events or people (pictured: wedding, memorial service, man in military uniform) [1:22].
        2. Sample classroom activities could include choreographing a group number, writing a song, bringing in food that represents where the school is, or making costumes or posters about the school.


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