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.

 

  • Apache Dance Performance | Native American Culture

    The Apache Crown Dancers are enrolled members of the White Mountain Apache Tribe and live in Whiteriver, Ariz. In this video segment, they perform a traditional Crown Dance in full regalia to music sung by the group leader, Joe Tohonnie, Jr.

    Grades: 5-12
  • About Cherokee Dance | Native American Culture

    In this video John Bullet Standingdeer  a member of the Warriors of AniKituhwa of Cherokee, NC, describes the cultural importance of the ceremonial Eagle Dance, performed by the Warriors of AniKituhwa, and the social Beaver Dance, performed by the Raven Rock Dancers.

    Grades: 5-12
  • Cherokee Beaver Dance | Native American Culture

    In this video The Raven Rock Dancers perform the Beaver Dance, a social dance depicting the actions of a hunting party, at the 2006 Festival of Native Peoples. The Raven Rock Dancers is a family group founded by Walker Calhoun, a respected Cherokee elder.

    Grades: 5-12
  • Truman Lowe at Wickliffe Mounds | Native American Culture

    In this video segment, contemporary Native American artist Truman Lowe discusses his visit to an ancient Native American community in Western Kentucky, Wickliffe Mounds, and how it influenced his work. The segment also includes a tour of art works at the Eagle Gallery at Murray State University.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Truman Lowe: Contemporary Native American Artist | Native American Culture

    Truman Lowe is a contemporary sculptor working primarily in wood that he often scavenges from the landscape. This segment is from the KET documentary From the Shadows of the River, which chronicles Lowe’s visit to Wickliffe Mounds, the site of a Mississippian village.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Earth Lodges

    Lewis and Clark encountered the matriarchal Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara societies on their expedition. In this resource from Prairie Public Television, Amy Mossett and Terrence L. O’Halloran explain what these women contributed to society, specifically exploring the earth lodges built to withstand the harsh winters of North Dakota and their harvesting techniques. They also read Lewis and Clark’s observations of other matriarchal characteristics of these societies.

    Grades: 1-8
  • The Myth of Pocahontas

    Explore the popular story of how Pocahontas, a young Native American, fell in love with John Smith, an English colonist. When Smith was captured, Pocahontas risked her life to save him, and then continued to help his fellow colonists at Jamestown. Thanks to her, the colony not only survived, but thrived. As this video segment states, it's a powerful story, but how much of it is true? Adapted from NOVA.

    Grades: 5-12
  • The Settlement of the American West

    In this activity, students will analyze primary sources related to the westward expansion of the United States during the nineteenth century. They will identify the roles of government policy and technological improvements in the settlement of the West, and explain the impact of these things on the indigenous populations of the lands being "settled."

    Grades: 6-8
  • About Navajo Dances | Native American Culture

    Albert Brent Chase, artistic director of The Pollen Trail Dancers, explains the purposes of dance in Navajo culture. He notes that dance is a form of honoring one’s self and the connection with one’s surroundings; that dance has a healing purpose; and that dance and songs are ways of carrying on traditional teachings and history of the Navajo people.

    Grades: 5-12
  • Mission US: A Cheyenne Odyssey

    In Mission 3: A Cheyenne Odyssey, players become Little Fox, a Northern Cheyenne boy whose life is changed by the encroachment of white settlers, railroads, and U.S. military expeditions.  As buffalo diminish and the U.S. expands westward, players experience the Cheyenne's persistence through conflict and national transformation.

    Grades: 6-8
  • Thanksgiving

    Throughout history, people have given thanks – sometimes in joyful celebration, often in solemn, even prayerful, ceremony. The United States, over hundreds of years, has come to observe a national holiday for giving thanks: Thanksgiving. This set of primary resources containing images and documents provides a window into this time period, as well as a Teacher's Guide with historical context and teaching suggestions.

    Grades: 3-12
  • Drawing Conclusions - Miss Navajo

    Students watch a video of the Navajo language section of the Miss Navajo Nation beauty contest.  They will then use information from the video to determine one of the main responsibilities of the winner of the contest, and find details in the video to support them in that conclusion.  They will complete graphic organizers and write paragraphs based on their conclusions.

    Grades: 6-8
  • Miss Navajo

    This video segment from Independent Lens documents a young woman’s experiences as she competes in the Miss Navajo Nation beauty pageant.  This pageant is unique because instead of concentrating on a young woman’s outer beauty, the focus is on her knowledge and understanding of the Navajo culture and her ability to spread this culture as an ambassador of the Navajo Nation.  One of the main requirements to become Miss Navajo is the ability to speak and understand Navajo, a language spoken by less than 200,000 people. In this portion of the competition, contestants respond to questions that are asked, and must be answered, in Navajo.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Dwellings | Native American Civilizations | U.S. History

    This mini-collection of photographs of Native American dwellings were individually selected from the prestigious Getty Images collections to help PBS LearningMedia teachers and students discuss Native American History. Visit our full collection of 150 images, all downloadable for classroom use.

    Grades: K-8
  • 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+
  • The Dreamcatcher | Native American Culture

    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.

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

    In this video 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.

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

    In this video 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.”

    Grades: 3-12

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