Web sites created by and about Native Americans offer resources that help students of all ages learn about the varied histories and cultures of hundreds of American Indian groups, and better understand how those histories and cultures affect their lives today. Included: Twenty online resources on Native American history and culture.
American Indians had been living on the continents of North and South America for thousands of years before the arrival of European settlers. By the time the Pilgrims arrived in North America in the 17th century, Native American groups had spread throughout the continents; each had developed its own name, language, beliefs, and way of life. Who were those groups? Where did they live? How did they develop their individual philosophies and beliefs? How did they interact with the environment and how did their environments affect their lives?
The sites below can help answer those questions.
Learn About Native Americans
Click one of six regions on a map of North America to learn about Native American groups that lived in that region. The site provides historic information about the dwellings, plants, animals, and clothing of each region, as well as a brief discussion of life in the region today. A glossary and a variety of quizzes and scavenger hunts also are available. The site is easy enough for elementary students and interesting enough for high school students and adults!
Native Visions of the Natural World
The Carnegie Museum of Natural History provides this online exhibit from the Alcoa Foundation's Hall of American Indians. At this site, visitors in middle school and above can explore how four different Native American tribes -- the Tlingit of the Northwest Coast, the Hopi of the Southwest, the Iroquois of the Northeast, and the Lakota of the Plains -- interact with the natural world. The site includes discussions of the tribe's environment, natural resources, children, crops, means of survival, and more.
This site for students in elementary grades and above information about five Native American tribes; Din, Muscogee, Tlingit, Lakota, and Iroquois. The rollover aspect of the site design allows even young students to see the connections between each tribe and its location and cultural artifacts. The activities -- including puzzles, games, drawings, and quizzes specific to each tribe will keep students busy and learning. For some reason, the Stereotype activities, which are especially interesting as discussion starters, didn't load from the link. You can find the page, however, by typing in the following URL: http://www.u.arizona.edu/ic/kmartin/stephanie
NativeWeb is an educational organization "dedicated to using telecommunications to disseminate information from and about indigenous nations, peoples, and organizations around the world and to foster communication between native and non-native peoples..." Resources at the site are not limited to natives of North America, but it does provide extensive links to resources about Native Americans. Resources can be accessed alphabetically by site name or Native American Nation, by geographic region, or by resource type. This site, which is geared toward research, is most appropriate for older students and adults.
Native American Shelters
We know -- in spite of centuries of stereotyping -- that not all Native Americans lived in tepees. In fact, American Indians utilized a wide variety of shelters, largely determined by the climate, terrain, and way of life of the region they lived in. In this interactive exhibit provided by the Minnesota State University eMuseum, visitors click one of seven regions on a map to find out about different Native American shelters and to learn more about the lifestyles of each American Indian group.
ALSO WORTH A LOOK
For even more great sites for online reference materials, visit the Reference area of Education World's Site Reviews Archives.