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Gail Skroback Hennessey taught for over 33 years, teaching sixth grade in all but two years. She earned a BA in early secondary education with a concentration in social studies and an MST in social...
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November is Native American Heritage Month!


Theme: “Gifts of Our Ancestors: Celebrating Indigenous Knowledge and Cultures

New York was the first state to set aside a day to honor the contributions of Native Americans. Called American Indian Day, it was established in 1916. President George W. Bush approved National American Indian Heritage Month in 1990.

Did You Know?

1. Native Americans shared their cure for Scurvy, a disease caused by the lack of Vitamin C.  They made a tea from evergreen branches and gave it to French Explorer, Jacques Cartier and his men(1536).

2. Did you know that Native Americans shared with the Pilgrims the idea of using dead fish when planting corn? It was a natural fertilizer.

3. At the first Thanksgiving, in 1621, the Wampanoag people shared foods such as squash, corn, maple syrup, cranberries, pumpkins and turkey, with the Pilgrims.

4. Have you placed the game of lacrosse? It was first played by the Native American. Interestingly, it wasn’t a “game” but a way to settle arguments. The French explorers first saw the game and named it.

5. The Native Americans played a game called “shinny”. The French called it hockey!

6. Native Americans shared toboggans and whirligigs(spinning tops) with the colonists.

7. Some ideas in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, came from the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. The Great Law of Peace included ideas such as people have rights and limited the power of government over people.

8. Moccasins and the Parka(hooded jackets with feathers still attached to skins) were shared with colonists.

9. Native Americans were believers in conservation. They only took what they needed from the Earth.

10. During World War 2, secret messages were sent by both sides. Each side tried to crack the other’s code. The U.S.Army came up with a code that was never broken. It used the Navajo Indian language!

1. Some words in English from Native Americans:

manatee, opossum, parka, raccoon, skunk, squash, succotash, woodchuck, moccasin, chipmunk 

Write a short story using all these words.

2. Read a Native American short story, illustrate the story and write and summary.

3. Look at the Navajo Code Alphabet:

Write a message and have another person try and  decode it.

4. LOTS of Famous Native Americans: Research one of the following people, draw a picture of that person and write 5 facts learned about them on your drawing. Here are just a few possible people to highlight.

Sacagawea, Sequoyah, Jim Thorpe, Squanto, Sitting Bull, Pocahontas, Chief Joseph, Tecumseh, White Cloud, Geronimo, Crazy Horse, Maria Tallchief, Wilma Mankiller, Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte,

More links of interest:

Resources of Interest:

  1. Learn about Sacagawea with this Reader's Theater Script. Sacagawea is a guest on a talk show and the studio audience asks questions about her life and contributions to the Lewis and Clark Expedition. There are 10 questioners, a Did You Know? fun fact section, comprehension questions, a teacher page with extension activities, the key and additional links. Part of my Ms. Bie Ografee Talk Show Series. Sacagawea, A Reader's Theater Script                                                                                        
  2. Learn about Sequoyah, the only person in history to "invent a written language"! Part of my Ms. Bie Ografee's Talk Show Series. A studio audience ask questions of Sequoia. Sequoyah, the Man that Invented a Writing System: A Reader's Theater Script.   
  3. Native Americans: A Webquest:

FREE Download: Native American Heritage Month

Gail Hennessey (My Website for Teachers/Kids)


Illustrations from Pixabay and WpClipart