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Janice Kennerly and Donna Skahill

Introduction | Task | Resources | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion


Native Americans have lived throughout North America for thousands of years. This was long before Christopher Columbus sailed to the New World and named them "Indians". He had mistakenly thought he had reached his destination of India.

We are going to discover what our world, the Southwestern United States, looked like before European settlement. Come along on a journey where you will discover different cultures and learn to look at your home in a new way. Each Indian nation had a distinct culture yet shared many of the same beliefs.



You have the task to learn about the location of the tribes, types of homes, clothing, food, and beliefs and/or crafts of the Hopi, Navajo, Pueblo,Western Apache, and Zuni tribes. At the end of this unit you will have to decide to join a tribe and write about your life there. Which tribe would you like to join? Why?

Activity 1 -


Look at the map of the Southwestern United States. On this map you will find the locations of the 5 tribes you will be studying in this unit: Hopi, Navajo, Pueblo, Western Apache and Zuni. Click on the name of the tribe, a hand will appear, and read about the tribal ways of each tribe. When you finish reading about that tribe remember to use the BACK arrow to return to this page.


Activity 2 - With a partner complete the chart your teacher will give you. This will help you organize the knowledge you have gained from Activity 1. You will be able to find information and be able to look more closely at the tribes if you click on Activity 2.

Activity 3 - With a partner or small group you will download and open the Venn diagram. You will list the similarities and differences between a tribe that you choose from the above mentioned 5 southwestern tribes and life in Southwestern United States now. You may want to visit sites about Arizona and New Mexico to help you write the section about life today. You may use information about where you live if it is similar too.

After completing the Venn diagram individually write at least three paragraphs comparing and contrasting the two tribes in your journal. The first paragraph should include this topic sentence, "I will compare and contrast life in Southwestern United States in the 1800s with life in the Southwestern United States now." The second paragraph will tell about life in the 1800s, the third will contain information about life now.

You are now ready to become a Native American. Which tribe will you join - Hopi? Navajo? Pueblo? Western Apache? or Zuni?

Activity 4 - Choose one tribe you have studied. You may want to use the same tribe you worked with in Activity 3. It will be easier for you if you do. Describe in your journal what your life in this tribe would have been like. Describe how your life now is different from what life would have been like then. Would you wear different clothes? Eat different foods? Attend school? What would you do during a typical day? Have a friend edit your work. Type your final copy onto the computer.

Activity 5 - Draw a picture of yourself in native clothes, outside of your home with some tools and foods from your tribe. Print out the story and post it with your picture .


Throughout the classroom you will discover many books about Native Americans. You may find more information by searching the web using the tribal names. The map in Activity 1 will connect you with information on each tribe. You may reach this page by clicking on the name of the tribe on the map.

To help you learn more about the Southwestern United States today you may travel to Arizona or New Mexico by simply clicking on the name of the state. These pages will allow you to find out many things about each state. Enjoy your journey through these states and prepare to join your tribe.


 It is important for you to go from Activity 1 through Activity 5 in order. Each Activity will give you more knowledge for you to build upon. Start with the map, get to know where each tribe was located. Get to know specifics about each tribe.

The chart in Activity 2 will allow you to organize these facts. Keep this chart in your journal until the end of the unit. When you do Activity 3, keep in mind that the Native Americans were moved from the area they lived in. If they had stayed in their original area would the world you live in today be the same? Notice the relationship between the environment and the Native American world. These types of ideas will help you to make the decision of which tribe to join easier.

Review your last three Activities and then decide which tribe you will join. Become an expert in that tribe. Enjoy your discovery and remember to share your new knowledge with us in your story and picture. You may find that you want to contact the tribe you joined and find out about them now. You may do so by clicking on their tribal name in the conclusion section.


You will turn in your chart from Activity 2 to your teacher along with your Venn diagram. Your journal writing will be graded using a writing rubric. You may be able to post your work on the internet and receive feedback from people visiting your site.


You have learned a lot about Southwestern Native Americans of long ago. Where are they now? How have the changes in the environment changed their lives? There are many websites that will help you discover Native Americans in the 1990s. Here are a few you may want to visit:




Western Apache


You may even want to email tribes today. Most of the above sites have email sites for you to use. There is a project that involves many Native Americans today called FourDirections Project that you may want to visit.

Last updated 03/16/06. Return to the Top of the Page

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