All resources in Oregon Office of Indian Education

English Language Arts: chinuk wawa

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This lesson introduces students to the history and importance of the Indigenous language known as chinuk wawa. Students will have the opportunity to learn how tribes from diverse regions and language families used chinuk wawa as a method of communication among groups essential for trade, political, social and other reasons. They will also reflect on the power of language and the relationship between language and cultural identity.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Lesson

Authors: Aujalee Moore, April Campbell

English Language Arts: Lewis & Clark: A Native American View

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The Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804–1806 was of great consequence for the United States, the future state of Oregon, and the vast numbers of Indigenous people who had been living in the American West for thousands of years. The passage of time, mythmaking, and selective interpretation have obscured or distorted both minor and major realities about the purposes of the expedition, the people involved, and its impact. In this lesson, students will explore how historical events can be viewed and interpreted differently by different people, and why some stories about historical events can dominate or exclude others. These occurrences in the historical record were often intentionally organized and supported to present a narrative that was favorable to one side over another. Students will also learn details about the Lewis and Clark Expedition that provide a fuller picture of Native American contributions to the journey and its long-term impact on Indigenous people, specifically in Oregon. This lesson can be incorporated into elementary Oregon history units and/or provided as an extension. It assumes that students are already familiar with the general outline and key people of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Material Type: Lesson, Lesson Plan

Authors: Aujalee Moore, April Campbell

English Language Arts: Oral Traditions

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This lesson introduces students to two of the most important aspects of Native American culture, both past and present: oral storytelling and the role of elders within tribal communities.Tribal nations and Indigenous communities in Oregon are varied and have multiple unique languages, world views, ways of life, and traditions. Like most cultures, they have many ways they communicate, preserve, and pass on their cultural and ceremonial traditions to future generations.One of these ways is through oral tradition, in which information is passed down through the generations by word of mouth. There are many forms of oral tradition, including poems, songs, speeches, choreography, and spoken word. One of the most well-known forms of Native oral tradition is storytelling. Western oral tradition is often divided into categories of folktale, myth, and legend. Tribal nations do not make this distinction and simply say “stories” or “teachings.”

Material Type: Lesson, Lesson Plan

Authors: Aujalee Moore, April Campbell

Health: Cultural Bias, Stereotypes, and the Effects of Boarding Schools

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This lesson encourages students to begin thinking about and questioning those stereotypes. The lesson includes three activities, each of which explores a challenging but important topic related to the experience of Native Americans in Oregon. These topics touch on issues of history but are presented in the context of health because of their tremendous impact on the physical, mental, and emotional health of Native people, past and present.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Lesson

Authors: Renée House, April Campbell

Health: Games for Physical Skill and Endurance

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In this lesson, students will have the opportunity to learn about one such game, which is often called double ball in English. Double ball is a team sport that is similar to the contemporary game of lacrosse, in that it involves multiple players using long sticks and a ball, with the purpose—in most versions—of getting the ball across a goal line or through some sort of target. Many tribes, including several in Oregon, played a version of double ball and continue to do so today.While focused on physical education, this lesson reinforces two important concepts that are woven throughout this curriculum. First, students will learn that while there are many similarities across tribal nations and Indigenous communities— including some of the games they play—Native American people are far from homogeneous and in fact represent a rich diversity of unique cultures. Second, students will be encouraged to think about how the specific natural environment in which a given tribe lived—its ancestral territory— shaped its identity and culture in both large and small ways. Understanding this strong connection to place is essential to understanding and respecting Native American cultures in Oregon and across North America, past and present.

Material Type: Lesson, Lesson Plan

Authors: Aujalee Moore, April Campbell

Math: Catching Pacific Lamprey at Willamette Falls

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Lamprey were an important food source for many Native American tribes in Oregon, particularly those in coastal areas and along the Columbia River watershed, and they continue to be an important link to traditional cultural practices. Like salmon, lamprey are anadromous, meaning they are born in fresh water, spend most of their life in the ocean, and return to freshwater to spawn. Sustaining the population of lamprey has always been important to Native people, and one way to do that is by not overharvesting. In previous generations this was not a problem, but hydroelectric dams, pollution, and destruction of habitat have all led to a drastic reduction in the lamprey population over the past century. Today, tribal biologists use both traditional and Western scientific methods—such as fish tagging—to protect and preserve lamprey, salmon, and other aquatic species. Using this real-world context, this lesson engages students in a mathematical process to determine the weights of lamprey using a fraction with each fraction having the same denominator, organizing the lamprey on a number line from lowest to highest weight, and comparing the weights of lamprey in decimal format.

Material Type: Lesson, Lesson Plan

Authors: Renée House, April Campbell

Health: Language Revitalization

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This lesson explores the preservation and revitalization of Indigenous languages—why it’s important and what tribes in Oregon are doing to keep their ancestral languages alive. This is important for many Native American tribes, who are attempting to save their languages from “linguicide” caused by decades of colonialism and forced assimilation. Language revitalization can help restore and strengthen cultural connections and pride, which in turn can promote well-being for both tribes and their members.

Material Type: Lesson, Lesson Plan

Authors: Renée House, April Campbell

Math: Getting to Know Native Americans in Oregon

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This lesson uses a dataset and simple mathematical operations to teach grade 4 students important facts about Native American people in Oregon. In the process, it begins to correct several common misperceptions and to build students’ awareness of the active role Native Americans play in contemporary Oregon culture. Students will learn about the nine federally recognized tribes in Oregon, including tribal membership, tribal lands, and the number of people employed by each tribe. This will give them a basic understanding of the presence of Native people in the state. Students will also be introduced to two key aspects of the complex relationship between Native American tribes and the U.S. government: termination and restoration. While the lesson does not cover these elements in depth, it lays the groundwork for future lessons and further understanding.

Material Type: Lesson, Lesson Plan

Authors: Susan Payne, April Campbell

Math: Philanthropy

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Philanthropy is a core value of Native American tribes in Oregon. Many tribes refer to this as the “spirit of potlatch,” which is a tradition that goes back hundreds and possibly thousands of years. In this spirit, many tribes have created charitable foundations or funds to support causes that benefit the local and surrounding communities. Collectively, tribal foundations are among the largest sources of philanthropy in Oregon.This lesson uses the mathematical practice of fractions to introduce students to Native philanthropy. Students are given a dataset and asked to perform fraction concepts and justify their choices as part of a philanthropic effort. Students will be addressing Critical Areas 1 and 2 while addressing mathematical practices.

Material Type: Lesson Plan

Authors: Aujalee Moore, April Campbell

Science: Oregon's First Geologists

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In this lesson students will learn how Native American tribes living in what is now Oregon incorporated geologic knowledge into their lifeways and cultures. It will describe tribes’ use of stone tools, designation of prominent landforms as significant and meaningful places, and oral traditions they maintained regarding geologic events to help them understand and organize the world they lived in. This lesson assumes students have some familiarity with or prior instruction in earth science concepts such as Oregon landforms, the rock cycle, plate tectonics, and earthquakes and tsunamis.

Material Type: Lesson, Lesson Plan

Authors: Aujalee Moore, April Campbell

Science: Salmon and the River

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Native American tribes in Oregon have relied on salmon for thousands of years. Salmon is considered a first food—a food resource that Indigenous people have depended on since time immemorial. This lesson includes four activities to support student learning about this traditional resource. In the first activity students will learn why salmon are essential to the traditional lifeways of Native Americans in Oregon. In the second activity students will evaluate the life cycle of salmon, specifically the importance of salmon returning to their home stream to spawn. In the third activity students will examine the impact of dams on the life cycle of salmon. Finally, students will work in small groups to identify strategies being used to restore the salmon population in Oregon.

Material Type: Lesson, Lesson Plan

Authors: Renée House, April Campbell

Social Sciences: Geography and Mapping Traditional Lands

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Native American people have lived in the area “now known as Oregon since time immemorial (long predating European contact and beyond human memory). During the era of colonialism— and even into the 21st century—non-Native people often portrayed the North American continent as a vast wilderness that was virtually unpopulated when they arrived. This could not be farther from the truth. In Oregon alone there were dozens of tribes, each with its own ancestral territory and rich cultural history. There was not a single region of Oregon that did not have an Indigenous tribe or band living within it. Despite disease, genocide, forced assimilation, and cultural suppression, many of these tribes managed to survive, and they continue to carry their cultural traditions forward as sovereign tribal nations. To survive, however, required giving up vast areas of their ancestral territory, sometimes by way of treaties and sometimes as a result of force. The two activities in this lesson will give students an essential understanding of the rich diversity of Native American tribes that existed in Oregon prior to European settlement, the current territory of the nine federally recognized tribes in Oregon, and the inseparable bond between Native people and the land.

Material Type: Lesson, Lesson Plan

Authors: Renée House, April Campbell

Social Sciences: People Groups

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This lesson will give students a foundational awareness of the Indigenous, sovereign people groups who live in what is now known as Oregon—their history, their culture, and the issues that continue to impact them today. When undertaking the study of Indigenous people, it is important to begin with their long history on the land. Indigenous people have lived in Oregon for thousands of years, in established communities, with established social structures, languages, and cultures. They were—and are—deeply and inextricably connected to the land. It is also important to increase students’ awareness of the continued presence of Indigenous people groups in Oregon and to explore what it means to be a sovereign nation within the United States. This lesson will also help students begin to think about how the story of the American West (e.g., the Oregon Trail, westward expansion) has typically been told from a white settlers’ perspective and to consider how that history might look from the perspective of those whose ancestors were here for thousands of years before the settlers arrived. Finally, this lesson will enable students to identify the nine tribes in Oregon that are currently recognized by the federal government and to understand that all of Oregon was and still is Indian Country.

Material Type: Lesson, Lesson Plan

Authors: Renée House, April Campbell

English Language Arts: Lewis & Clark: A Native American View

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The Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804–1806 was of great consequence for the developing United States, the future state of Oregon, and the Native American people who had been living in the American West for thousands of years. The passage of time, mythmaking, and selective interpretation have obscured or distorted both minor and major realities about the purposes of the expedition, the people involved, and its impact. As is said, every story has (at least) two sides, and until recently the Native American point of view has rarely been heard.  In this lesson, students will learn about primary and secondary sources, as well as point of viewand bias and the impact they can have on the intention behind the recording and retelling ofhistory.

Material Type: Lesson, Lesson Plan

Authors: Aujalee Moore, April Campbell

English Language Arts: News in Indian Country

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This lesson explores the concept of survivance in contemporary Native American culture, particularly as it relates to the nine federally recognized tribes of Oregon. The term survivance is unfamiliar to many people, but in recent decades it has become an important way of talking about how Indigenous people express and carry forward their cultural identities and traditions in contemporary life. Acts of survivance are those that demonstrate the ongoing and dynamic presence of Indigenous people in contemporary times. These acts of sovereignty and self-determination can take many forms, including tribal efforts to revitalize a language or open a new business; a Native student winning a scholarship or achieving public recognition; or a cross-tribal group advocating for land, treaty, or fishing rights. News media outlets, in a variety of forms, are one of the ways the nine federally recognized tribes in Oregon attempt to both inform and communicate with tribal members and the general public about current events and tribal participation in local, state, and national events. Each of the nine tribal nations in Oregon produces its own unique news outlet that is available to all tribal members. Many of these are also available to the general public. The purpose of this lesson is to provide students with the opportunity to identify examples of survivance in action—through the reading analysis of tribal news outlets.

Material Type: Lesson, Lesson Plan

Authors: Aujalee Moore, April Campbell

Health: Cultural Appropriation

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This lesson asks students to examine the concept of cultural appropriation and the impact that contemporary acts of cultural appropriation may have on Native Americans in Oregon and across the country. Students will participate in two activities. First, they will engage in a whole-class discussion about cultural appropriation, led by the teacher using the accompanying PowerPoint presentation. The presentation shows several contemporary examples of how Native culture has been generalized and appropriated by media and advertising. Second, students will engage in structured academic controversy—an instructional strategy that requires them to argue one side of an issue, then change sides and argue the opposing view. The background section of this lesson offers a brief of overview of how Native American cultures have been appropriated by the media, advertising, entertainers, artists, writers, and others. The following definition of cultural appropriation may be useful for both teachers and students: Cultural appropriation is the adoption of the elements of another culture (often a minority group) by members of the dominant culture. It is an unequal exchange in that the appropriators often uses these stolen elements for monetary gain or prestige, without regard for the value, respect, or importance paid to these images and traditions in the original culture.

Material Type: Lesson, Lesson Plan

Authors: Aujalee Moore, April Campbell

Health: Games of Mental Skill

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Tribal nations and Indigenous communities throughout North America have always enjoyed games and athletic activities that provide entertainment, teach skills of physical and mental endurance, promote tribal values such as teamwork and fairness, and allow individuals and teams to challenge themselves in competition. These games and activities range from the simple hand (or“stick”) game that dates back thousands of years to the modern-day Indian Relay Races that oftendraw large crowds. Even in the pre-contact era there were some similarities in the games playedby tribes in a given region or even in completely different parts of the country, but there were also many variations in the rules, materials, and methods of play. In this lesson, students will learn how to play one version of the hand game and will hear about some of the variations in the playing materials and rules used by different tribes in Oregon. Students will learn to take cues from opponents to identify the hand that holds the chosen item.

Material Type: Lesson, Lesson Plan

Authors: Aujalee Moore, April Campbell

Health: Native Nutrition

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In this lesson students will learn basic concepts about nutrition while also exploring traditional Indigenous food practices. Students will first learn about energy balance: how the human body derives energy and nutrients from food and expends it through daily activities such as exercise. Next, they will review current recommendations for eating and exercise that promote good health. Finally, they will identify plants and animals that are native to Oregon and provided a well-rounded and nutritious diet for Indigenous people since time immemorial.

Material Type: Lesson, Lesson Plan

Authors: Aujalee Moore, April Campbell

Math: Fishing for Treaty Rights

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Many federal policies have had a negative impact on tribal nations in Oregon. This is particularly true in the area of fishing rights. The treaties signed with many different tribes ensured access to traditional Native fishing grounds, but the U.S. government later attempted to limit or eliminate this access. The tribes have fought back in the courts, and there have been several high-profile cases over the past several decades. In this lesson, students will examine these treaty rights violations through the application of linear equations.

Material Type: Lesson, Lesson Plan

Authors: Aujalee Moore, April Campbell

Math: Traditional Housing Styles of Native Americans in Oregon

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This lesson introduces students to the traditional housing styles of Native American tribes in Oregon, while also giving them the opportunity to practice using the Pythagorean Theorem to solve a real-world problem. Students will learn about the diverse materials and building styles tribes used and how their choices were shaped by the natural environments in which they lived and the traditional lifeways they followed. Studying traditional Native American housing styles will help students begin to grasp the diversity of tribal cultures in Oregon. Too often, Indigenous people in Oregon and across the country are represented as a single, homogeneous group. This does not do justice to the rich diversity of tribal cultures, nor does it honor their individual identities, histories, traditions, and cultural contributions.

Material Type: Lesson, Lesson Plan

Authors: Renée House, April Campbell